The Sacred Calendar
Part 3:  What are the Problems with the present Jewish Calendar?

John Plunkett
February 1, 2014

In Part 2, we built a framework or skeleton to build this series on.  Today, in Part 3, I want to start putting flesh onto that skeleton. 

I believe that a good place to begin is to ask the question: “What are the problems with the current Jewish/Worldwide Church of God Calendar?”  

I think that this would be a good place to start today because, if their teachings regarding that Jewish calendar are a valid and unspoiled part of "the oracles of God" which God gave to the Israelites (Acts 7:38), then the mainstream churches of God may be right – or maybe a little more right anyway – than if those teachings are not, in fact, of God.

We have a lot of questions today.  And hopefully, some answers as well.

First of all, let us ask again one of the questions we asked during Part 2: Is this important?  Is this study into – and this questioning of – the origins of the modern Jewish/WCG calendar important?  

Yes, it is!  The proper timing of God’s Holy Days depends on it!  We need to have confidence in the accuracy of the timing.  For the last year or so, we have sat in services on the Holy Days, wondering, "Is this really the true, proper Holy Day that we are keeping today?"

Another question:  Is it acceptable for somebody to add to God’s Word?  Let’s read God’s final warning to His people at the very close of His written Word:

Revelation 22:
18:  For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19:  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

It should go without saying that the modern, post-biblical-era Jews who put these calendar rules together – the rules which most of the mainstream churches of God go by today – would not recognize the apostle John as an inspired Bible author.  Nor, therefore, would they recognize these two verses in the book of Revelation as revealed knowledge or inspired scripture.  This is something to think about as we go through this whole series – that the mainstream Jews do not recognize any of the New Testament as inspired scripture.  I am not knocking the Jews.  I certainly am not anti-Semitic.  I love them as my Israelite brothers and sisters.  But still, their rejection of the New Testament scriptures is probably an important fact for us to keep in mind as we go through this sermon series.

This warning from God that we just read in Revelation 22 was not some brand-new warning.  It goes way back – at least back to Moses’ time; probably even back to the time of Adam and Eve.  Here it is, stated in a different way in three Old Testament scriptures that Jews hopefully would recognize as inspired scripture:

Deuteronomy 4:2: 
You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 12:32: 
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it. 

Proverbs 30:
5: Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.
6: Add you not unto His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar.

We certainly don’t want to be found to be liars, do we?  These are strong warnings!  We should want with all our hearts to keep the LORD’s pure words and commandments.  We should not be wanting to risk the reproof of God.  The Hebrew word for “reprove” here is “yakach” and is translated elsewhere as rebuke, correct and chasten.  It can also mean judge, convict and chide.  I am sure that you do not want any of these things from God; and neither to I.

Were the rules that the Jews put together for how they calculate and keep the Holy Days and the Calendar spurious additions to God’s Word? 

One Church of God pastor criticized the sincere brethren who question the church's acceptance of the Jews' calendar calculations, accusing them of “swallowing a camel” – evidently comparing them with the scribes and Pharisees who were so often criticized by Jesus.  That same pastor also claims that the Jews were meticulous in their reproduction of the Old Testament scriptures down through the ages.  That may be true – at least partially true – as we shall see.  

We know that. from the very existence of the Talmud, the Mishnah (also known as "the Oral Torah"), as well as from Jesus’ frequent rebukes of the Pharisees, etc. regarding their “traditions of the elders” that the Jews had a proclivity for adding their own oral laws, rules, and regulations to God’s holy, inspired, written Word.  This is something else that we should keep in mind as we go through today's information.

So then, what are the problems with the current Jewish Calendar?

In the sermon today, I will shamelessly plagiarize – quite heavily – from two excellent, logical and common-sense articles.  The first one is called: “A Calendar for the Church of God Today” which was written by Frank Nelte, a South African Church of God minister, now living in the United States.  I am not going to read the whole article.  I will just "cherry-pick" through it.  The second one is called “A Look into Postponements” by Brian Hoeck, a Church of God writer based in Woodstock, Illinois. 

I’ll omit any details that I feel are not really crucial to our topic; but if you’d like to read the whole articles, I can e-mail links to anyone who cares to request them.  Let’s get started with Frank Nelte’s article, and specifically the section titled “The problems with the Jewish Calendar”:

1) THE MAIN PROBLEM with the present Jewish calendar is as follows: 
The Jewish new year is based on calculating the invisible conjunction of the new moon (known as "the molad") of the seventh month (Tishri) and then going back 177 days to determine the start of the year.

So, they find out what they believe to be the lunar conjunction (a.k.a. the dark moon) in the seventh month, in the autumn, and then they count back 177 days to determine the start of the year.  This despite God clearly telling us that the beginning of our year must be in the spring (Exodus 12:1-2)!  We will be reading that scripture a lot as we go along.  But Frank continues:

But while these calculations do not take into account that the Lunar cycles do in fact vary in length, something the Jewish calculations simply do not take into account.

When the calculated molads are compared to THE ASTRONOMICAL FACTS, as recorded in almanacs, etc., it becomes obvious that the molads of Tishri are sometimes in fact up to 15 HOURS LATER than the actual conjunctions of the new moons at that time of the year.  At other times the molads are ALMOST 4 HOURS EARLIER than the actual new moons.

So the main problem with the Jewish calendar is: the calculated new moons of the 7th month are TOTALLY UNREALISTIC!

2) Add to this the fact that "the postponement rules" have no biblical support of any kind.  Rather, the historical evidence from the first century A.D. clearly contradicts the use of "postponement rules".  Those rules are nothing more than a part of "the traditions of the elders", which Jesus Christ said violated God's intent and God's instructions.”

We will go into this in a lot more detail in a couple of minutes.

3) A third and completely separate problem with the Jewish calendar is that it at various times places the Feast of Tabernacles TOO EARLY IN THE YEAR, having the Feast of Tabernacles start even before the end of summer, and having the first month of the year start well before the end of winter.  This violates biblical principles.”

We know that the first month of the year should begin in the springtime; but the Jews often start it before the end of winter. 

4) When this violation of God's instructions occurs (having Tabernacles start too early), it also places the Days of Unleavened Bread too early in the year to have any barley available for the wave sheaf offering offering.

We will be looking at the barley issue in a future sermon.

5) A fifth problem with the Jewish calendar is that it always allots 177 days to the first six months of the year.”

In other words, between what they believe to be the conjunctions of the first and seventh months, they always count backwards 177 days:

But in astronomical facts there are sometimes only 176 days from the conjunction of the first month to the conjunction of the seventh month; sometimes there are 177 days; and sometimes there are even 178 days.

I found out by reading some more about this that it is all to do with the fact that the moon does not go around the earth in a true circle.  It actually goes in an ellipse.  Due to various gravitational pulls, just as the earth and other planets go around the sun in elliptical paths, so the moon goes around the earth in an elliptical path.  So it can be 176, 177  or 178 days from the lunar conjunction of the first month to that of the seventh month.  Back to Frank’s article:

This means that the Jewish calendar is OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY, as far as the start of the 1st month of the year is concerned!

The calendar is SUPPOSEDLY based on when the new moons (the invisible conjunctions) occur.  But simply subtracting 177 days from the INCORRECTLY CALCULATED molad of Tishri to establish the 1st Day of the 1st Month shows a lack of concern with reality.  It is a "hit-and-miss" method for establishing the new moon of the 1st month.

6) The rigidly fixed sequence of leap years in the Jewish 19-year cycle also does not make any provision for the 1-day shift of all 19 years in a cycle for every 216 years that pass,

This is somewhat technical and not really necessary to this study.  I don’t want to go into this part in too much detail; but from Frank's article, the bottom-line result of it is that:

... they miss a roughly 5-day shift for every 1000 years.

This may not seem like such a big deal to us; but when we are counting God’s Holy days, it certainly is a big deal.  This is just one result of the way that the Jews calculate their calendar.  We don’t need to go into this particular question in any fine detail; but what will happen if they don’t correct it, is that:

In the Jewish calendar all the Feasts and Holy Days are steadily drifting to later dates in the solar year.

When Frank summarizes that part of his article he writes that:

ALL THESE PROBLEMS make the present Jewish calendar unfit for use by God's Church today.

Now we will move in into Brian Hoeck’s article, which is called: “A Look into Postponements.”  If you would like to read the whole article, please let me know and I will get a copy to you.

Brian begins his article with eight questions:

• What are "postponements"? 
• What purpose do they serve? 
• Were they in use by ancient Israel under Moses?
• Did Jesus heed, or even know of, these rules? 
• Did God ordain them? 
• Did Hillel II (a 4th Century AD Jewish priest) ordain them? 
• Does the Mishnah or Talmud enjoin, or command, their use? 
• What is their origin? 

Brian doesn’t rely on his own knowledge.  He goes into the Mishnah, the Talmud and other sources and he quotes the experts on these things.  I like this approach rather than a writer "going off the top of his own head" on such important details.

Brian starts off by explaining what the postponement rules are; and for the detail on this, he quotes from an article called: “Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac” by P. Kenneth Seidelmann, which explains the workings of the Jews' postponements.  Just before we get into the article, there are a few necessary definitions to explain:

Here then, from Mr. Seidelmann's article, are the Jews’ basic postponement rules:

(a) If the Tishri molad {new moon conjunction} falls on day 1, 4, or 6 {i.e. the days that we would normally refer to as Sunday, Wednesday or Friday}, then Tishri 1 {Feast of Trumpets} is postponed by one day. 

God tells us to keep it on Tishri 1; but the Jews take it upon themselves to overrule His Word and tell us to drop it back a day!

(b) If the Tishri molad occurs at or after 18 hours (i.e. noon), then Tishri 1 is postponed one day.  If this causes Tishri 1 to fall on day 1, 4, or 6, then Tishri 1 is postponed an additional day to satisfy dehiyyah (a) {i.e. Postponement Rule (a). 

They are seriously playing around with God’s timing here!

(c) If the Tishri molad of what they call an “ordinary” year (i.e. a twelve month year) falls on day 3 at or after 9 hours, 204 halakim, then Tishri 1 is postponed two days to day 5, thereby satisfying dehiyyah (a) {i.e. Postponement Rule a).

(d) If the first molad following a leap year falls on day 2 at or after 15 hours, 589 halakim, then Tishri 1 is postponed one day to day 3. 

Have you got all of that?  I am not ridiculing it; but in a future episode of this series, we will be getting into some of the different ways of calculating when God's people celebrate the new moons and new years.  In doing so, we certainly do need to look at such things as sunsets, moon phases, moonrises and moonsets.  Most of us are not used to this terminology and this level of detail in our keeping of God's Holy Days.

Still in Kenneth Seidelmann’s article, he now lists some reasons for the dehiyyot (postponements):

Dehiyyah (a) prevents Hoshanah Rabbah (Tishri 21) {which we know as the 7th day of the Feast of Tabernacles} from occurring on the Sabbath and prevents Yom Kippur (Tishri 10) {Day of Atonement} from occurring on the day before or after the Sabbath. 

Dehiyyah (b) is an artifact of the ancient practice of beginning each month with the sighting of the lunar crescent.  It is assumed that if the molad (i.e. the mean conjunction) occurs after noon, the lunar crescent cannot be sighted until after 6 P.M., which will then be on the following day {because it is after sunset}

I know that this is kind of technical; but I think it is important for us to know what the postponements are.  

Dehiyyah (c) prevents an ordinary year from exceeding 355 days.  If the Tishri molad of an “ordinary” year occurs on Tuesday at, or after, 3:11:20 A.M., the next Tishri molad will occur at, or, after noon on Saturday.

I know that this is complex; but I can assure you that we will never need to worry about these details.

According to dehiyyah (b), Tishri 1 of the next year must be postponed to Sunday, which by dehiyyah (a) occasions a further postponement to Monday.  This results in an “ordinary” year of 356 days. 

So what is happening here is that they are actually making rules for one year that impact the following year.  They say: “We did this last year; so we'll have to do that this year.”  All of this increases the confusion.

Postponing Tishri 1 from Tuesday to Thursday produces a year of 354 days. 

Dehiyyah (d) prevents a leap year from falling short of 383 days.  If the Tishri molad following a leap year is on Monday, at or after 9:32:43 1/3 A.M., the previous Tishri molad (thirteen months earlier) occurred on Tuesday at or after noon.  Therefore, by dehiyyot (b) and (a), Tishri 1 beginning the leap year was postponed to Thursday.  To prevent a leap year of 382 days, dehiyyah (d) postpones by one day the beginning of the ordinary year.

So!  Is all that crystal clear?  There will be a test!  J

The people who put this confusing set of rules together and those who go by them were and are, of course, sincere.  In one of Frank Nelte's articles, he actually gives the Jews the benefit of the doubt because of all that was happening at the time and the persecution that they were under.  But that's another story for another time.

It is amazing to me, though, that for decades and maybe even for hundreds of years, thousands of Church of God members, including me and my family, have kept what we sincerely – but erroneously – thought to be God's true Holy Days based on these complex man-made Jewish rules.  Few of us have ever even questioned them, let alone studied them. 

Yes, these rules and details are horrible things to read through and they are so complicated that they stun the brain.  So we see good reason why people would not want to study them. 

That was the end of Kenneth Seidelmann’s quote; but now, continuing with our quote from Brian Hoeck’s article:

Now, if these postponement rules were in force and in use by ancient Israel, both under Moses and on through the Temple periods, we should expect to find mention of them in Moses’ writings and in other writings through the Old Testament. 

But what do we find?  Let’s look at the scriptural record:

First and foremost, our foundation, is the Word of God---The Holy Scriptures.  Beginning our search here, does one find any instance of postponement rules?  Does it state in the Torah---say, Leviticus 23 for example, that the Day of Shouting (a.k.a. "Yom Teruah"/"Day of Trumpets") is the first day of the seventh lunar cycle unless that day of the seventh new moon happens to occur on a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday--in which cases, please observe it the day following?

Is that what God’s Word says?  No!  Again, I am not ridiculing it; but is this what God says?

One may search even the whole of the Scriptures, but will never find such.  Leviticus 23:24 plainly states that it is the first day of the seventh moon of the year that is to be sanctified with a holy assembly.  Nowhere does Scripture state that this God-appointed holy assembly can be shifted to a day different than the seventh new moon day of the year.

Leviticus 23:24:  Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, “In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.”

Let’s now look at the historical records, and we will find that the postponements were not yet in use in Jesus' day, and they were not even in use for centuries after Jesus’ human lifetime. 

Again, before we go into this, there are a few definitions of terms that I would like to mention: 

Let me just repeat for emphasis that the Talmud consists of the Mishnah (200 AD) and the Gemara (500 AD).  The Mishnah is a compilation of the Oral Law which is man-made and not scriptural.  The Gemara is an interpretation of or a commentary on the Mishnah.

Let’s continue quoting from Brian Hoeck’s article: 

The Mishnah (spanning the time period of 200 BC to 200 AD), which came to make up the first part of the Talmud, states these things: 

We just read what the postponements are and you have to really think about what is happening here.  The main thing to keep in your mind is that the postponements try to prevent a Sabbath and a Holy day from occurring together.  But now let's read these quotes from “The Mishnah, a New Translation” by Rabbi Jacob Neusner):

Here we see that, at that time, the Day of Atonement could occur on a Friday and it could occur on a Sunday!

As shown above, even well after Christ's time in the flesh, the Day of Atonement was still being observed on both Fridays and Sundays which cannot be done under modern CRC rules. 

"CRC" refers to the Calculated Rabbinic Calendar.

Further readings from the Mishnah provide historical proof that other Appointed Times likewise were not postponed: 

"The bones and sinews [of the Jewish Passover--Abib 15] and what remains over must be burnt on the 16th.  If the 16th falls on a Sabbath they must be burnt on the 17th, since they override neither the Sabbath nor a festival day."  (The Mishnah, translated by Danby, p.146, Pesahim 7:10) 

So here again, we see the First Day of Unleavened Bread and the weekly Sabbath back-to-back.

This shows the "Passover festival" (i.e. the first day of the Feast of Unleavens) occurring on a day not allowed by the current CRC (i.e., Friday).

Also, utilizing the current fixed calendar, an Abib 16 Sabbath occurrence would put Sivan 6 (which is the post-Mishna rabbinical reckoning of Pentecost) on the Sabbath.  This is yet another CRC no-no.

"During the Second Commonwealth down to the fourth century C.E. [at the earliest], the festival of Passover could fall on any day of the week including Friday." (Dr. Solomon Zeitlin, "The Judean Calendar During the Second Commonwealth and the Scrolls," Jewish Quarterly Review, July 1966)

One of our sons-in-law was telling me the other day that he was reading a book about he 12th and 13th Century Waldenses whom, he said, could keep the Passover on any day of the week. 

The Mishnah also records the following concerning the Day of Shouting ("Trumpets"), which is the day that these Postponement rules are based around: 

"A child can be circumcised on the eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, or twelfth day, but never earlier and never later.  How is this?  The rule is that it shall be done on the eighth day; but if the child was born at twilight the child is circumcised on the ninth day; and if at twilight on the eve of Sabbath, the child is circumcised on the tenth day; if a Festival-day falls after the Sabbath the child is circumcised on the eleventh day; and if the two Festival-days of the New Year fall after the Sabbath [that is, on Sunday and Monday] the child is circumcised on the twelfth day" (The Mishnah, Danby, p.117, Shabbath 19:5).

There again you have the Sabbath, and they are allowing the keeping of their Feast of Trumpets back-to-back on the Sunday and the Monday.

 This Mishnaic quote shows that "Festival-days" can immediately follow Sabbath.  It likewise clearly states that specifically "Rosh HaShanah" (Tishri 1) could fall on the first day of the week, and thus it is seen that the postponement of this Day of Shouting (a.k.a. "Feast of Trumpets"/"Rosh HaShanah") from Sunday to Monday was not yet established during Temple times nor in the Mishnaic period.

Why is it that the first day of Ethanim (a.k.a. "Tishri")  is not allowed to fall on a Sunday according to the rabbinical calendar anyway?

Brian answers his own question here, by quoting these three modern Jewish articles, all based on and in support of the Jews’ modern, postponement-based calendar:

"If Rosh Hashanah fell on a Sunday, Hoshanah Rabbah {the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles} would fall on the {weekly} Sabbath and would call for the elimination of certain rituals which the pharisaic rabbis did not want to forego."  (Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol 25, No 1, 1997; Article by Rabbi Saul Leeman, "Why is Pesach So Late This Year?"). 

"Sunday is considered unfit, because with Rosh Hashanah falling thereon, the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Hoshanah Rabbah) on which the ceremony of "beating the willow-twigs" is an important part of the service, would fall on the
{weekly} Sabbath, and the observance of the {work heavy} ceremony could not be permitted."  (Henry Malter, Saadia Gaon: His Life and Works) 

"Rosh Hashanah never falls on a Sunday, because that would mean that Hoshanah Rabbah (the last day of Sukkot
{Feast of Tabernacles}, which always falls on 21 Tishri) would fall on a Saturday, which would not be desirable…. If Hoshanah Rabbah were to fall on the Sabbath, this would interfere with the ceremony of beating a bunch of hoshanot (willows) during the synagogue services, an action forbidden on the Sabbath."  (Alfred J. Kolatch, The Jewish Book of WHY, p.228)

That is the end of those quotes; but where do we find in the Bible that we have to beat willow branches?  Brian says here:

Both the action of beating the willow-twigs, and the forbiddance thereof on the Sabbath, are by later rabbinical decrees, and they are not from God. 

He asks the brethren of God’s Church: 

Do you agree that we should not observe the Feast of Trumpets on the correct day, because of this rabbinical tradition, and reasoning?  How many brethren are even aware that this is why the Feast of Trumpets is never observed on a Sunday within the so-called "Hebrew calendar"? 

If I might add to that: How many brethren ever even noticed that the Feast of Trumpets is never observed on a Sunday?  I never did!  I just looked at my little card and saw when it was supposed to be!

The following Mishnah quote proves that in the Temple era, when the Temple was working, that Tishri/Ethanim 21 (Hoshanah Rabbah) was never postponed from falling upon the Sabbath in the Temple and pre-Talmudic times and thereby likewise further shows that the Feast of Trumpets was never postponed from being observed on the first day of the week: 

"4:1 A. [The rites of] the lulav and the willow branch [being carried around the altar by the priests] are for six or seven [days]...

"4:3 A. The willow branch rite is for seven days: How so?

B. [If] the seventh day of the willow branch coincided with the Sabbath, the willow branch [rite] is for seven days...

"4:5 F. And on that day [i.e., "the seventh day of the willow branch" (Ethanim 21)] they walk around the altar seven times...

"4:6 A. As the rite concerning it [is performed] on an ordinary day, so the rite concerning [is performed] on the Sabbath" 

(Rabbi Jacob Neusner, The Mishnah, a New Translation, "The Second Division: Appointed Times," pp.286-287, Sukkah 4:1,3,5,6)

This is all from the Mishnah. The Mishnah said this in the Temple days; but these later Jews come along and say, "No!  We are going to change all that!  We are going to do something different from now on!"

The following historical records of the Jews, also from the Talmudic period {200 to 500 AD}, show that the 1st day of the seventh new moon was not postponed from occurring on a Friday: 

Brian then quotes from many articles, from the Talmud and from the Midrash, stating the Jews’ belief that Adam and Eve were created on Tishri 1 – the Feast of Trumpets.  What day of the week were Adam and Eve created?

Genesis 1:
26: And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.
27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them… …
Verse 31: And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

The Book of Genesis explains clearly to us that Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day – the day before the Sabbath.  This being the fact, it is clear that the "rabbis" who authored these Midrash and Talmudic quotes did not believe that Tishri/Ethanim 1 was to be postponed from occurring on the day before the weekly Sabbath (i.e. Friday). 

We know that from God’s Word that we just read that Adam and Eve were created on a Friday.  If that is the case, and if they were created on the Feast of Trumpets, we would have the Feast of Trumpets and the Sabbath back to back.

So now then, still with Brian Hoeck, what is the origin of the postponements?  

We have examined the Scriptural and historical records and have found them replete with proof that the postponement rules of the CRC were not in use in either the 1st of 2nd Temple periods, nor thereafter during the Mishnaic period.

We have just read a lot of quotes that show that they were not in force.

So when did these man-made rules come into place?  Did Hillel II institute them in 358/359 C.E. when he published the, up til then, "secret" astronomical information which had been used by the Sanhedrin ... ?

In answer to that question, Brian gives two more quotes:

"The plain fact is that, as seen by recent scholars, the system of the fixed calendar was not developed until fully three or four centuries after the close of the Talmudic period, about A.D. 485…  Nor can anything be found in the Talmud about the weighty calendric matters as the regulated succession of full and defective months within the year, the four postponements of New Year's Day, the 19-year cycle, or the number and succession of intercalated years in this or any cycle."  (The Code of Maimonides, Book Three – Treatise Eight SANCTIFICATION OF THE MOON, translated from the Hebrew by Solomon Ganz; Introduction by Julian Obermann, Astronomical Commentary by Otto Neugebauer, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956, p xli-xlii)

"There is...unimpeachable evidence from the works of writers with expert knowledge of the calendar that the present ordo intercalationis [sequence of intercalations--the 19 year cycle] and epochal molad were not intrinsic parts of the calendar of Hillel II, these being seen still side by side with other styles of the ordo intercalationis and the molad as late as the 11th century. Also the four dehiyyot [postponement rules] developed gradually ... By the tenth century the Jewish calendar was exactly the same as today."  (Cecil Roth, editor, Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 5, p.50, article: Calendar)

That is a long time after Jesus Christ.  That ends the quotes on the postponement origins; now let’s continue with Brian’s quote:

While we cannot be positively sure as to when the postponement rules were added alongside the other man-made rules of the then-developing calculated rabbinical calendar, we know with complete confidence that these rules were not in use, nor even conceived of and known, during Jesus' day. 

There are some indications that the initial elements of these postponements began to creep in near the end of the Talmudic period, but as the Encyclopaedia Judiaca quote states above, these rules developed gradually, along with the rest of the rabbinic calendar rules, over the course of many years. 

It is claimed that we need this "ADU" postponement to block Sabbath and annual Holy Days from occurring back-to-back, lest there be no day of preparation in between to prepare for the second of the two Appointed Times.  Is this claim genuine in God's eyes?

The concept of "preparation day" stems from Exodus 16 with:

"...on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily... bake what you shall bake, boil what you shall boil, for tomorrow is the Sabbath." (Exodus 16:5,23)

What preparation is needed for Atonement (a day of fasting) that its observation is to be moved from a Sunday to Monday on such years, as in 2000, when it rightfully is to be observed Sunday?

What are we "baking and boiling" for the Day of Atonement that one must bump it over one day to have a preparation day in its rightful place when nothing is eaten on this God-appointed fast day anyway???

The fallacy of such a rule is further disproved by this very fact: God specifically declared one of His appointed times {Pentecost} to occur on "the morrow after the Sabbath"!    

IF God is truly against Sabbaths and annual Holy Days being back-to-back, and He feels and understands that they are "impractical" for us humans to keep, why then did He Himself ordain at least one back-to-back Sabbath/Holy Day every year (i.e., the seventh Sabbath of the count from Elevation Sheaf day followed by Pentecost---Leviticus 23:15-21)?

Facts are facts, brethren.  Through the whole of Scripture, there are no indications of postponements rules.  Through the late 2nd Temple (Jesus' day) and early post-2nd Temple records, we find significant evidence against postponements being used or even known.

It has been claimed by many who hold to the CRC that the burden of proof to change from it lies upon those of us who already have left it--that we need to present the evidence to them. 

But the Biblical fact is this:  We are each admonished through the apostle Paul to prove all things--not to others, but to our own selves.  We, individually, are to put all doctrines and the like to the test BEFORE we hold fast to them.  Dear friends, how many of us can claim we have done such testing and proving of this so-called Hebrew Calendar?

This concludes Brian Hoeck's excellently researched article.

Again, we must ask the question:  What does God say?  What does God's Word say?

I Thessalonians 5:21: 
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Yes…We are each admonished through the apostle Paul to prove all things… not to others, but to our own selves.  We don't have to prove our own beliefs to others.  And yes, we, individually, must put all doctrines to the test BEFORE we hold fast to them. 

Please remember from our last sermon (Part 2) that we read in Acts 17 about the noble example of the Berean brethren who received God's Word with all readiness of mind and who searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so. 

As Brian Hoeck correctly wrote, we don’t have to prove our own beliefs to others; but as the apostle Paul told Titus: when a false doctrine is discovered or comes to light, God's ministers sometimes need to speak up – yes, in a polite manner, of course:

Titus 1:
7:  For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
9:  Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers...

If we have been taught something that deviates from the faithful Word of God, we are not to hold fast to that.  If the doctrine is not sound, we are not to hold fast to that.

10:  For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision...

Again, I don’t want to knock the Jews specifically.  That is not my purpose.  But the problem that Paul and Titus were having here seems to have originated with the Jews.  In the same way, perhaps, they initiated the problem that we are having!  (More reason also for us not to be swayed by brethren pulling the "Oracles" card).

11:  Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.
13:  This witness is true.  Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
14:  Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

We don't want to rebuke anybody!  We just want to be "sound in the faith"!  This is what we are trying to do with this series. 

Who am I?  I have no real authority to rebuke the Jews, or to convince or to stop the mouths of gainsayers – nor any others who support the Jewish Calendar or its Worldwide Church of God version.  Which of them would listen to me anyway?  I am not going to waste my time contacting any of the various Jewish or Church of God groups who support the Jewish calendar.  The reason why not is actually found in a later chapter of Paul's letter to Titus:

Titus 3:9: 
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

Again, I have better things to do with my time than to do that.  I will hopefully set out these things in the clearest way possible for the benefit of any who care to listen to these sermons or who might read these transcripts.  I am not going to go after the leaders from the mainstream CoG groups.  Others have probably already done so, tried it and found that it hasn’t made any real difference.

What we have seen today is that the postponements, in effect, relegate God’s calendar timing commands to second place – at best.  God says, "This is when the first day of the month or the first day of the year or such-and-such a Holy Day shall be."  Then the Jews and the Churches of God who follow their timings come along with their postponement rules and say, "Er!  No!  I don’t think so!  We’re going to move things around a little bit in order to satisfy our rules.  So these are the days that should be observed from now on."

At a stretch, they may have had some excuse for what they did back in the time of Hillel II, if we consider what was happening then.  But was there ever any good reason for changing the times and the seasons?  No!

And for so many years, many of us blindly went along with them, without even questioning their timings!

In conclusion, if you choose to ignore or overlook these daunting facts that we’ve seen uncovered today and if you choose to continue to follow the mainstream CoG's acceptance of the Jews’ postponements-based calendar, I am not going to judge you.  I am not going to criticize you.  I am going to respect your choice.  You are what Mr. Armstrong used to call a "free moral agent."

But as for me and my house, I know what we’re going to do!  Well actually, I don’t yet know exactly what we’re going to do with all of this, because we haven’t got there yet.  We still have lots of work and study to do!

And that brings me to the sub-topic for our next Bible study in this series, in which I hope to get into the different methods for the timings of the new moons and new years.

Let’s finish where we started, I told you that we were going to come back to Hebrews 5; and this is where we were reading about the spiritual milk verses the strong spiritual meat:

Hebrews 5:14: 
But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

So let us be using and exercising our senses wisely.  We must be using God’s Holy Word, and His Holy Spirit that is in us to discern between good and evil, and between what is right and what is wrong.

Let’s strive to keep our senses sharp.  They should be sharpened by His Holy Spirit dwelling in us. 

Again, we are not doing all of this for our own vanity or merely for increased knowledge; but rather, we are doing it all towards the further glory of our Great God.