In every generation, there has come, and will come, a testing truth for that particular time. For example, at the time of Martin Luther, the question was "Is there salvation apart from the Roman Catholic Church?". While the individual doctrine being investigated varies as the Reformation continues to restore truth buried during the Dark Ages, the essence of the question remains: "Should I believe the Bible or the teachings of my church?"
About a year ago, when I went to visit a friend, I had no idea that I would encounter an entire paradigm shift. I asked if they had any Michael Rood DVDs that I hadn't seen before. Now, I am not the biggest fan of Rood, but he does have insight into some things (although not in others) and I thought I might be able to find something interesting.
They said that they had "The Jonah Code". Now I had heard Rood talk about this, with emphasis on "You guys can't count to three", with some kind of "Wednesday Crucifixion" scheme like Armstrong had taught, and I didn't think too much about it. My church taught that Yahushua died on Friday, rested in the tomb on Sabbath, and then rose sometime before dawn on Sunday morning, so there was no need to speculate on any other chronology.
I saw that it was a set of six (I think) DVDs, and that it also included the "Daniel's 70 Week Prophecy". Well, I knew all about the prophecies of Daniel - this was something my church had emphasized, and indeed, the church itself had doctrines based upon some of these prophecies. So I wasn't about to buy in to whatever Rood was selling about the 70 weeks, which I figured would be something about a future Anti-Christ and the modern State of Israel.
However, knowing that Rood often fills in many archaeological and historic details in his presentations, I decided it might be worthwhile to view these DVDs anyway. After all, Rood is entertaining, in his own way, and I certainly don't have to watch all of them anyway.
So I got the Windows '98 ® laptop and set it up in my bed, and started to watch. I had my clipboard and began to take notes. It soon became obvious that Rood was onto something. He was showing right from the Gospels, reading from John and going in order, and comparing to the Hebrew calendar, what Yahushua was doing during each of the Feasts. Rood showed that Yahushua's ministry was about one year long, and that there were no significant gaps in the Gospel records. I could see that the Gospels did not describe anything close to the 3 ½ year ministry that my church had taught, unless huge gaps were inserted in exactly the same places in all the Gospels.
By now it was getting to be 2:00 am or so, but I needed to continue watching. Rood showed that there was a second fulfillment to the 70 week, 490 day prophecy, not just as 490 years, but as 490 literal days. (He also tried to show a third, future fulfillment, but I didn't place too much emphasis on that, because I knew Rood was better at understanding history than at predicting the future.)
I began to study about the Feasts, and whether they should be kept today. Now my church had discouraged this practice, which was beginning to have "underground" followers, as it was not done by the "church pioneers". I already was aware that there was evidence that Paul and the other early Christians continued to keep the Feasts, but my church had taught that this was just some kind of transition. But the "church pioneers" had been wrong about the "3 ½ year ministry". Could it be that they were also wrong about the Feasts? One of the objections against the Feasts in the New Testament are that " 'Jesus' did not observe most of them during his 3 ½ year ministry." But now it was clear that he observed all of them during his 70 week ministry!
My research led to the investigation of some old books, written by the "church pioneers", showing that they knew that the early Christians did indeed keep Passover, until it was forbidden by Rome. Not only that, but it became apparent that when these same "church pioneers" tried to present this information to the church leadership, it was rejected!
"The Two Republics", A.T Jones, 1891, p 95,96
From Rome there came now another addition to the sun-worshiping apostasy. The first Christians being mostly Jews, continued to celebrate the passover in remembrance of the death of Christ, the true passover; and this was continued among those who from among the Gentiles had turned to Christ. Accordingly the celebration was always on the passover day -- the fourteenth of the first month. Rome, however, and from her all the West, adopted the day of the sun as the day of this celebration. According to the Eastern custom, the celebration, being on the fourteenth day of the month, would of course fall on different days of the week as the years revolved. The rule of Rome was that the celebration must always be on a Sunday -- the Sunday nearest to the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish year. And if the fourteenth day of that month should of the Jewish year. Sunday, then the celebration was not to be held on that day, but upon the next Sunday. One reason of this was not only to be as like heathen as possible, but to be as unlike the Jews as possible: this, in order not only to facilitate the "conversion" of the heathen by conforming to their customs, but also by pandering to their spirit of contempt and hatred of the Jews. It was upon this point that the bishop of Rome made his first open attempt at absolutism.
"The National Sunday Law" A.T. Jones (legal transcript of Dec 13, 1888) p 67,68
The first and greatest aim of the political church managers of that time was the exaltation of themselves; and second only to that was the exaltation of Sunday. These two things had been the principal aim of the bishops of Rome for more than a hundred years, when Constantine gave them a chance to make their schemes effectual by the power of the State. The arrogant pretensions of the bishop of Rome to secure power over the whole church, was first asserted in behalf of Sunday by Victor, who was bishop of Rome from A. D. 193 to 202. "He wrote an imperious letter to the Asiatic prelates commanding them to imitate the example of the Western Christians with respect to the time of celebrating the festival of Easter [that is, commanding them to celebrate it on Sunday]. The Asiatics answered this lordly requisition. . . with great spirit and resolution, that they would by no means depart in this manner from the custom handed down to them by their ancestors. Upon this the thunder of excommunication began to roar. Victor, exasperated by this resolute answer of the Asiatic bishops, broke communion with them, pronounced them unworthy of the name of his brethren, and excluded them from all fellowship with the church of Rome." -- Mosheim, chap. 4, par. 11.
My family accepted the keeping of the Feasts (without the sacrifices and rituals of the Levitical priesthood), and the one year ministry, and were keeping the seventh day Sabbath on Saturday. I thought it was strange that the Saturday Sabbath would come on a different day each year compared to the Feasts - that is, sometimes Saturday would be in the middle of a week long Feast, sometimes at the beginning, etc. But that's the way it was.
While doing some research on the Internet, I came across an excerpt from a book on the Lunar Sabbath. I had never heard of such a thing, and so I read it. It was mainly a personal attack against a particular individual who had promoted the Lunar Sabbath, but the excerpt made me aware of the idea. Perhaps two months later, I came across another website (I don't remember which one) which suggested that the modern calendar is part of the attempt to "change times and laws" (Daniel 7:25) promoted by Rome. I was not comfortable with the idea that the entire world is using a calendar (the Gregorian) invented by a Pope, but was not also not comfortable with the idea that Saturday was not the Biblical Sabbath. I avoided the subject by not investigating the information further.
A few months later I met someone who made an obscure remark about calendars and Jewish historians, so I told her "You're talking about the Lunar Sabbath." At that point, I knew that the issue of a Lunar Sabbath was not going to go away. The scripture from Isaiah 66:23 flashed into my mind:
And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
Now, my wife and I had been keeping the Sabbath on Saturday (first separately, then together) for over 20 years, and I certainly wasn't looking for any change. It's relatively easy in the United States to keep a Sabbath on either Saturday or Sunday, since usually the work week is from Monday to Friday. Jobs for businesses which are open on Saturday and Sunday (like stores and hospitals) usually allow a flexible schedule, where an individual can work, say, Sunday instead of Saturday. But keeping of the Lunar Sabbath would mean observing a day which will often be in the middle of the workweek.
While investigating the topic of the 70 weeks and the Feasts, we had heard of the proposed New World Calendar, scheduled for the end on the year 2012. The proposed calendar would basically use a 364 day year, evenly divisible by seven, and call the extra day at the end of the year a "World Day" holiday. This would disrupt the seven-day cycle and displace Saturday as the seventh day of that cycle. This added another dimension to the Lunar Sabbath issue. If the calendar was going to be disrupted anyway, then why shouldn't we keep the original calendar of Creation, based on the cycles of the moon?
Download Part 1: Harmony Of Gospels 70 Weeks (300 KBytes)
Download Part 2: The Chronology of the Crucifixion and Resurrection (200 KBytes)