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Mathematical Bias and the Biblical Calendar
(Revised 2015)

By: Shawn Richardson

Section 2:

GOD'S ORDAINED SIGNS

To begin our Biblical search, we don't have to go very far. In the very first chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis 1: 14-19[1], we find Yehovah Himself being quoted at the time of creation itself:

Notice what is being created here: signs and seasons, days and years - a calendar! This is the establishment and foundation from which we are told, directly from Yehovah Himself, that we can determine dates. Of these, the first that should be immediately obvious and distinct from the others is the fact that His calendar is based on the use of signs. More specifically, the lights in the firmament of the heavens are used as these signs! Firmament, being the Hebrew word raqia (Strong's 7548[3]), also translates as "expanse"; whereas the word heavens, being shamayim (Strong's 8063[3]) in Hebrew, more specifically is referencing the "sky" above us. Therefore, it is the lights in the expanse of the sky above us that serve as signs for us to know His seasons, days and years. Also take note that these signs are being described from an observer's perspective here on earth, not from some far off place floating somewhere out in the solar system. There is no scientific description given here, no mythical secrets, no complicated rules and absolutely no mathematical formulas. This is telling us that, in order to understand time and the Biblical calendar, we simply need to look up to the sky!

Now many will quickly brush over these verses and think that this is the day during the creation week where the sun, moon and stars were made. But have you thought about the fact that this takes place on Day Four? The phrases "the evening and the morning were the" first, second and third "day" were already stated in previous verses. But consider this: if no sun existed, how can you have an evening and a morning? Perhaps Yehovah or the Messiah themselves provided the light source? Let's focus on verse 16 above where it states "God made two great lights." The Hebrew word here for made is 'asah (Strong's 6213[3]) which means:

This verse, then, is telling us that Yehovah appointed, or bestowed, the sun and the moon to serve as our signs in the expanse of the sky. In other words, this does not necessarily mean the sun or moon were being created here from scratch, but rather they were being placed into their proper alignment and being set into motion so as to provide lights as signs to those looking up at any time (day or night). The sun and the moon are simply being assigned a prominent role in how each one plays a part along with the stars to divide the day from the night. And it is these signs that, as you will soon discover, are referenced throughout the scriptures! It is from this point forward that the sun and moon were ordained into their continuous cycles as we know them today (with only Yehovah having the power to change their courses - as we will later see an account where He did just that in order to temporarily extend the day to last longer). There is one other aspect introduced in the Creation Week here in Genesis and that is the first, and only, mathematical concept you will find in scripture related to the calendar: counting days.

Many contemporary Christians today infer from the word sign (or omen) in the Bible as being something miraculous. A sign given by Yehovah is generally perceived as extraordinarily different from the everyday observed events, where one may take notice of His work. Although the sun and moon, of themselves, are miraculous as Yehovah's overall creation, they are also to be used as instruments in our ordinary day-to-day lives. The Hebrew word for signs used in the above scriptures is 'oth (Strong's 226[3]) which means:

Therefore, these signs are the form of communication from Yehovah - a flag or beacon - that appears in the sky and is meant for us to take notice - or to mark! Just as a ship searches for land with the assistance of a lighthouse beacon in the midst of a storm, Yehovah created these signs for us to see (as a monument or flag) from where we can then determine, for ourselves, His times and seasons. We know, then, that the sun and moon serve as these beacons - the two great lights in the sky above us. Even the stars communicate to us in the form of signs to signal the night apart from the day. His signs are not used as Pagan fortune teller's practice to predict future events, but to serve as a point of reference at any given time.

It's important to notice just what the purpose of the Fourth Day of Creation was all about. We can see the elements being laid out here for a calendar. But now let's take a closer look at the word seasons. If we were using our mathematical bias, our first impression of this word may force us to think of the four celestial seasons known to us as spring, summer, winter and fall (marked by the calculated summer and winter solstices and the spring and fall equinoxes). But remember, we need to look past our bias. This pre-defined concept is not being described here at all. The Hebrew word being used in this verse is mow`ed (Strong's 4150[3]), which means:

This is NOT a description of the celestial bodies and their movements at the time of the Spring Equinox or the Winter Solstice! Seasons, instead, refer specifically to Yehovah's appointed times of the year that He set aside - the Holy Day Festivals! The word mow'ed is used in Leviticus 23:2-5[1], where Yehovah instructs Moses to:

And a list of specific appointed times continues to the end of this chapter. Here, the term mow'ed makes the connection that the ordained signs of the calendar are used not only to determine ordinary days and years, but also to fully understand when the Feasts of Yehovah and the times He appoints as being holy occur throughout the year. Exodus 13:10[1] instructs us regarding these Feast days:

The original King James more clearly states the above as "in His season", which would better read "in His appointed time." Yehovah appointed the Festival seasons and it is our job to proclaim them using the signs He gave us in the sky. Psalm 104:19[1] clearly makes this connection, as well:

Jeremiah 31:35[1] further clarifies that these signs are officially decreed by Yehovah Himself:

This is repeating the very information we have been given in Genesis. It is important to note, however, that observing any of these objects (sun, moon or stars) has nothing to do with astrology or the worship of the heavenly bodies themselves. In fact, this practice is strictly condemned by Yehovah. Deuteronomy 4:15-20[1] clarifies this stating:

We see here that these signs were given to men as a heritage from generation to generation as a possession to use, but never worship! This warning is repeated in Isaiah 47:13-14:

Astrology, the study of celestial movements as having an influence in human affairs (such as horoscopes and other mythical practices based on the movements of the heavenly bodies), is different from Astronomy. The latter is the mathematical and observational study of those objects to better understand the universe and its overall function. Prognosticators, as they are called in the above verse, are forecasters who claim to obtain special knowledge of future events who, then, make supposed intimate predictions about one's life or group of individuals based on their secret understanding. As we can see, being driven to worship the signs of the sun or moon as entities or those that study them - even if it's fashioned in a manner to give praise to Yehovah - would also be a sin. They are merely objects that Yehovah uses (and ordained) in order for us to understand His timetable. Seeing them in the sky, or observing their motions, is completely different from worshiping them. It would be no different to observe them in the sky than it would be to look at the hands of a watch (unless, of course, we fashion our watches to praise and worship as the creators, or gods, of time and space).

Jesus (Yeshua) gave a very moving end-time prophecy in Matthew 24 that also gives us an example of signs and seasons. The Messiah's disciples listened very carefully to His prophecy of a future destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and a later end-time age. As most of us in their shoes would do, the disciples immediately questioned when such things would take place. Notice what they ask in Matthew 24:3[1]:

Why would it occur to the disciples to ask for a sign? Yeshua described many events that would eventually come to pass - earthquakes, betrayals, false prophets and the abomination of desolation to name a few. But His answer was likely not what they were asking for here. We see the disciples' original concern was when His Kingdom would be established. They were applying the concept shown in Genesis 1 and requesting a visible sign to determine when the time would arrive. Today, you and I would have likely asked Yeshua on what date will he establish his Kingdom. But Yeshua put it into a perspective they would understand by using the example of a fig tree in Matthew 24:32-33[1]:

Yeshua refers to the summer season here. But he's not referring to the mathematical concept of the summer solstice (or the spring equinox); rather he is putting his reply into context by describing the use of observable signs to determine the arrival of future events - in this case, the growing season! But he stopped short of predicting when the exact sign, or date, would occur. Instead, he described multiple events that will serve as a sign of the end-time age. And ALL of these events would be required to take place for anyone to know that the time is very near. The disciples learned that they would not be able to predict, even with the use of mathematics, when these things would eventually take place, but they clearly understood the analogy when Yeshua referenced the sign of the fig tree to determine when the time would eventually arrive.

In the modern world, many "so-called" prophets give in to their confidence of mathematics that often lead them to the added desire to predict the future. We see this all the time with modern "doomsday" predictions throwing out future dates like candy claiming they know the exact time the end-time age, referred to by Yeshua, will happen or begin. But, as we were told, any such events would be tied to signs and (according to verse 36) no man can calculate or predict the day or hour when all of these signs will occur - not even Yeshua Himself! But He did give us the signs to look for and, when they do appear, we can then know that the season, or appointed time, has indeed come upon us and we can be ready for it! To be prepared, though, we must keep watch! The message in Matthew 24 ends with this very warning in verses 42-44:

This same principle can also be applied to the Biblical calendar. If we truly desire to know when Yehovah has appointed His Holy time, then we need to be like watchmen! By actively observing the ordained tangible signs given to us, the search for His timetable stays forefront in our minds and builds anticipation for His appointed festivals - something that can be easily taken for granted when relying on invisible abstract calculations (especially when calculation is not given to use). Only by observation of His ordained signs can we truly understand in our hearts that we are proclaiming and guarding His time properly.

Now that we have a better grasp on these lights serving as "signs (observable in the sky) and seasons (to determine His Feast days), and for days and years", let's begin by looking at what constitutes a Biblical Day by using these signs.

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