(Waco TX) Questions Answered on Sabbath Observance--part#2
Unpublished (May, June 1958)
Vol. 13 The Symbolic Code Nos. 7, 8
MAY - JUNE, 1958
QUESTION ANSWERED ON SABBATH OBSERVANCE PART 2
INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE IN EDEN--
DOES LUNAR CALENDAR OR WEEKLY CYCLE GOVERN SABBATH?--
Printed May - June, 1958
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THE SYMBOLIC CODE
Mt. Carmel Center Waco, Texas
By V.T. Houteff
"I have read Pastor N's book," writes another Truth-seeker, "and as a result I have become confused about Sabbath-keeping in Australia, and do not know how to deal with the proposed--INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE IN EDEN."
With all respect to everyone's religious beliefs, it must be recognized that Pastor N's contention that Sunday is the true Sabbath in Australia, although Saturday in America, is as true as to declare that the year 1952 in Australia is 1951 in America. He so confounds knowledge with words as to create an illusion of truth. But an illusion, a mere mirage, is all it is. His theory that one's cruising the earth westward would lose him a day in time while his cruising eastward would gain him a day, logically constrains the false conclusion the one's flying at the same rate of speed as that at which the earth revolves on her axis, practically 1000 miles per hour, would lose him as many days, weeks, months and years as he should keep on flying. For at that rate of speed he would keep up with the sun, and, unless he should stop, he would never see the end of the day if he should start out in the daytime, or would never see the end of the night if he should start out at nighttime.
Then, too, N's proposed location of an International date line in Eden (Palestine, or thereabouts), instead of the natural one in the Pacific Ocean, is obviously illogical and impracticable besides un-Biblical when one considers that in the beginning Eden was God's center of habitation, also His workshop of creation; and that as soon as the sun was created it first flashed its morning glory in Eden, and at the same time cast its shadows over the Pacific Ocean.
When Pastor N. takes all these facts into consideration, then, he, too, will know that just as Eden saw the first sunrise (the beginning of the first solar daylight -- "the morning"), so the Pacific Ocean, east of Australia saw the first sunset (the beginning of the first solar night -- "the evening"), and that then and there ended pre-solar time, the third day, and began solar time, the fourth day. And that is why the solar day still begins and ends respectively in the same places. He will then discover that this creative act of God is what established the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean, and will then know why men, inspired with Divine thought and reason, recognized it to be there. When all these natural causes are taken into account then it is seen that the first Sabbath, the seventh day, began in Eden (Jerusalem) as the sun there sank out of sight about ten hours after the third sunset occurred at the Date Line in the Pacific ocean.
Moreover, the fact that N's Eden date line would have to pass through densely inhabited areas, whereas God's date line in the Pacific passes through no habitation at all, is another good and sufficient evidence that the date line in the Pacific is God's created date line. The difference which an Eden (Palestine) date line would make is this: Momentarily Pastor N could step aside from where Saturday commences and could spend a day on the side where Sunday begins. Thus his Eden date line would enable him entirely to avoid Saturday Sabbath-keeping, and would thus easily afford him a day's fun, or a day's work, on the side of the line where Sunday would be, while his wife and children at home, only across the street, on the side where Saturday would be, keep Saturday Sabbath. And so by his way of reasoning, he could, while in Australia, keep Sunday sabbath with the rest of the world, and expect credit for keeping Saturday Sabbath! A wonderful scheme indeed! Think, though, of the results: on one side of Eden's date-line street, the people would be dancing, hammering, chiseling, and bargaining, while on the other side of the street the people would be keeping Sabbath, praying, and preaching! What a Babel that would be!
Thus we see that sharp minds, destitute of the Spirit of Truth, can devise sharp schemes but likewise Spiritless. But thanks be to God, they are not able to put over all schemes they launch. Marvelous indeed that Pastor N discovered the Palestine or Eden date line, and neither Christ the Creator, nor His holy prophets ever knew a thing about it! O, the wonderful spiritless wisdom of Spiritless men!
Pastor N's computation may, depending on the speed at which he travels, lose him a day or days if he goes westward, or gain him a day or days if he goes eastward whereas God's week and His Sabbath are invariably constant, never losing or gaining, regardless what direction one travels.
It is simple to see that in cruising the earth either westward or eastward we either lose or gain time on the timepiece, not because of the Date line, nor because of time itself, but simply because of our going either in the opposite direction from which the earth revolves -- westward -- or in our going in the direction in which the earth revolves -- eastward.
A comparison may bring this fact clearer. Picture your climbing a hill of sand over which for every yard you move upward, your feet slide back an inch, your efforts thus resulting in your losing one yard in every 36 yards of climbing. Actually therefore you would be walking 37 yards but moving up only 36 yards. Whereas in going downhill, your feet would, on the contrary, slide ahead an inch for every yard you walked, your efforts thus resulting in your gaining one yard in every 35 yards or 36 yards for only 35 yards walked.
So it is that in cruising westward, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, you would have to set back your timepiece four times (4 hours) in order to keep the same time as do the people where you would find yourself. And in cruising eastward from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, you would have to push ahead your timepiece four times (4 hours).
Let us suppose again that you reside where the evening star stands (let it be stationary for our purpose here) directly overhead at the time the sun goes down -- at 6:00 P.M. One day you set out upon a voyage, starting at 6:00 P.M., and cruising westward at the rate of 1000 miles a day. Accordingly, the day after you leave home, the earth brings you around again directly under the evening star, but one hour later -- at 7:00 P.M. And since the time in that locality is 6:00 P.M., you move your timepiece back an hour -- back to 6:00. Each day for twenty-four days you repeat the performance, until at the end of the 24th day you finally arrive home again. By that time you have set back your timepiece 24 times, an hour each time. Shall we now say you have lost a day on the 24,000 mile trip? Certainly not. You have lost nothing, not even a minute, and you have lived precisely as long as if you had been home, and no longer.
"But how," it may be asked, "could one on the Sabbath sail westward from the western (American) side to the eastern side to the eastern (Asiatic) side without ending his Sabbath-keeping as soon as he crossed the date-line and there run into Sunday, perhaps only an hour after he began to keep Sabbath? Would he be justified in keeping only a part of the Sabbath?"
Let us suppose that not only one but all the passengers, including the crew, are Sabbath-keepers. In that event all of them would certainly heed the Commandment and cease from labor by anchoring right where Sabbath overtook them. From this Biblically correct principle of Sabbath-keeping, follows the logic that when beyond all control of his, a voyaging Sabbath-keeper sails over the date line on the Sabbath, he will still continue to keep holy the full hours of It, just the same as if the ship had anchored right where the Sabbath overtook it. Then when the holy hours are passed, where the Sabbath overtook him, he will proceed to keep time according to the day and hour of the land in which he finds himself.
All these considerations translate themselves into absolute proof that the Sabbath necessarily begins on Friday at sunset, but about eight hours earlier in Australia then in Jerusalem. The simple, never-changing Truth is that God requires us to keep holy the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath, whenever and wherever the sun brings It to us, and that is why He emphatically commands us to keep It holy from "even to even." Lev. 23:32.
why He emphatically commands us to keep It holy from "even to even." Lev. 23:32.
We now turn our attention to another Sabbath theory and ism, concerning which another Truth-seeker writes: "A brochure entitled The Bible Sabbath in God's Perfect Plan of Redemption contends that the Sabbath is governed by the lunar month, not by an independent weekly cycle. Please give me your answer from the Bible."
Assuming that the seventh-day Sabbath is governed by a lunar calendar, instead of by the independent weekly cycle,
THE BROCHURE SAYS:
"Yes, all Christendom, with the exception of some Saturday keepers, keep a heathen day of the Sun. But the Saturday keepers also keep, and honor a day of heathen origin -- the day of Saturn....
"Exodus 12:1, 2: 'And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month [moon] of the year to you.' The moon was made to measure the months. Compare 1 Samuel 20, verses 5, 18, 24, 27, 34. And also to mark the seasons
"The Sabbath of the Bible, therefore, is the Sabbath upon which the Passover comes every year. The Lord has purposely placed the Passover celebration upon the second Sabbath of the first Moon (Abib), every year, for a reminder of the Sabbath every year (Ex. 20:8). It is the second Sabbath of the first month, by reason of the Passover being upon the fourteenth of that month, which is the first full moon after the Vernal equinox when spring begins." -- The Bible Sabbath in God's Perfect Plan of Redemption, pp. 9, 13, 16.
To the exponents of the aforequoted Sabbath reckoning-- THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH GIVES THE REPLY:
In the preceding quoted paragraphs, the well-intentioned but grossly misinformed author is attempting to overthrow the seventh-day Sabbath by ignoring the original weekly cycle, God's septenary cycle of creation, and by setting up in its place a moon-controlled septenary cycle of his own devising, so as to make the seventh, the fourteenth, the twenty-first, and the twenty-eighth days of each lunar month commemorative Sabbaths of the week of creation.
It is true that the names of the months and the days of the week are of mythological origin, but the cycle of the week, as we shall see is from time immemorial. True, the Lord said to Moses, "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you." Ex. 12:2. But He did not say, It shall also be the beginning of weeks to you. Thus the question, "How readest thou?" sharply confronts the lunar-Sabbath author for answer. Plainly God could not have said, "this moon shall be the beginning of weeks to you," for such a course would be as we shall see, contrary to Nature, Scripture, and Logic.
Had He intended the moon to fix the time of the holy Sabbath, He would have made it complete its revolution around the earth once either in exactly four weeks or in exactly one week. But since the moon does not do so, it cannot be taken as the Divine regulator of the weekly holy Sabbath day. Moreover, Sabbath begins at "even," whereas the new moon may appear at any hour of day or night.
The following paragraphs briefly bring forth solar, lunar, and Biblical facts, not implications, that the weekly cycle never has been and never can be controlled by any lunar or solar calendar, and that the church under God's direction has never either in the Old or in the New Testament kept a lunar Sabbath.
The Sabbath which the Lord hallowed was celebrated on exactly the seventh day after the creation of the earth began, not on the seventh day after the creation of the moon began (Gen. 2:2). So the weekly cycle which God set in motion, and the Sabbath which He Himself celebrated, were not measured by the revolutions of the moon, but by the revolutions of the earth. Had the Lord blessed and observed a Sabbath that is governed by the moon, then the Sabbath hours could not have fallen on the seventh day from the beginning of creation, but rather must have fallen within the tenth day, for the moon was not created and set in motion until after the fourth day of creation. (See Genesis 1:14-19). Since the week was not then governed by the moon, it certainly cannot be governed by it now and still be the week of creation.
As creation week was three days older than both the sun and the moon, the fact conclusively follows, therefore, that neither of these heavenly luminaries could have ever regulated the week of creation. Moreover, such a solar-lunar regulatory force would, except it be in cycles of tens, deprive Time and Creation of the first three days, leaving them as a phantom "lost period."
Furthermore, were we to standardize the seventh, the fourteenth, the twenty-first, and the twenty-eighth days of the lunar month for the observance of the Sabbath, as the booklet advocates, we could not keep up with the moon anyway, for the lunar month is not actually four weeks (28 days) long, but approximately twenty-nine and a half days.
All these significant facts completely invalidate the idea of the weeks being dependent upon the monthly orbit of the moon, and should therefore render unnecessary any further discussion of the subject. But since the lunar-sabbath author claims that history supports his contention, we shall therefore quote the following three paragraphs:
"The use of the week was introduced into the Roman Empire about the 1st or 2nd century of the Christian era from Egypt, and had been recognized independently of Christianity before the Emperor Constantine confirmed it by enjoining the observance of the Christian Sabbath. With the Mohammedans the week has also a religious character, Friday being observed by them as a Sabbath." -- Twentieth Century Cyclopaedia, Vol. 8, p. 487
"The period of seven days...was used by the Brahmins in India with the same denominations employed by us, and was alike found in the calendars of the Jews, Egyptians, Arabs and Assyrians." -- Standard Dictionary, definition "Calendar."
"The week is a period of seven days, having no reference whatever to the celestial motions, -- a circumstance to which it owes its unalterable uniformity. It was employed from time immemorial in almost all eastern countries; and, as it forms neither an aliquot part of the year nor of the lunar month, those who reject the Mosaic recital will be at a loss, as Dalambre remarks, to assign it to an origin having such semblance of possibility." -- Encyclopedia Britannica.
There is history's testimony. Plainly, it no more supports the lunar-sabbath author's claims than do logic and Scripture. On the contrary, it reveals that the present Roman week is the same as the ancient Jewish and Christian week, that it has been and still is the world's week "from time immemorial" -- from creation. The week, moreover, explains Encyclopedia Brittanica, "is a period of seven days having no reference whatsoever to the celestial motions."