The luni-solar calendar with its Sabbaths regulated by the courses of the moon should be studied by every Seventh-day Adventist. It is this calendar that was used by the Millerites to establish the ending date of the 2300 day prophecy. This prophecy, found in Daniel 8:14, and the cleansing of the sanctuary that it predicts, is Adventism’s most unique, distinctive doctrine.
Seventh-day Adventists have seven basic beliefs which are viewed as the pillars of their faith:
The foundation, upon which these pillars rest, however, is the doctrine of the heavenly sanctuary and all that it entails in Christ’s ministration for the purification from sin of His people. A thorough understanding of the sanctuary and all its services (as revealed by the tabernacle built by Moses in the wilderness) is, therefore, vital to understanding God’s plan of redemption to restore in mankind His own image.
The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ’s work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the earth. It opens to view the plan of redemption, bringing us down to the very close of time, and revealing the triumphant issue of the contest between righteousness and sin. It is of the utmost importance that all should thoroughly investigate these subjects, and be able to give to every one that asketh them a reason for the hope that is in them” (Great Controversy, 488.)
When Moses built the tabernacle, he was instructed to build it just like the pattern he had been shown – i.e., the original sanctuary in heaven:
We have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man . . . the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount. Hebrews 8:1-2, 5
God required Moses to construct the earthly sanctuary exactly like the heavenly, because the sanctuary itself and all of its services taught the plan of redemption from sin. The annual services of the sanctuary as well as the weekly Sabbath reveal God’s original calendar.
This calendar was established at Creation and reestablished at the Exodus (see Ex. 12.) It used the sun, moon and stars as an unerring clock/calendar, far beyond the reach of Satan to destroy, for establishing the times when God’s people were to assemble together for worship – His mo’edim.
Knowledge of the sanctuary is integral to the interpretation of Daniel 8:14, because this text points to the great anti-typical Day of Atonement: “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Each part of the sanctuary services had a type and an anti-type. Just as Christ was the anti-typical lamb which was sacrificed for sin, the yearly feasts also have anti-types.
God’s people today must clearly comprehend the sanctuary and its services because it is in these services and the prophecies pointing to their anti-types that we have the clearest evidence that the Gregorian Saturday of today is not the Sabbath of the original Biblical calendar. The Millerites understood and used this Biblical, luni-solar calendation to correctly interpret the 2300-day prophecy.
As far back as April, and then in June and December of 1843, and in February of 1844 – months before Miller’s original date expired for the ending of the “Jewish year 1843” at the time of the vernal equinox in 1844- his associates (Sylvester Bliss, Josiah Litch, Joshua V. Himes, Nathaniel Southard, Apollos Hale, Nathan Whiting, and others) came to a definite conclusion. This was that the solution of Daniel’s prophecy is dependent upon the ancient or original Jewish form of luni-solar time, and not upon the altered modern rabbinical Jewish calendar . . . They therefore began to shift from Miller’s original date for the ending of the 2300 years (at the equinox in March), over to the new moon of April, 1844. (L. E. Froom, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Review & Herald Publishing Assoc., 1982, Vol. IV, 796, emphasis original.)
Through diligent scholarship of both the scriptures and historical documents, the Millerites determined that the 2300-day prophecy began in 457 B.C. and culminated 2300 years later on the Day of Atonement in 1844. The significance for Seventh-day Adventists today is that the year of the crucifixion is thus unequivocally established. One year and one year only fits within the timeframe of this longest of all time prophecies: A.D. 31.
Confusion exists because the Passover fell on the 14th of Nisan which was always the 6th day of the week. This is affirmed in Desire of Ages, 685: “In company with His disciples, the Saviour slowly made His way to the Garden of Gethsemane. The Passover moon, broad and full, shone from a cloudless sky.” Because Nisan 1 was the day following the observation of the first visible crescent, Nisan 14, and thus Passover, fell on the day following the full moon.
Astronomers confirm that the full moon for that month was on Wednesday, April 25. For this reason, most Christian denominations have rejected A.D. 31 as the year of Christ’s crucifixion. The year typically chosen as the crucifixion year is A.D. 33 because in that year the 14th of Nisan falls on a Julian Friday. The World Wide Church of God has traditionally taught that the crucifixion occurred in A.D. 31. However, they teach that the 14th of Nisan fell on a Julian Wednesday as the fourth day of the week. This necessitates the explanation that Christ had to remain in the tomb for three full 24 hour periods, thus bringing them to a Sunday resurrection. (For a detailed study on the date of Christ’s crucifixion, see When Was Christ Really Crucified?)
Luni-solar calendation is the only way to reconcile these apparently contradictory facts:
To deny the luni-solar calendar, is to destroy the very foundation of our belief in the sanctuary and its integral time prophecies in Daniel 8 and 9 which pinpoint A.D. 31 as the year of Christ’s crucifixion.
The immense significance of this fact is clearly stated in the Final Report of the Research Committee appointed by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to study calendation principles and their application to prophecy:
The 2300-year span is the longest of all the allotted time periods of inspired prophecy. It is the most complex of all, in its involvements, because it comprehends a series of subdivisions marked off by events whose synchronizing relationships cannot be disturbed without disrupting the whole divine scheme. The boundaries and divisions of this mighty period are timed by God’s great celestial clock of the spheres which swing inerrantly through space, telling off the years, months, days, hours, and minutes with the undeviating precision of Infinity.
. . . The expanding advent movement staked everything upon the historical, chronological, and astronomical accuracy of the dates marking off this prophetic span, and the momentous events for which they stood – dates recorded historically by man, but created and governed by the movements of sun and moon which no man can advance or retard. These are kept under the control of the Omnipotent One Himself, in whose hands time and destiny lie, and Who governs the very basis of man’s time records by those fixed laws of the heavens ordained when our solar system came into being.
The highly perfected science of time, together with the modern increase of scientific and mechanical knowledge, has enabled astronomical experts, with their mastery of planetary motion, to mark off all past time. Full and complete tables are now available for checking the events called for by this 2300-year prophecy, with the historical records and visual observations of the receding centuries.
The conclusions reached relative to the 2300-year prophecy in the great “7th month” phase of the advent movement, from August to October, 1844, are a matter of transcendent importance to us as Seventh-day Adventists, which we may, with every propriety, restudy at this time – for it is the exposition and application of this prophetico-historical truth that constitutes the one supremely distinctive and distinguishing contribution that Seventh-day Adventists make to the full-rounded system of Bible truth held by the Christian church of the centuries. In the ultimate, it is this prophetic truth that constitutes the authorizing warrant for our historical existence, and our special witness as a separate ecclesiastical body. (Report of Committee on Historical Basis, Involvements, and Validity of the October 22, 1844, Position, Part I, pages 1 & 2, Archives and Statistics Department, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, emphasis supplied.)
Clearly, calendation science is the key to establishing our foundational explanation of the sanctuary doctrine with its adjunct 2300-day prophesy. Attorney Richard Humpal stated: “When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease being honest.” When the issues of the different calendars are thoroughly studied, one is brought to a point of decision:
Which will you decide? Every Seventh-day Adventist owes it to himself, as well as to God, to study to show himself approved. To be sealed on the great anti-typical Day of Atonement, is to be so firmly grounded on truth that you cannot be shaken.
The 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8:14 provides proof that the pagan weeks cycle differently from the weeks of the original Biblical calendar.
To deny the luni-solar calendar, is to destroy the very foundation of our belief in the sanctuary and its integral time prophecy in Daniel 8:14 which pinpoints A.D. 31 as the year of Christ’s crucifixion.
“The conclusions reached relative to the 2300-year prophecy in the great “7th month” phase of the advent movement, from August to October, 1844, are a matter of transcendent importance to us as Seventh-day Adventists, which we may, with every propriety, restudy at this time – for it is the exposition and application of this prophetico-historical truth that constitutes the one supremely distinctive and distinguishing contribution that Seventh-day Adventists make to the full-rounded system of Bible truth held by the Christian church of the centuries. In the ultimate, it is this prophetic truth that constitutes the authorizing warrant for our historical existence, and our special witness as a separate ecclesiastical body.” (Final Report of Research Committee, Part I, p. 2, emphasis supplied.)