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LUNI-SOLAR CALENDAR FOUNDATION OF 2300 DAY PROPHECY
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.