Has Time Been Lost?

Church of God, Seventh Day

Is it possible to know--to prove today--which day of the week is the same seventh day that God blessed and set apart at creation?

Has time been lost? Has the calendar been changed? Were not ten days dropped out of the calendar at one time? 

And, how about living on a round earth? Does not one either gain a day or lose a day in traveling around the world? 

And, too, how about Joshua's long day? Did not that change the weekly cycle? 

How can we know that the name Saturday, the present seventh day of the week, was placed on the seventh day of the week according to the Hebrew calendar?

To all these questions there are definite answers and many lines of POSITIVE PROOF! God's Word says, "Prove all things . . . . " [2 Thes. 5:21]. Let us investigate and find the truth.

Past Calendar Changes

The calendar now in use, a Roman calendar, has been changed, but no change ever broke the weekly cycle. The present calendar was first called the Julian calendar because it had its origin at the time of Julius Caesar in 46 BC--several years before the birth of Christ. Later it was changed at the order of Pope Gregory, and since then it has been called the Gregorian calendar.

The Julian calendar was imperfect--it inserted leap years too frequently. Back when this calendar was designed it was supposed that the year was exactly 365 l/4 days long. To take care of the extra one-fourth day each year, a day was added to the month of February every four years. It was later learned that the year is 12 minutes and 14 seconds shorter than this. Consequently, by the time of Pope Gregory, the calendar had drifted TEN DAYS away from the seasons. The spring equinox, therefore, fell on March 11 instead of March 21.

To correct this, ten days were dropped from the calendar. But they were dropped only from the number of days in the month, not from the number of days in the week.

A man named Lilius proposed the method which was adopted in making the change. In the Catholic Encyclopedia (1910 edition), volume 9, page 251, under the article "Lilius," we read this explanation of the change: "Thus, every imaginable proposition was made; only one idea was never mentioned, viz., the abandonment of the seven-day week."

Also in the Catholic Encyclopedia (1910 edition), volume 3, page 740, under the article, "Chronology," we read: "It is to be noted that in the Christian period, the order of days in the week has never been interrupted. Thus, when Gregory XIII reformed the calendar in 1582, Thursday, 4 October, was followed by Friday, 15 October. So in England, in 1752, Wednesday, 2 September, was followed by Thursday, 14 September."

So that the reader may clearly understand it and see how it was worked out on the calendar, we reproduce below the actual calendar. The change was made in Spain, Portugal, and Italy in 1582. Here is the calendar for October 1582:

Note: since we only need to compare the text, the table has been omitted from this file.

You will notice how ten days were dropped out. One day was the fourth and the very next was the fifteenth of October. But the fourth was Thursday and the fifteenth was Friday.

To make it still plainer, the 29th of September that year was a Sabbath, or Saturday; the 30th was Sunday; the 1st of October was Monday; the 2nd was Tuesday; the 3rd was Wednesday; the 4th was Thursday; and the next day was Friday. But this Friday was not the 5th, it was the 15th, and the following day was Saturday the 16th. So actually, Saturday the 16th was just one week of seven days after the preceding Saturday, the 29th of September. There were exactly seven days, seven sunsets, from one Sabbath to the next. The change in the calendar DID NOT IN ANY WAY CHANGE THE SABBATH, or the succession of the days of the week.

Now the British countries refused to change the calendar when the Pope ordered it. They continued with the old Julian calendar until 1752. And while their days of the month were different, still their days of the week were just the same as in Rome. Those who kept the Sabbath in England kept the same SATURDAY that was called Saturday in Rome. Those who observed Sunday observed the same day, both in Rome, where the calendar had been changed, and in London, where it had not been changed.

The English countries changed the calendar in 1752. By that time it was necessary to drop out eleven days. The change was made in September as follows:

Note: since we only need to compare the text, the table has been omitted from this file.

In Russia, the calendar was not changed until 1918. In that year, the day we called the 14th of August was the 1st day of August to the Russians. Our calendars were thirteen days apart; yet, in both countries the same day was called Wednesday. In both countries, Saturday fell on the same day of the week. The calendar has since been changed in Russia. And still their Sunday is Sunday--their Saturday is our Saturday.

Thus, we see that the (Julian-Gregorian) calendar has been in effect since 46 B.C.--prior to the birth of Christ--which proves that there has never been a change in the weekly cycle from the time of Christ until now. The SATURDAY of today is the same seventh day of the week that it was in Christ's time. We can, therefore, be sure we keep the same Sabbath day that Christ kept, setting us an example, the same day of which He said, "The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath" [Mark 2:27-28].

Gaining or Losing a Day in Traveling Around the World

People tell us that a certain command, proclaimed by God's own voice to all His congregation, cannot really be obeyed if we embark on a trip and travel far away from home, either to the east or to the west. It is the command which says,

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy . . . the SEVENTH DAY is the sabbath of the Lord thy God. . .

Did God so complicate this command that it would require an astronomer to tell us how to obey it?

It might seem to some, who do not stop to think, that you lose a day if you travel westward around the world, or gain a day if you travel eastward. But this loss or gain is only apparent, not real.

Think what would happen if it were real. Imagine twin brothers, one traveling westward around the world, the other traveling eastward. If one has really lost a day, while the other gained a day, then after one such journey one becomes two days older than his twin brother. If they took enough trips, one would in time be enough older to be the father of his own twin brother! This is ridiculous, but it illustrates the point.

When a person travels, his days are not of even length. For example, the man who travels from San Francisco to New York in one day finds that particular day (for him at least) is only 21 hours long because the sun sets three hours earlier in New York than in San Francisco. There are three hours difference in the time between the two cities. If the man returns to San Francisco by the same means of travel, he finds his day on the return trip to be 27 hours long. In other words, if he leaves San Francisco at 5:00 a.m. and is in New York exactly 12 hours later, his watch will register 5:00 p.m., but all watches and clocks in New York will register 8:00 p.m. To compute time as others do there, he will have to set his watch up three hours. If he were to keep on traveling around the earth, he would have to keep changing his watch until he had added 24 hours by the time he returned to San Francisco. But did he really add a day to his life? Of course not. The only change would be in the way men count time.

The correct Bible definition of a "day" is not 24 hours, marked by a man-made watch, but the period of time from one sunset until the next sunset. A day is not measured by the journey of the earth plus a man's journey on the earth. A day ends and another begins when the sun sets (compare Mark 1:32 with Genesis 1:5 and Leviticus 23:32). History shows that it was always customary to end and begin days at sunset until a few hundred years after Christ.

We live on a round earth, and a day is measured by the revolutions of the earth on its axis in relation to the sun. Since the Sabbath day begins and ends at SUNSET (Leviticus 23:32), we observe it here when the sun sets here, even if it is not sunset somewhere else. The sun sets three hours earlier in New York than on the Pacific Coast; hence, the Sabbath begins three hours earlier in New York than it does on the West Coast. And in London the Sabbath begins nine hours earlier than it does on the coast of California, according to God's directions for measuring time.

The answer to it all is: WE KEEP THE DAY WHEN THE DAY COMES TO US. Jerusalem is where Jesus kept the Sabbath, and we know He had it right!

As time is now computed, the Sabbath-keepers the world over keep the same Sabbath whenever it comes to them--the day that is and always has been the seventh day of the week at Jerusalem. But it is for the simple reason that the Bible tells us to begin our Sabbath at sunset, and the sun does not set at the same time in the various parts of the earth. The holy hours of the Sabbath begin in China several hours before they begin in Jerusalem, and likewise, in America several hours later than in Jerusalem. But all Sabbath-keepers--everywhere on earth--keep the same day as that day comes to them.

Joshua's Long Day

In the 10th chapter of the book of Joshua we have the record of Joshua calling for the sun and the moon to stand still so that the daylight would be lengthened to enable Israel to finish defeating the enemy in battle. The sun was about to set behind a mountain, and the moon could be seen, as it had risen and was over a certain valley. The Bible says,

... So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day (Joshua 10:13)

It has been taught by some people that this made two days, thus changing the weekly cycle.

Such a line of reasoning can easily be shown to be entirely false. When the sun stood still, it made one long day, not two days. If the day was a Tuesday, then it continued as Tuesday until the sun finally set, for God's days are always from sunset to sunset. The very next verse (Joshua 10:14) says, "And there was no day like that before it or after it . . . " It was ONE LONG DAY--just one day of the week--and it did not change the weekly cycle. The following chart gives a clear illustration of this truth.

Week of Seven Days Counting from Sunset to Sunset.

Note: since we only need to compare the text, the table has been omitted from this file.


But now, to prove the whole thing, let us remember that we need to go back no further than the time of Christ. For, if Joshua's long day did alter the weekly cycle, then Jesus might have observed the wrong day of the week and not the true seventh day. But we know Jesus knew which was the right day. He kept the true Sabbath, and the calendar record proves the Saturday of today is the very same seventh day Jesus kept.

God Revealed the Creation Sabbath To Israel

In the days of Moses, God revealed the true creation Sabbath to all the children of Israel. They had been 400 long years in servitude and bondage in Egypt. There they had not been permitted to have any religious worship or service. They had no Bible, no Scriptures, and no written record of God's commands or ways. Perhaps they had even lost time records and did not know which day was the true Sabbath.

At the wilderness of Sin, two weeks before they arrived at Sinai, they grumbled and complained from lack of food. The Lord said,

". . .Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no" (Exodus 16:4).

This has to do with whether the people would keep God's LAW. To disobey was SIN.

Moses and Aaron said to the people,

"... At even, then ye shall know that the Lord hath brought you out from the land of Egypt; and in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord . . . Come near before the Lord . . . And it came to pass . . . that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud . . . And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and coverd the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host" (Exodus 16:6-13).

Each day the people gathered sufficient for their needs. No one had need for more, and no one built up a surplus, for if they tried to keep over any manna until the following day, it bred worms. However, on the sixth day, twice as much manna fell from heaven, and they all gathered twice as much for their needs. Then, the Lord said, ". . . Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord. . ." (Exodus 16:23). The double portion that they gathered on the sixth day kept over until the Sabbath and did not breed worms or stink.

However, on the seventh day some of the people must have thought time was lost. They were like some modern people who are not sure which day is the Sabbath, or whether it even makes any difference. They went out to gather manna on the seventh day ". . .and they found none" (Exodus 16:27). On this day God did not send any! By three miracles God had shown them WHICH DAY was the true Creation Sabbath.

Time could not have been mixed up or lost under the strict Mosaic regime between the wilderness experience and the time of Christ. We have shown that Joshua's long day was JUST ONE DAY, and that it did not change the reckoning of time in any way. And so we come to the time of Christ knowing that time had not been lost up to then.

The Jews - A Great Proof

Now, if we are convinced that Jesus set us a proper example, and that He observed the right seventh day, we need have no further difficulty.

Notice that the day which Jesus kept AS HIS CUSTOM (Luke 4:16) was the same day that all the Jews kept, for they were holding their religious service in the synagogue (Luke 4:17,20).

About forty-three years after this, the Jews were driven into every nation on earth. From that time until now they have been separated, scattered into all nations. Today they are gathering back home. But through the Middle Ages the Jews in China had no way of communication with the Jews in Africa; the Jews in Europe had no way of communication with those of other parts of the world. Yet today, with communications media restored over every part of the world, we do not find the Jews all mixed up.

If time had been lost, the Jews of one part of the world would be observing one day, and the Jews of other parts would be observing other days. But everywhere--IN EVERY NATION ON EARTH--we find the Jews have been keeping the SAME IDENTICAL DAY--the day we call Saturday--the TRUE SABBATH DAY.

The Jew is the miracle of all history--and the Jew is another proof that we have not lost the Sabbath. Ask any orthodox Jew today if he has lost his Sabbath. Why, such an idea would be nonsense to him. He is not in doubt!

And, for another line of thought, why should time be lost? HOW could it be lost? Stop and think. One person might wake up some Saturday morning and think it was Friday and thus wait until Sunday to keep his Sabbath. But for time to be lost, not only one man but EVERY OTHER PERSON in his town or city--every person in every province, county and state of the world--every person in every nation on earth would have to wake up the same morning with the same hallucination! Do you think this possible? Yet, you believe this has happened if you believe that time has been lost.

We have presented the proof of history, the proof of the calendar, and the proof of the Jew, who through the centuries have preserved the seventh-day Sabbath that Jesus and the apostles kept. All of these offer proof that time has not been lost. Today Christians everywhere can still identify and observe God's Holy Sabbath.

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:8,11).