Thursday, January 27, 2022

Rudimentary Things

Today, following the Hebrew calendar and using it to decipher God’s will is all the rageApparently, God works on the clock and whatever He is doing in the present “season” is dictated by the calendar. And many “prophets” now divine the future from Hebrew month names, year numbers, and increasingly, even from the Gregorian calendar.

But is any of this scriptural? Certainly, Yahweh instituted the Hebrew calendar with its annual feast days but nowhere in the Old or the New Testament do we find any instructions for using it to peer into the future, nor examples of men of God doing so.

Stone Column - Photo by Madhu Madhavan on Unsplash
[Photo by Madhu Madhavan on Unsplash]

I mean, in what passage does Moses or Elijah or Paul or Jesus himself declare what God is about to do based on the Hebrew month name or year number? As for the Gregorian calendar, what does that have to do with Jesus, God, or the Christian faith?

In fact, attempting to decipher the future from year numbers is a form of divination, an occult practice. Isaiah chided the Babylonians for doing that very thing – “Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators stand up and save you from the things that will come upon you.” And in the Hebrew text, “monthly prognosticator” refers to those who divine knowledge from the months on the lunar calendar. And it is no coincidence that Isaiah lumped them together with “astrologers” and “stargazers.”

When writing to the Galatians, Paul expressed his displeasure that some members of the congregation were resorting to calendrical observations. “You observe days and months and seasons and years.” Almost daily do we not hear “prophetic” pronouncements about what “season” we are in or are about to enter? And beyond doubt, the issue at Galatia revolved around the Hebrew calendar.

Paul did not dispute that God had instituted the calendar with its Sabbaths and annual feast days. However, he called such things “rudimentary,” the “weak and beggarly rudiments.” And to resort to them is to return to bondage.

Rudimentary” translates the Greek noun stoicheion, which can refer to things that are basic and elementary, such as the letters that make up the alphabet. Peter used the same word when he predicted that on the Day of the Lord the “elements will be melted with fervent heat.”

But according to Paul, calendrical observations are now passé, things that were necessary when we were under the custodianship of the Law, but practices that were left behind with the arrival of Jesus. “When the fullness of time came, God sent forth his Son… that he might redeem them that were under the law.

And in him, the era of fulfillment began, therefore, it is now time to put away what has become obsolete. To return to “bondage” under the law, including its calendar regulations, is regression. It is not advancement, revelation, and certainly not a method for forecasting the future or peering into some “spiritual realm.”

Paul made similar points in Colossians. “Beware lest anyone make you into a spoil through his philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” And what did he mean by the “rudiments of the world”? Just a few verses later he provides us with clear examples:
  • Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat or in drink or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day, things that are shadows of the coming things, but the body is of Christ.  Let no man rob you of your prize… If you died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why as though living in the world do you subject yourselves to ordinances, handle not nor taste nor touch.”
Not only does Paul call dietary regulations and calendrical observations “rudimentary,” he classifies them as “shadows” of the substance that is now in Christ. So, why grasp at shadows when we belong to the one who casts them?

But even if we believe the Hebrew calendar is still in effect, once again, in Scripture, where do we find any word about using it to divine God’s will or even one example of a man of God doing so?

As for using year numbers from the Gregorian calendar to decipher the “times and seasons” as many “prophets” now do, that has absolutely no basis in Scripture whatsoever. It IS a form of divination, though admittedly, a very silly one. Nevertheless, if you fool around with demonic things that are forbidden in the Bible, sooner or later, you will get burned.