The Radio Church of God observed the new moons as reported from Jerusalem with Bible Studies each month. Later HWA turned aside from this truth due to the insistence of the ministry who wanted a monthly bible study on a set day of the week as a matter of convenience. This is an explanation of the process of that apostasy from Scripture and the spurious argument used by Herman Hoeh to lead the WCG astray from obeying God.
Herbert Armstrong wrote in 1940: “The New Moon occurs, IN JERUSALEM, (World Almanac – i.e. ‘astronomical new moon’, not ‘molad’), at exactly 10:18 P.M., the night of April 7th, which is the eve of April 8th.
However, God had the new moon observed by the naked eye and by this method the first day of the 1st month begins the following sunset, April 8th.”
Kenneth Herrmann wrote, in Prove God’s Calendar Correct! (Good News, October 1957):
“What are God’s instructions? If the people of Jerusalem, where God’s permanent headquarters are to be, cannot see this crescent of the moon following sunset, then the entire world east and west of that city must delay beginning the month till the following sunset. This is the ordinance as it was given by God. We are not free to begin earlier because of the way we see it.”
In the latest issue of the Journal: November 30, 2017, the lead article concerns a letter received by The Journal from a lady who had corresponded with Herbert Armstrong in 1979 about the biblical calendar:
“God led me to check very carefully into the exact timing of His Sabbath and Feast days fifty-two years ago,” he responded.
“There is no authority or teaching in the Bible to calculate any of these days differently than they did in Moses’ day – when the new moons were seen by the naked eye at Jerusalem.”
Throughout his ministry HWA never deviated from teaching that a biblical month begins at the sighting of the new moon at Jerusalem, and that the Modern Rabbinic Calendar correctly calculates these times.
However, further studies into the modern Rabbinic Calendar reveal that Herbert was wrong and today’s modern Rabbinic Calendar finalized in 1178 A.D. actually begins each month be the average time between the darkness of conjunctions and not by God’s commanded first visible light of the new moon as seen from Jerusalem, as he had mistakenly believed.
When this situation became clear to many people in the WCG, Herman Hoeh overturn HWAs teaching [HWA was by that time falling into age related senility and was no longer in control of the WCG] to defend the observance of the Hebrew calendar [the modern Rabbinic Calendar].
In The Hebrew Calendar – Authoritative for God’s Church Today! (1981) he wrote:
“”The Pharisees put major emphasis on precise visual observation of the first faint crescent of the new moon.” [He tries to discredit God’s Scriptural Calendar by calling it Pharisaic when it was used from the days of Moses.]
“They overlooked Leviticus 23:26-32. So whenever the first faint crescent of the seventh new moon of the year was seen just above the western horizon after sunset on Tuesday evening, for example, they declared that day, Wednesday (which begins the previous evening), to be the new moon. Consequently that new moon became the first day of the month and the Day of Trumpets. The result was the 10th day of the month – Atonement – would fall on a Friday in such a year.
Hoeh then goes on to change the HWA teaching by lying, making the unsubstantiated and unscriptural statement: “It is not required that the first faint crescent visible in Jerusalem always be declared the new moon.”
Hoeh said that “They overlooked Leviticus 23:26-32 in defense of his change: so let us look at Leviticus 23:26-31 and read what it actually says!
Leviticus 23:26 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
23:27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. 23:28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God.
23:29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted [a complete fast] in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
23:30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 23:31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
23:32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.
Where is anything said about the fast of Atonement and any particular day of the week?
In fact there is NO requirement as to the day of the week that the day of Atonement is to be observed, the only requirement is that it be observed on the tenth day of the seventh MONTH; therefore Hoeh departs from the scriptures and tries to slip one over by quoting a scripture and falsely claiming that it justifies acting contrary to that very scripture!
Setting the first day of the month is absolutely essential to observing Atonement on the correct day of the month; which has nothing to do with any particular day of the week.
Therefore Hoeh’s statement that “It is not required that the first faint crescent visible in Jerusalem always be declared the new moon.” is an absolutely false statement completely contrary to Holy Scripture which commands that ALL new moons be observed with worship [IE Bible Studies] to begin every month.
Although I get my religion from the Bible and not from Herbert Armstrong, I know that many do follow Herbert Armstrong to this day.
This article is to confirm that HWA did indeed keep the new moons with monthly worship and Bible Studies up until he began to apostatize in the sixties.
Dan Dowd gave a recent calendar audio presentation in Oshkosh, WI after he became a member of the UCG CoE. This calendar presentation may have been some “rite of passage” or proof of loyalty after being voted in — who knows? Dan gave this presentation to both Milwaukee and Oshkosh congregations and basically followed the text of Jorge de Campos.
Jorge knows that his positions are wrong and that the information he presents is false, as do the leaders of the various COG Groups; but they fall back on the Nicolaitane Primacy of Peter “We have Decided,” exalting themselves above the Word of God.
See the articles at the Biblical Calendar category for much more. I know these people are well aware of the truth because I have been sending this information to Jorge and many other leaders for years.
Wayne Bedwell remembers how the RCG observed new moons in this 2012 sermon transcript. He mentions Worldwide Church of God, then Radio Church of God (RCG) back in the ’50s and before that.
Disclaimer: This link is to establish that HWA did observe the new moons and did teach the Biblical Calendar before he began to apostatize, watering down the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Sabbath, stopping new moon bible studies and much else. Posting this link in no way means or implies that I agree with or endorse any other sermon or article by Wayne, or that he endorses my articles.
The last paragraph on the page states:
“”I think we have justified the observance of the New Moon; an observation which includes extra prayer, extra Bible Study, meditation and a commemorative meal [in memory of the new moon sacrifices]. If possible it should also be observed with a short [congregational] worship service.
In the early days of the Worldwide Church of God, the New Moon festival was kept in Pasadena. Sometime in the ’50s, the observance was dropped and a Friday night Bible Study was substituted. The new changed position on New Moon observance was that it was optional. I have no idea what their position is today. They have made so many doctrinal changes. But I hope I have convinced you the [new moon] day should be observed on the first day of every month as determined by the new moon date in Jerusalem.”
New moon observation in the Radio COG has been confirmed in a question by a member of Dan’s congregation at the end of Dan Dowd’s recent calendar presentation. Dan gave a two-part sermon on the calendar issue [Part 1] and had a Q & A session at the very end of part two. (At 34:45 of part two .)
Until the late 1950’s a group in Jerusalem would call Oregon or later Pasadena and let them know when the first visible crescent new moon was sighted by observers. HWA always thought the Biblical new moon was the first visible crescent new moon (from all of his articles).
Back in RCG and WCG Herbert plainly taught that the first visible light of the New Moon observed at Jerusalem was the Biblical New Moon, and there was no argument about which new moon was the Biblical New Moon.
Even Rod Meredith tried to restore this truth in his LCG but was resisted by the ministry until he finally gave up.
Contrary to Herbert and to scripture, Dan Dowd argues against the first visible crescent new moon, claiming that the astronomical new moon (conjunction) is the new moon used in God’s calendar, which of course is absolute nonsense and utterly false! See: all of our Calendar studies.
In fact UCG does NOT define the term “new moon” as the first visible crescent OR the conjunction. The UCG officially defines the new moon according the the Rabbinic Calednar finalized in 1178 A.D. as “the first day of the month as determined by the molad” (Should Christians Observe the New Moons? — Doctrinal Paper). The molad is NOT the conjunction, nor is it the first visible crescent new moon, nor is it a real lunar event, it is the average time between conjunctions.
Even when he stopped observing the new moons with worship studies Herbert allowed that it was optional and could continue of brethren wanted to do so.
Of course the key issue is setting the High Days
Herbert mistakenly thought that today’s Rabbinic Calendar went by the first visible light of the new moon at Jerusalem when it does not.
When this was discovered in very recent times: COG leaders opted to reject God’s Word and Herbert’s new moon teachings; and follow the Rabbins!
Even lying to justify their departure from the scriptures [and Herbert’s teachings] by falsely claiming that today’s Rabbinic Calendar – which was finalized with the addition of postponements in 1178 A.D. – was in use in the first century! See the articles at the Biblical Calendar category for much more.