PAST EXPERIENCE From about 1992 there has been an upsurge in the Churches of God and among individuals who have come out of the Worldwide Church of God, regarding the use of the perpetual Hebrew(Jewish) calendar, for setting the days to observe the festivals of the Eternal as outlined in Leviticus 23. The arguments presented of late against the Jewish calendar are not new to me. Nothing I have seen since 1992 over the calendar question is new, I have heard it all before way back in 1980 and during the early years of that decade, when a number of individuals were pouring out articles claiming the Jewish calendar was in error. Many of the so called "Sacred Names" organizations were also very busy trying to prove they had the true calendar of God, which was different than the Jewish one. I came into the Biblical Church of God(founded by Fred Coulter who left the WCG in 1979) as a minister in 1982. The first priority for all the Elders(about 10 at the time) was the issue of the calendar. I was given paper after paper to answer, all were arguing against the perpetual Jewish calendar. The same arguments presented today were the ones used yesterday. As Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun. For those interested, after about one and a half years of intense study, the BCG said they would continue following the beginning of the months of the year as laid out in the Jewish calendar. I believe I was largely responsible for their decision because of the answers I gave to all the arguments, and nailing down the trunk of the tree foundation to the calendar issue. THE CALENDAR IS AN IMPORTANT FOUNDATIONAL DOCTRINE This issue is not the same as Romans 14, between those wanting to eat meat and those believing only eating herbs (vegetarianism) should be followed. God allows BOTH practices, there is freedom and liberty within Christ for both views as long as one does not "condemn" the other. God does not command anyone to eat meat if they do not want to. The Lord does on the other hand, command that His festivals with 7 annual Sabbath days included, be observed on SPECIFIC days of the months. How could this be if God did not give someone in authority the right and knowledge of a calendar that was to be set down and passed on to the people of God at large? We are talking about 7 annual holy days that are HOLY to God, that are to be kept holy. And it is only possible to keep something holy that has been MADE holy. God has made holy the 15th day of the first month, not the 13th day, or the 16th day! He has made holy the 1st day of the 7th month, not the 2nd day or the 4th day. God is quite specific, not "there abouts" or "close encounters" of the near kind. The words of Lev.23 are very plain and clear, even a child can understand the dates given. They are as clear as the words of the 4th commandment - the 7th day of the week is the 7th day not the 6th or the 1st day. Someone from the beginning has had to preserve the 7day cycle so no one could have the excuse that the 7 day week became lost. So likewise someone has had the authority to arrange the yearly calendar from the beginning so it also would never be lost and would be a witness to the world that God's festivals can still be observed, with no excuse that the beginning of the months can not be known. The calendar question IS IMPORTANT! It is not a question of "doing your own thing" or "picking the calendar of your choice" as like "picking the church of your choice." We are not given the freedom to pick the day of the week to keep holy - God had already chosen that for us - the 7th day of the week, when it arrives in our part of the world. The festivals are also SET for us, given to us from God as to when we shall observe them, on what days of which months. Simple? Yes indeed! Specifically important? Oh, you bet! So someone must have been given the authority over the calendar FROM THE BEGINNING! IMPORTANT DOCTRINES Some say baptism is to be done either with sprinkling or pouring, others say no, it is only to be performed with complete immersion in water. Do you believe God wants us to know the truth of the matter? Can you know the true way to baptize or are both ways correct? Is it possible to find the answer through study? What about the question of the state of the dead. Does a person continue to live on after death or are they resting in sleep, oblivious to anything going on? Do you believe the Lord wants you to know the truth on this subject? Can you find the truth by study? Will Jesus literally return to this earth in bodily form? Some teach He will not, others say He will. Does our Father in heaven want us to know the truth? Can we find the truth through study? We could go on with other fundamental doctrines that churches teach one way or the other, but the above three examples are enough for our purpose. If you believe in observing the festivals of the Lord as outlined in Lev.23 then you will believe they are a part of the important doctrines of God. If God wants us to observe them on the days and in the months He states, then do you believe the correct calendar He sanctions can be found? Do you believe those in authority to sanctify the new month days for each month of the sacred year are in existence? Do you believe the Eternal wants complete unity for His children to observe His festivals when He states they are to be observed? Or can any man/woman/group of persons, decide for themselves when the first of each month will begin? If that is the case, why is there NOT ONE WORD in God's holy word that states any person or any local church can decide for themselves when the months will begin, and how many months will be in any given year? This is an important doctrine! God wants us to get it right! We can know the one truth on this matter! CONFUSION, CONFUSION EVERYWHERE As I delved into this study way back in 1982 it soon became very openly clear from all the papers on the subject, which claimed the perpetual Jewish calendar was "not sanctioned by God," that many were also claiming THEY had the true calendar. It was rather funny(if it had not been so serious a matter), even quite laughable, to see all these "this is the way, we are right" persons and organizations, claiming to have the "biblical calendar." YET THEY DID NOT AGREE AMONG THEMSELVES! They all did the arranging of their calendar somewhat differently. They were still all observing say the feast of Trumpets, on different days. Some started the day of the Passover together but ended up keeping the feast of Tabernacles days apart. While a few others in some years were a WHOLE MONTH different than the rest. And to be sure the late observers claimed they had the true calendar. Back in 1982, 83, it was nothing but CONFUSION among many so called "calendar experts." There was unity in one respect, and that was DIS-unity. Now among all this surely there was a single truth, maybe even a plain truth to this calendar question. One thing is sure, right from the very inspired word of the Eternal. He claims that some may be confused, Satan may be confused, but......" GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION, BUT OF PEACE, as in all the churches of the saints" (1 Cor.14:33). Those who claim they have authority over the calendar have caused nothing but confusion, and God clearly says that does not come from Him! CONCERNING MY THREE TAPES What is my basic stand on the calendar question? Years ago, about 1983 I think, I sent my tapes to Ron Dart and the CGI. In 1993/94 I sent them to Rod Meredith and GCG. They were also sent to John Ritenbaugh and the CGG about a year ago. Then six months(that was in 1996) ago or so they were sent to Gary Antion in Toronto to help the UCG through this issue. Other individual leaders have had them throughout the years. I have never sent them to the Jerald Flurry of the PCG, I stay away from them as far as I can. I am in agreement with the articles on the calendar(for the most part) by Ron Dart,the GCG, and the recent one by John Ritenbaugh, with one large exception to Ritenbaugh's. He ends up his article by stating the Church of God was blessed by the Lord under HWA, and he taught the Jewish calendar. It is given as a proof for continuing with it. That argument is very poor theology, one the other writers mentioned above have stayed way clear of, to their wise move. For if we think a work is being blessed by the Lord because it grows in numbers or media outreach, then we are all in the wrong church and following the wrong calendar. We should with that argument all join the Roman Catholic church and observe the Roman calendar in keeping the festivals. Then as God has blessed them with numbers and world fame, we would not be observing the feasts of Lev.23 as their great leader says we do not have to, and he is the vicar of Christ on earth(I speak of course with tongue in cheek). The three articles mentioned above by their respected authors are quite good. My tapes cover about 4 hours. There is MUCH MORE detail covered in them than in any articlesI have ever seen. I answer many more arguments, cover more historical data, show how the court of the Jews in the time of Christ sanctified the new month days and when the 1st of Nisan would be. Some of their rules are mentioned that just blow the mind. Rules that were in force during the life of Jesus and which He never argued against. Rules that make the so called "postponements" of the perpetual calendar(which many seem to think are against God) look like a Sunday afternoon picnic in comparison. My tapes get to the "trunk of the tree" issue, and show just how much authority the Jews have(not as much as you may think), while asking the question "what authority do you have?" I wish I could send them free to everyone requesting them, but I have no financial backing from any church. The postage is more expensive to send from Canada to the USA than the other way around. So I must ask for $2 a tape or $6 for the set of three. THERE IS A TRUTH ON THIS SUBJECT, THAT TRUTH CAN BE FOUND.