The Great Calendar Controversy

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Recently i received a email from a faithful SDA Brother in India with an article attached titled “The Great Calendar Controversy”. The authors are eLaine Vornholt & Laura Lee Vornholt-Jones , who seem to be related, faithful Seventh-day Adventists living in Oregon.
The very short summary of the article is that they believe the calendar was changed in the past, so the 7th-day sabbath we observe now is NOT the one that God ordained. Basically, they try to make the case that every time a new moon is observed, a new month begins, with the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and maybe 29th days always being sabbaths. So for example, according to the Gregorian calendar, sabbath may fall on Tuesday this month, Thursday next month, and Sunday the following month.
This is very much mistaken. The idea that the Sabbath is not every 7th day since creation is serious error. In fact, the 7th day - sundown Friday to sundown Saturday (they also don't believe the sabbath starts at sundown) - that we keep today is the same one that Jesus kept, the same one that Moses kept, the same one that Adam kept, and the same one that God kept after creating this world. We will keep this sabbath all thru eternity.
Their writings below are in black color, my responses in blue, and Bible or Spirit of Prophecy quotes in my responses are red.


It may not be immediately clear how this proves a luni-solar calendar. This is because of a change in punctuation when the Bible was translated into English.

......(showing how God started the manna on the 16th of the 2nd month)

It has not been seen that this same passage provides an insight into the construction of the luni-solar months.
Trying to show that this text proves a luni-solar calendar by changing a comma to a period is very weak evidence.


The idea that the Jews have never lost track of the true Sabbath is as erroneous as the idea that the weekly cycle in use today is the same one since Creation.

Important Facts of Faith... (Spiritual Gifts Volume 3): The weekly cycle of seven literal days, six for labor, and the seventh for rest, which has been preserved and brought down through Bible history, originated in the great facts of the first seven days.


(in talking about how Ellen White and the early Adventist pioneers were told by an angel when the Sabbath starts):

Had they been correct in believing that the Sabbath began at “even”, the angel would certainly have confirmed that.

Testimony For The Church, No. 1 I saw it was even so, "From even unto even shall ye celebrate your Sabbath." Said the angel, "Take the word of God, read it, understand, and ye cannot err. Read carefully, and ye shall there find what even is, and when it is." I asked the angel if the frown of God had been upon his people for commencing the Sabbath as they have. I was directed back to the first rise of the Sabbath. I followed the people of God up to this time, and did not see that God was displeased, or frowned upon them. I inquired why it had been thus, that at this late day we must change the time of commencing the Sabbath. Said the angel, "Ye shall understand, but not yet, not yet." Said the angel, "If light comes, and that light is set aside, or rejected, then comes the condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject." I saw that it was in the mind of some that the Lord had shown that the Sabbath commenced at six o'clock, when I had only seen that it commenced at "even," and it was inferred that even was at six. I saw the servants of God must draw together, press together.

This angel is obviously talking about the Adventist pioneers being incorrect in starting the sabbath at 6pm, and told them to change to begin at “even”. In the Bible “even” or “evening” can refer to a short period of time late in the daylight hours, and often means “sunset”. In common usage today too, the term "evening" refers to a short period of time (2 or 3 hours) late in the day when the sun is setting, with the exact time of "even" being at sunset.

This is made abundantly clear in the next quote:

My Christian Experience, Views... (Spiritual Gifts Vol 2): Accordingly we designed to visit Boston, but in the evening, at the commencement of the Sabbath, I was shown in vision that we must not go into Boston,


If the day begins at sunset (or even) as has always been assumed, then the “ninth day of the month at even” would be the sunset following the day of the eighth.

Leviticus 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.”

So we see that in the “even” of the 9th day they start to afflict their souls, and continue until even of the next day. Thus the entire day of the 10th is a “sabbath of rest”. This a very strange assertion by the author. Actually, this Bible text is good proof that the calculation of the day is from “even to even”.


This text needs to be interpreted in the way intended: the day begins in the morning with the dawning of a new day.

According to Wikipedia: The Jewish day runs from sunset (start of "the evening") to the next sunset......

The Hebrew calendar follows a seven-day weekly cycle, which runs concurrently but independently of the monthly and annual cycles.

This means that the monthly cycle has nothing to do with the weekly cycle, thus destroying the authors' assumption totally that the sabbath begins on the first day of every new month.

It is true that “day” has two meanings. One is “daylight”, and one is the entire cycle including the dark period and light period. Oddly enough, some people are now advocating a 12-hour Sabbath (daylight portion only) because of unwillingness to follow the obvious!


If Jesus died at 3 p.m. on the sixth day of the week, the preparation day, when the Passover lamb had been slain for centuries, then that means that the angel of death did not “pass over” the houses of the Israelites on “Passover” at all. If evening starts the new day, then the angel of death passed over the Israelites at midnight on the 15th of Nisan, not truly on Nisan 14, the Passover. Only if the day starts at dawn would this make sense.

Exo 12:42 It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.

Num 33:3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.

They were brought out of Egypt at night, and it was the 15th of the month.


Dawn was when a new day started, not sunset. Matthew 28:1 “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.”

The phrase “in the end of the sabbath” does look to show that it was STILL sabbath, but it can, and here does, mean AFTER the sabbath (ie: the sabbath was ended).

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