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Two Professors Urge New Calendar Enshrining Sunday

Two Professors Urge New Calendar Enshrining Sunday

Seeking an end to irregular calendars—which have holidays like New Year’s Day on different days of the week each year—a pair of Johns Hopkins University professors have proposed a “standard” calendar that enforces Sunday as the seventh day of the week. In their version, consistency is key, with every date landing on the same day of the week every year. 

Steve H. Hanke, a professor of Applied Economics, and Richard Conn Henry, Academy Professor of Physics and Astronomy—both of the famed research university in Baltimore, Maryland—took to the pages of The Washington Times to advocate for the shift, claiming that U.S. President Donald J. Trump could enact it by executive order, much the way Julius Caesar decreed his Julian calendar reform in 45 BC. (Some historians claim this was a year earlier.)

“There is no reason why calendrical change cannot occur more rapidly today,” they conclude. “Indeed, with the stroke of a pen, [Trump] could sign an executive order. With that, the [Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar] would become the ‘Trump Calendar’—a permanent calendar mandated for use by the U.S. government.

If everyone who does business with the federal government—which in some manner includes everyone in the United States and millions around the world—had to adopt this calendar, then the rest of the planet would likely follow the most powerful country in the world. It sounds plausible, doesn’t it?

The Sabbath Problem

The Hopkins professors claim that today’s Gregorian Calendar, introduced in 1582 to realign Easter with the spring equinox, is a source of confusion and economic waste. As it stands now, new calendars must be printed every year as well as new schedules created for such things as school, sports games, and holidays. “What a waste of both time and money,” lament Hanke and Henry.

They even blame the Gregorian calendar for wreaking a bit of havoc in the stock market, citing an incident in 2013, when Apple’s quarterly earnings report garnered “its worst one-day loss in four years … largely due to a simple calendar-generated error—most analysts failed to account for the fact that Apple’s Q1 2013 was one week shorter than the same quarter the year before.”

It is true that from a secular perspective, standardizing the calendar would save time and money. It would also place certain holidays at optimal times for three-day weekends. “New Year’s Day would always be a Monday,” Hanke and Henry offer as an example.

But such experiments in calendar reform have been tried before: In the twentieth century, industrialist George Eastman of Kodak camera fame proposed a 13-month calendar imagined by railway advisor Moses Cotsworth, where each month would have only 28 days (a new month, “Sol,” would capture the days lost from other months) and each year would have an extra, single “Year Day” to even things out.

While businesses and employers favored its predictability, the American public had other opinions. Ultimately, Eastman’s International Fixed Calendar was never officially implemented and gradually faded out of use. 

But most important is how these new calendar proposals treat the Sabbath day. Hanke and Henry criticize Eastman’s calendar for “failing most crucially to account for and preserve the Sabbath,” referring to its “Year Day” that disrupts the week at the end of each year. 

Ironically, however, their calendar proposal does the same. The Hopkins professors start their calendar week on Monday, making Sunday—not Saturday—its seventh day. Furthermore, they assert that Sunday is the Sabbath: “By preserving the seven-day Sabbath cycle, … [the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar] would avoid the major complaints from ecclesiastical quarters that have doomed all other attempts at calendar reform.”

This claim is a bit of a stretch. What Hanke and Henry do not address is that by changing the order of the days of the week, they effectively change the days of creation (Genesis 1, 2)—the time in which God first implemented the seven-day week. If we follow their calendar, we would disregard God’s fourth commandment, which commemorates the completion of the creation of our world (Exodus 20:8–11). 

Of course, tens of millions of Christians who observe the true Bible Sabbath, as well as the millions of Jews who do the same, would have a big problem with that. (Additionally, the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar also ignores the religious practices of 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, who worship on Fridays.)

Bible Prophecy Fulfilled?

The attempt to destroy the Sabbath is nothing new. Students of the Bible know historically who did indeed “change times and law” (Daniel 7:25) while also recognizing this verse as a prophecy that will occur again in the near future, given its counterpart in Revelation 13.

Those who have studied these prophecies realize that a lot more than a newspaper opinion piece will be needed for the calendar to be changed and for the Sabbath to be attacked. But while we don’t know when such an attack is coming, the Bible tells us that it certainly will come.

Do you know what the Bible teaches about the Sabbath in these last days? What Bible prophecy says about these events is vital to your survival during the end times and beyond. Check out the Bible study, “The ‘Change’ of the Law” to discover more. Learn the beautiful significance of the Sabbath in “The Lost Day of History, Part 2,” which is available online, free of charge.

And Pastor Joe Crews’ book The Beast, the Dragon, and the Woman features an entire chapter on the attempt to change the Sabbath. Get informed about why the Sabbath matters—today and to you!

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