I freely admit that I did not know today was Columbus Day (or Columbus Day Observed, to be specific). My enlightenment came when I found I could not complete a bank transaction on the phone this morning because of “the holiday.” The pleasant, recorded voice was apparently not designed to respond to the verbal prompt, “What holiday? This is an outrage, Recorded Voice Man!” so I was left with no choice but to head to the Internet to Google what was going on. (How sad that I did not think to elevate my eyes approximately 45° where I would have seen it on my wall calendar.)
Actually, although today is “Columbus Day Observed,” tomorrow–October 12–is actually Columbus Day, itself. What does the day celebrate? It is the day Columbus stepped foot onto the soil of the New World: October 12, 1492.
Which then got me to thinking. I recall Mr. John Ogwyn saying something about Columbus Day many years ago and decided to check it out for myself. Sure enough, as best as I can tell with some quick back-of-the-envelope (OK, back-of-the-spreadsheet) calculation it appears he was right: October 12, 1492, the day Columbus arrived in the New World, was the Last Great Day — the eighth day Holy Day after the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles that year (cf. Lev. 23:36, 39; John 7:37). [EDIT, 10/12/2010 AM: See comments, below. I am off and the Last Great Day began at sundown on 10/12/1492, meaning that Columbus arrived on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. You’ve got to be careful with those envelope backs!]
(Technical note: You can’t trust some of the automatic Internet Hebrew Calendar calculators for that calculation, because they do not always account for the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century. [EDIT: See comments below for some recommendations.] Thankfully, some of them mention this, though some do not. Instead, I used my very own handmade (OK, spreadsheet-made) “Gregorian & Proleptic Julian” Calendar that gives dates and days of the week back to January 1, 1AD. Doesn’t everyone have one of those?)
The analogy to be drawn is just too tempting, isn’t it? The Last Great Day pictures a time when all of humanity who never knew and understood God’s truth, great and small, will rise from the grave and have their minds opened to things that had previously been “behind a veil” and beyond comprehension. To them, it will be as though a whole new world is stretching out before them. And on the Last Great Day in 1492, Christopher Columbus stepped foot onto a quite literal New World. Neat, huh? [EDIT: Again, as my sharp-eyed calculating commenters mention, below, the Last Great Day was the next day, October 13. The 12th was the final day of the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day started that evening at sundown.]
Just a little something to ponder as you realize the bank is closed and you can’t cash your check. Happy Roman-calendar anniversary of the Last Great Day of 1492!