Columbus Day and the Last Great Day

First landing of Columbus on the shores of the...
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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!

10 thoughts on “Columbus Day and the Last Great Day

  1. Thomas

    Was Friday, October 12 1492 the Last Great Day or the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles?

    Otherwise, I agree that it seems significant that the New World was re-discovered at this time of year 🙂

  2. Thanks for asking, as I did the calculation rather quickly.

    Here’s what I did and where I may have made a mistake… I used the Molad Tishri of 9/22/108 (admittedly, I could have probably picked an easier reference to calculate with!). Molad Tishri of 1492 ends up being 505,505 days later, 9/21/1492, with none of the four dechiyot (postponements) applying. Then, if 9/22/1492 is Tishri 1, the Last Great Day (Tishri 22) would be 10/12/1492.

    The mistake could lie in the fact that the calculation means the Last Great Day would have begun on sundown that day, meaning that you are correct: Columbus would have stepped foot in the New World during the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, and that sundown that day would have begun the Last Great Day.

    That may not be my only mistake. Anyone want to test it with a different reference Molad Tishri?

  3. texasborn

    Where can I get one of those “Gregorian & Proleptic Julian” Calendars that gives dates and days of the week back to January 1, 1AD? Are they currently being sold at Wal-Mart, somewhere else, or only at the eBay store of one Wallace G. Smith (eBay Power Seller extraordinaire)?

  4. Thomas

    Actually, you look good for all the hard bits. Molad of Tishri for 1492 was Friday 21 Sept. 19 hrs and 1011 parts. Postponement rules 1 and2 apply so Trumpets, 1 Tishri, was on the following day: Sabbath 22 Sept. 1492 (Kossey, The Hebrew Calendar: A Mathematical Introduction).

    Last Great Day, Tishri 22, is 21 days later so 22 Sept. + 21 days = 43 Sept. a.k.a 13 October 1492 (Sabbath beginning Friday sundown).

    From the description of your working the error is in the addition of the 21 days to 22 Sept. 🙂
    Your calculation of the molad and Trumpets (the hard bits) check out.

    When I was researching Biblical history I got to the point where I could do the calculation with pen and paper in about 7 minutes, but by then the novelty had well and truly worn off which was when I wrote a Java application to do it for me back in 2005.

    The molad of Tishri 108 AD is a weird reference point. Can’t think of the significance of the date off the top of my head, but if you know it you know it 🙂

  5. Thanks, fellows! I added an edit above to point any wayward readers down here to the comments for the full scoop. I’ve always wanted to write a VBA program that would do that calc for me, but I’ve never taken the time. Actually, I’ve been more interested in creating an Excel spreadsheet that would show the interested user the “guts” of their calculation step by step, and I might just do that one day.

    As for 108AD being a weird reference, you bet! 🙂 In my haste, I sort of grabbed the first one I came across, and thought, “Really?” But, the goofiness of the choice made it all the more fun.

    If I find some time (unlikely), I will edit the above entry to reflect the actual day. Until then, I will simply let the current edit point readers down here to my wise commenters. 🙂 Have a nice 518th Gregorian/Julian anniversary of the Last Great Day of 1492 tomorrow!

  6. Hm. I have a computer program for DOS, HOLY DAY CALENDAR II, which was developed by someone in the Worldwide Church of God years ago. According to it, Molad Tishri in 1492 was on Friday, September 21, 19 hrs., 1012 parts. It reckons the Last Great Day on Sabbath, October 13 (beginning, of course, at sunset on October 12).

    While someone along the way pointed out to me errors in how it calculated some of the Holy Days during Jesus’ lifetime (as listed in Frederick R. Coulter’s A HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS) , I’ve yet to find any problems after 142 AD, which is in a critical period for the reckoning of the common/leap year cycle (we’ve reckoned that year as when it needed to be shifted by one year within a 19-year period).

  7. Thanks, rakkav. Your program seems to agree with what the others found. I think it’s pretty clear, now, that the LGD of 1492 began at sundown on October 12, making the day portion of October 13 the LGD. However, you and Thomas do seem to differ by an entire part (about 3 seconds). Clearly someone needs to repent.

  8. And I’d check it by hand if I really wanted to be annoying, but for the present, I’ll leave that hair-splitting to the scribes and Pharisees [who incidentally didn’t use a calculated calendar – the priests did, and rightly so] and focus on the weightier matters of the law (and also my paying work). 😀

  9. Understood! But for the record, my hand calculation matched Thomas’. I used a 6PM basis instead of a midnight basis, but I got the same result: a molad at 1 hr (19 hrs, midnight reckoning) 1011 parts, not 1012 parts.

    So, I think you’ve added a part and need to meditate on Deuteronomy 12:32. 🙂

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