Saturday, March 10, 2012

When you “spring ahead” tonight (in the United States—March 25 in the U.K.; April 1 in ANZ), will you be compromising your Christian faith?

Think carefully before answering. 

Many Christian believers bristle at the thought of changing their clocks twice a year, even if they can’t quite articulate why.  Perhaps its written on our hearts: If the God of the Universe created time, who are we to fiddle with it—if only semi-annually?  There’s just something....“unright” about the whole thing.

While some historically-minded readers will have immediately thought they have identified the culprit in the form of that saucy Enlightenment deist, Ben Franklin, the roots of the ungodly desire to manipulate time long predate our Philly-based founding father, who advocated as early as 1784 for a form of Daylight Savings Time.

First Easter, now this? Ancient pagan deity
Inana, a.k.a. Ishtar.  Most publicly-available
images of this figure cannot be shown on a
Christian-oriented web site
“If Adam and Eve had clocks in the Garden of Eden, they would have been scrambling to set them back within minutes of eating the forbidden fruit,” says Kent Hovind, a 59-year-old young-Earth creationist, King James–only activist, and entrepreneur-gone-wild, who has had a lot of time to think about time as he is currently doing time in a federal prison in Colorado for tax evasion. “It’s just unnatural, and it speaks to the depravity of man: the urge to change one’s clocks is essentially an idolatrous one.”

Though clocks were not to be found in Eden, it wasn’t long out of the box that conniving potentates were eyeing sun dials and other primitive time-keeping devices with nefarious purposes in mind.  In the Ancient Near East, King Nabunasir of Mesopotamia gained fame and power for solving a vexing problem: the sliding of the calendar due to inconsistencies between the solar year and the lunar calendar then in use.  Nabunasir’s brain child was the addition of seven “intercalary” months within every cycle of 19 years, thus rectifying the problem. 

However, little known is how recent discoveries prove that Nabunasir was much more fond of tampering with the progression of time than historians previously realized.  An excavation at Uruk by English archeologist W.K. Loftus in 1850 has been the source of valuable information about ancient Babylonian civilization for nearly two centuries.  However, a cache of documents from the royal archives unearthed in the dig were misplaced until just a few years ago, in 2009.

Recently-translated manuscripts reveal that King Nabunasir attempted to implement an ancient version of Daylight Savings Time.  “It won’t really do anything to improve productivity or the well-being of my subjects,” the King reportedly told his prime minister.  “But it will increase our standing with that fertility goddess—what’s her name?  She’ll get a kick out of it.”

"Time, times, and the dividing of time."  This is
not rocket science, folks: it's Biblical prophecy.
 The reference was to currying the favor of Inana, a rather innocuous-sounding deity—that is, until she is identified by the more familiar, Akkadian name of Ishtar.  That’s right, the same Ancient Near East deity that messed us up with all that nefarious Easter garbage also can be found at the end of the rabbit trail outlining the backstory of Daylight Savings Time.

Richmond, Indiana–based prophecy expert Irvin Baxter, a sought-after conference speaker and host of both a daily radio program and a weekly television show on TBN, claims that the Biblical warrant against Daylight Savings Time makes all of this “ancient history talk” superfluous. “We read in Daniel 7:19, ‘And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.’  I don’t know how you can read that with a straight face and not see the introduction of Daylight Savings Time as part of the engine that’s driving End Times events.”

In these Last Days, conscientious Christians must make a difficult choice about whether to follow Babylon, or to change their clocks.   Indeed the stakes are high for all those who are not self-employed or retired.  Generally, though, pastors have been silent on the issue.  But not all.  Pastor Tim Bayly of Clearnote Fellowship in Bloomington, Indiana, a Reformed congregation known for its strong counter-cultural stances, has yet to preach directly on the issue from the pulpit; however, that’s not to say that the issue hasn’t come up in the course of pastoral counseling.  “I have people come to me and they ask me whether they should spring forward and change their clocks. And I just look at them. And I say: That’s not my decision to make but here are some principles; and I would hope —that by the time I was done they would finally have the freedom to make a decision.”

The fact that both Tim Bayly and Irvin Baxter hail from Indiana is of no small signficance.  For nearly a century, 77 of the state’s 92 counties resisted the practice of Daylight Savings Time. Then, in 2006, the state legislature finally voted to make DST a statewide practice. Naturally, some saw the change in legislation as a sign of the End Times. This, coupled with the fact that “Indiana” is almost the same as “Inana,” the aforementioned Mesopotamian deity otherwise known as Ishtar, is unnerving to prophecy-savvy Hoosiers.

Elsewhere in the U.S., however, the issue of Daylight Savings Time’s unsavory origins is flying below the radar screen in most places. In a time when almost anything unpalatable on the Evangelical horizon can be blamed on corrupt Bible translations, Peter Ruckman, the 91-year-old founder of the Pensacola Bible Insitute and a staunch King James–only activist, isn’t missing a beat. He points to ignorance of Daylight Savings Time’s origins as just another example of the superiority of the King James translation. “This is why the King James translation is so important.  It’s the only translation that faithfully renders the concept of Daylight’s Savings Time.” 

Dr. James White of the Dividing Line, which airs most
Tuesdays at 11 a.m. and Thursdays at 4 p.m.:
 Mountain STANDARD Time.
That's STANDARD Time.  Got it?
Apologist James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries—an erstwhile debate opponent of Ruckman’s—also rejects Daylight Savings Time, but not because of its pagan origins—it’s because he lives in Arizona.  “We don’t mess with our clocks,” he said.  “The rest of the world can do it, that’s fine.  But we choose to remain consistent. And in this regard, we’re like Athanasius—contra mundum.”

Arizona does not practice Daylight Savings Time, mainly because of the intense heat which characterizes its summers, springs, and autumns.  Additionally, the state lies at a sufficiently low latitude as to not experience great variation in sunrise and sunset times throughout the year; this is why Hawaii, which lies in the tropics, also passes on DST. 

Bronwyn Turnbull is Founder and CEO of the Clockman on the Wall Fellowship of Discerning Christian Bloggers.  She lived in Indiana for four years in the 1990s, where she enjoyed the freedom of not having to change her clocks.  You can contact Mrs. Turnbull at

1 comment: