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The Lunar Sabbath
As we see the end of the age approach, we understand as the symbolic wheat grows, there will also be weeds growing up, sown by Satan, which will try to choke out the true teachings and doctrines of Yahweh’s Word. One such doctrine, which is a reintroduction to an ancient Babylonian teaching of counting weeks from the new moon cyclical pattern, is one which attacks various areas of correct teachings in Scripture.
The initial premise of counting numbers appears to be sound, but as one investigates and learns how it does damage to other areas of Scriptural truth, it becomes all too clear how wrong and dangerous it is.
One of the first things pointed out to people are the dates of the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th. Those promoting this wandering weekly Sabbath boldly say, “Show us another day in Scripture, other than these dates we give for the weekly Sabbath!”
The first thing that comes to mind is the seventh day, as in, “Keep the seventh day holy.”
First, we need to go back to the beginning and take a look at the creation week. After all, if the weekly Sabbath is determined by each new moon, then the evidence for such a doctrine should be clear from the creation week in which the 7th day Sabbath was set apart from the other days of the week.
Back to the Beginning
In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of Elohim was moving over the surface of the waters. Then Elohim said, “Let there be light;" and there was light. Elohim saw that the light was good; and Elohim separated the light from the darkness. Elohim called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day, Genesis 1:1-5. (NASB used throughout, unless otherwise noted).
Light molecules, photons, are said by some scientists to be the first active molecules in creation. What has also been recently promoted is the idea of dark matter, something that can’t be seen, but has been proven to make up a large portion of the universe.
We see that Elohim separated the light from the darkness, which can be related in a figurative sense as well in describing good and evil.
At the very end of verse 5 we read, “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Here, the word for day, in context, literally means a 24-hour period. And before the sun and moon were created, this was to be the pattern of a day, evening (night) and morning, i.e., daylight, as we see in a 12 hour period.
Greater Light and Lesser Light
Then Elohim said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Elohim made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. Elohim placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and Elohim saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day, Genesis 1:14-19.
The words for day and night are 12 hour periods, even though there is one plural word for days, which means 24-hour days, and also the 4th day is mentioned, which is a 24-hour day.
There is the sun and moon, but it should be noted the moon only shows its light from the sun.
Thus says Yahweh, Who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; Yahweh of hosts is His name, Jeremiah 31:35.
Again, we see, in describing a day, we have two 12-hour periods making one day, and that it is the sun and the moon that identify a regular 24-hour day for us today. This sun and moon, however, did not exist on day one or even on day two, but rather was created on day 4, as we are told by the Creator of the Universe.
The reason for bringing this up is because there is a belief among the Lunar Sabbath advocates that the new moon established the weekly pattern. But, as we’ve seen, it is Yahweh that has established the weekly seven day pattern from creation.
Scripture Says, The 7th Day
By the seventh day Elohim completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which Elohim had created and made, Genesis 2:2-3.
On what day did He say He created the sun and moon?
An agnostic man interviewed for his book on biblical law keeping, who trained himself to keep the instructions, says he still keeps the 7th day Sabbath. He found it very beneficial.
Science also shows that a 7th day Sabbath is helpful for man and is a natural cycle for our bodies to rest every 7th day. This means working 6 days and resting on the 7th. Does this mean it includes the moon?
Now Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you,” Exodus 12:1-2.
Months beget months. Notice it doesn’t say months beget weeks. The new moons give us the months, but the sun tells us the days as the sunset identifies when a day ends and starts. Weeks are based on days and not months. The pattern we’ve been shown from creation has been unbroken.
The history books show both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews today keep the same (unchanged) weekly Sabbath from the time of Messiah. Yahshua never had a problem with them keeping the 7th Day as the Sabbath. He only had problems with the many rules they heaped upon it.
The other thing that is missing is an uprising or a great debate among Jews, or anyone else for that matter, showing the idea that the weekly Sabbath as is kept in Israel today was anything other than the weekly pattern kept from the Messiah’s time.
Another main point which the Lunar Sabbath Doctrine advocates promote is all the times the new moon is mentioned as a Sabbath. But when we look at these Scriptures in context, there is not one promoting the idea that the new moon is a Sabbath. Nor do we see anything saying, let alone Yahweh saying, “One shall keep the weekly count from each new moon.”
What was important in ancient Israel was that the physical sacrifices were done on the new moon days.
Then at the beginning of each of your months you shall present a burnt offering to Yahweh: two bulls and one ram, seven male lambs one year old without defect, Numbers 28:11.
Besides the burnt offering of the new moon and its grain offering, and the continual burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to their ordinance, for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to Yahweh, Numbers 29:6.
Sacrifices, not days of rest, we are told. But, what about the Scriptures where the new moons and Sabbaths are both listed? There is always an “and” or another connector word, in between. Notice:
Thus says Yahweh ELOHIM, “The gate of the inner court facing east shall be shut the six working days; but it shall be opened on the sabbath day and opened on the day of the new moon. The prince shall enter by way of the porch of the gate from outside and stand by the post of the gate. Then the priests shall provide his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate and then go out; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening. The people of the land shall also worship at the doorway of that gate before Yahweh on the sabbaths and on the new moons,” Ezekiel 46:1-3.
Any time you offer sacrifices to Yahweh, you are essentially worshipping Him, giving praise and respect. This is a prophecy for the coming Kingdom in which the physical people will give sacrifices and pay their respects to Yahweh and praise Him for their very lives. We do believe these are the ones who were saved out of the tribulation, and they will have much to be thankful for, having come out of that terrible time alive.
In times past, the people were not always thankful.
When will the new moon be over, so that we may sell grain, and the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, to make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, and to cheat with dishonest scales, Amos 8:5.
Sacrifices were commanded on new moons, no question about it. But that doesn’t make new moons Sabbaths.
Also in the day of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, and on the first days of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be as a reminder of you before your Elohim. I am Yahweh your Elohim, Numbers 10:10.
The Day of Trumpets mentioned elsewhere in Scripture would be the only Sabbath (High Sabbath) new moon that Scripture indicates. And, it is a day in which the trumpet is blown, and it was also blown over the other sacrifices, as is mentioned here in the Scripture above.
Work on New Moon Day
One of the questions that comes to mind when thinking about the Lunar Sabbath Doctrine is: Would Yahweh command work to be done, such as a census, on a Sabbath day?
Then Yahweh spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, every male, head by head. From twenty years old and upward, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel, you and Aaron shall number them by their armies. With you, moreover, there shall be a man of each tribe, each one head of his father’s household,” Numbers 1:1-4.
And they assembled all the congregation together on the first of the second month. Then they registered by ancestry in their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, head by head, Numbers 1:18.
In this, it could be argued that they had to come to offer sacrifices anyway. However, the numbers are somewhat staggering and would have not been any kind of rest for the people to have done it.
Here are the numbers broken down by each Israelite tribe: Reuben, 46,500; Simeon, 59,300; Gad, 45,650; Judah, 74,600; Issachar, 54,400; Zebulun, 57,400; Ephraim, 40,500; Manasseh, 32,200; Benjamin, 35,400; Dan, 62,700; Asher, 41,500; and Naphtali, 53,400.
So all the numbered men of the sons of Israel by their fathers’ households, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war in Israel, even all the numbered men were 603,550, Numbers 1:45–46.
This number also agrees with the Exodus account stating that 600,000 men, along with their families and numerous livestock, went forth from Egypt.
Would Ezra be moved to make travel plans on the Sabbath day?
For on the first of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of his Elohim was upon him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of Yahweh and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel, Ezra 7:9-10.
It doesn’t make any sense that Ezra, whose character NEVER comes into question in Scripture and who studied to know the law of Yahweh, would then make plans not to rest on the Sabbath days.
The new moon is not a Sabbath, weekly or otherwise.
In the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of Yahweh came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying... Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the camp, Haggai 1:1, 8 .
Scripture tells us Yahweh doesn’t change and we know that He isn’t going to condemn someone gathering wood on a Sabbath and then turn around and tell one of His servants to gather wood on a Sabbath. Nor is Yahweh going to have something laborious such as putting up the tabernacle in the wilderness. It was a major undertaking.
Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting,” Exodus 40:1-2.
After this, there is a lengthy list of items to work on:
1. You shall place the ark of the testimony there;
2. You shall screen the ark with the veil;
3. You shall bring in the table and arrange what belongs on it;
4. You shall bring in the lampstand and mount its lamps;
5. You shall set the golden altar of incense before the ark of the testimony, set up the veil for the doorway to the tabernacle;
6. You shall set the altar of burnt offering in front of the doorway of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting;
7. You shall set the laver between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it;
8. You shall set up the court all around and hang up the veil for the gateway of the court;
9. You shall take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and you shall consecrate it and all its furnishings;
10. You shall anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils;
11. You shall anoint the laver and its stand, and consecrate it; and
12. You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting and wash them with water.
What do we find in the account after all this work was to be done?
Thus Moses did; according to all that Yahweh had commanded him, so he did. Now in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected. Moses erected the tabernacle and laid its sockets, and set up its boards, and inserted its bars and erected its pillars. He spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent on top of it, just as Yahweh had commanded Moses, Exodus 40:16– 19.
Now, the argument that Lunar Sabbatarians might bring up is that the Word says “on the first day of the month,” which is not really the first day but rather the first working day, they might say, and do say, when speaking of the new moon not being counted.
We have to understand that the command for the 7th day Sabbath is a singular command of the weekly pattern which repeats itself over and over again, unending. When Scripture says 7 and man says 8 because we are told that we are not to count the new moon, what you have is a major problem, and men basically saying, “Yahweh cannot count.”
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of Yahweh your Elohim; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the sabbath day and made it holy, Exodus 20:8–11.
With all the emphasis and minute details on the 7th day Sabbath provided, would Yahweh neglect such an important point of clarifying the new moon as a designated Sabbath or the start of the weekly pattern, if it were true? As we’ve already seen, Yahweh tells us months beget months, not weeks.
The following are dates in Scripture, in which these Lunar or Wandering Sabbath Keepers point out and proclaim as proof for their new moon Sabbath. They are the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th. We see that 12 months x 29 days = 348. An actual lunar year, based on the 29 1⁄2 -30 lunar calendar, is 354 and longer depending on if Yahweh allows a month to be added to keep the seasons in their proper order of the initial spring or new year growth.
A Closer Look
“This unit of time, consisting of seven days, accords approximately with the moon’s orbit. But as the week does not necessarily begin on the day of the new moon, it is not affected by inconsistencies in relation to the positions of the moon during the month. In contrast to this the Babylonian and Assyrian week began on the first day of the month. The week of seven days was thus completely independent of the month...” --The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land (3rd ed.).
Look at this year’s (2011) calendar for the month of October. The weeks fall out according to what the Lunar Sabbath keepers follow - the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th Sabbath pattern they’ve come up with, which we have already seen goes back to Babylonian times.
It’s the same thing we see with some today who use the Vernal Equinox, which also goes back to pagan reckoning of time out of Babylon. The problem with this type of reckoning, however, is it doesn’t work.
A problem always occurs when the new moon shows on the 30th day, rather than on the 29th. Even with other Lunar Sabbatarians, who use a different count, the weeks within a lunar month won’t equal out exactly. It’s the same kind of confusion we see within ancient pagan societies.
“...in Mesopotamia the 7th, 14th, 19th, 21st and 28th days of each month were regarded by some as unlucky. It seems likely that the Israelite Sabbath was introduced as a deliberate counterblast to this lunar-regulated cycle. The Sabbath was quite independent of the phases of the moon, and far from being unlucky, was blessed and sanctified by the Creator.” -Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 1, (page 35).
The counting seems to make more sense than the so-called 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th Sabbath pattern, but neither works.
Doesn’t the May 2011 calendar month look cleaner than October’s? The first four weeks fall exactly as they should, until you take a look at the end with the three extra days.
If the new moon is not counted, or even if it were, you would still not be able to work out this system mathematically. The moon was to be observed, but the week was to becounted1,2,3,4,5,6,and7, just as we have already seen with the creation account.
The mathematics of trying to divide a 29 (or 30) day month evenly by 7 is like trying to stick a square peg into a round hole. It just doesn’t work. These calendars show that the weekly pattern is broken when trying to mathematically fix the weekly Sabbath using a lunar count.
“The binding of Israel’s observance to a mathematical calculation, every seventh day, rather than to observance of lunar phases helped to exclude worship of heavenly bodies as deities...In Babylonia every seventh day was regarded as an inauspicious day, but Israel’s Sabbath was not so regarded; rather, it was a day of rest and religious assembly.” -The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (page 897).
As pointed out in previous articles, not even the manipulation of man with the calendar mathematical calculations going from the Julian to the Gregorian calendars has changed the weekly pattern. And in just about all languages, the 7th day is worded as the Sabbath on their calendars. Even if the name of the days are changed, the 7th day is called Saturn’s day, or what we call Saturday and the pattern remains unchanged.
A few years back there was a nice couple who came to the Feast of Tabernacles and requested a special meeting with the elders and deacons. They then proclaimed that they were there because they felt closer in line with us than with any other assembly, and agreed with all that we were teaching.
We welcomed them and they were there for at least a day, but then it became known that they were adherents to the Lunar Sabbath Doctrine.
The whole thing is suspicious now, because of the following eight areas, interestingly enough, of disagreement in Scripture that we have with the Lunar Sabbath Keepers.
1. Three days & three nights=72 hours;
2. Blowing of Trumpets;
3. Daniel: prophecy of changing times, days, etc.;
4. 14th vs. 15th;
5. Night to be much observed;
6. First visible light of the new moon;
7. Hebrew/Aramaic origins of the N.T.; and
8. Pentecost count of 50.
1. Three days & three nights=72 hours
They believe that the Messiah was killed the day before the weekly Sabbath and claim that two Sabbaths were not involved in close proximity. Why? Because they don’t want to show another date other than the 8th, 15th, 22, or 29th for a Sabbath. But, the fact is, Sabbaths are shown on other days and sometimes Feast days (High Days, seven in total) are close to the weekly Sabbath. A correct dating of the weekly Sabbath in the book of John, in at least a couple of different areas, but one in particular, needs to be looked at closely as it shows clearly the weekly Sabbath falls in the midst of the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Yahshua, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Yahshua had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him, John 12:1–2.
There are two key things to look at here. One is that it says there were “six days before the Passover,” and the other is it says, “they made Him a supper there.”
Yahshua, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Yahshua had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him, John 12:1–2.
The wording is saying “dinner,” which a person would have in “the evening,” Strong’s #1173.
Let’s look at the following Gregorian calendar month, the month of June 2011. It happens to be in line with the Passover month of March or April of Messiah’s time, depending on when Abib was.
Here we’re assuming it was a 30 day month. We’ve also moved the new moon back a couple of days because we need to have it positioned according to where the count would have started. While the weekly Sabbath is an Appointed Time, it is not one of the Annual Appointed Times. There is a difference.
Notice that right down the middle of the calendar is the 8th, 15th, 22, and 29th, days. But Passover is on the 14th, not the 15th.
Now, while the 15th is a High Day Sabbath, if you count either 36-hours as some understand the resurrection timing or more properly a 72-hour period, you get out of synch with the rest of Scripture. The following is figuring a 72-hour (three days and three nights) pattern.
What happens when we figure a 36 hour period?
How does one explain the 1st day of the week was the 17th at the Messiah’s time, if indeed the 15th is a weekly Sabbath? The only way is to say Yahshua was in the tomb for 24 hours. We have never heard anyone proclaiming Yahshua was only in the tomb for one day, 24 hours. Have you?
Let’s look at the 72 hour period again to see where the 1st day of the week is.
Here we have the first day of the week falling properly, according to the biblical way of reckoning a 24-hour day, from sunset to sunset. The first day of the week is what we would call Sunday, right after sunset on the 7th day.
There is a lot more that could be shown, but, at this point, we’ll recommend the following mini-studies and booklet for further review: “He Arose, But When?”, “When Does a Day Begin?”, and “Why Passover is NOT a High Day.”
2. Blowing of Trumpets
As we’ve looked at in past articles, the Day of Trumpets in the Hebrew is Yom Teruah, which literally means, Day of Blowing or Shouting. We’ve seen that it was a day to remember; it was a day to remember battles in which Yahweh gave victory, such as the battle of Jericho:
So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city, Joshua 6:20.
They blew the trumpet, they shouted, and Yahweh gave them victory.
They had marched around the city for 7 days; that’s all it says. We are not told that the day after was the weekly 7th day Sabbath, or 8th day Sabbath as the Lunar Sabbath doctrine keepers would have us think. This area of Scripture is not proof, but conjecture, for the lunar Sabbath doctrine. The weekly Sabbath here could have been any of the 7 days mentioned. The New Testament remembers the account and states plainly in Hebrews 11:30, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.” Nothing more and nothing less.
We’ve made the point in the past that the Day of Trumpets is a day of remembrance of all the things Yahweh has done and will do for us, like the time when His Son is coming with a trumpet shout. So we see prophetic significance in the Day of Trumpets, as well.
Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation,” Leviticus 23:24.
What has been proposed is this day of blowing would specifically be for the remembrance of the new moon, as a day of worship, and that the 7th day is actually the 8th day event. The book of Job is pointed to:
Where wast thou when I founded earth? Declare, if thou hast known understanding. Who placed its measures—if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched out upon it a line? On what have its sockets been sunk? Or who hath cast its corner-stone? In the singing together of stars of morning, and all sons of Elohim shout for joy, Job 38:4–7 (YLT).
While the word for shout is there, very little else is given to conclude that the new moon is what the Day of Trumpets is in remembrance of.
In all fairness, we can thank Yahweh and remember what He has done for us even at the beginning of creation. After all, we ourselves are part of the creation that was done at that time.
3. Daniel: prophecy of changing times, days, etc.
They claim that the 7th day weekly pattern that we have today is pagan and was prophesied to have happened years ago through Daniel:
He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time, Daniel 7:25
We’ve pointed out in the past that “he will intend” does not mean it will happen. It means the man of sin will attempt to make changes and alterations in times and law. The wording, "he will intend," literally has the meaning of, "he will try" or, "he will plan." But, as we know, plans don't always work out.
Another important point is that this is speaking of the time of tribulation. Scriptures do oftentimes point to specific times.
The following, for example, is another verse used to try to prove the point that Saturday (or Saturn’s day) is fulfillment of Scripture, when in reality it is just a pagan name given to the scriptural 7th day of the week.
And He has violently treated His tabernacle like a garden booth; He has destroyed His appointed meeting place. Yahweh has caused to be forgotten the appointed feast and sabbath in Zion, and He has despised king and priest In the indignation of His anger, Lamentations 2:6.
Well, there you have it. We’ve forgotten the Sabbaths and Appointed Feasts. Why then does it say Zion, which is another word pointing to Jerusalem?
Lamentations is most likely written by Jeremiah, who is the one who prophesied about Babylon coming in and taking Judah captive for 70 years. It was the timing of the number of land Sabbaths (or Sabbaticals) Judah failed to obey.
The point, however, is that this took place (past tense). This is not a Scripture we find prophetic duality in. Weekly Sabbaths and observance of Feasts in Jerusalem did cease to occur because the Temple was desecrated. Yahweh caused it to happen and both the Bible and archeology stand as witnesses to this fact. It is not proof for the New Moon Sabbath Doctrine.
|4. 14th vs. 15th
Speaking about the timing for Passover, they teach that “Ben Ha Arbayim” means 3pm in the afternoon. Many scholars and translators disagree, as the following translations show: dusk (JSP,1917); twilight (TNK 1985, NAU, ESV 2001, NJB, NIB, NIV, NKJ, Berkley); between the evenings (YLT 1862/1898, Ferrar Fenton); between the two evenings (Darby’s) sunset and dark (Moffatt). The wording ben ha arbayim literally means, in Hebrew, “son of the evenings.”
It does help to know what the Hebrew words are for the timing throughout a 24-hour day. The following chart may help give clarification.
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening, Exodus 12:18.
Knowing the timing of Passover and when the 15th starts, that is at the end of the 14th, we see the following calendar month of April 2011 showing the days properly laid out.
Those promoting the New Moon Sabbath Doctrine admit that the 21st is a High Sabbath, but they point to the following Scripture for evidence that the seventh day spoken of here is actually the 22nd day from the New Moon:
For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to Yahweh. Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders, Exodus 13:6–7.
How can that be? They actually just point out verse 6, but verse 7 is included here. In context, does it say what they say it says? Or, rather, do we see Yahweh explaining that the 7th day of the Feast is a High Day when we compare it to other Scripture? (See Exodus 12:16, verse 14-20 speak of the seven Days of Unleavened Bread only. Passover is the day before, the 14th, at the beginning.)
|The following is the same calendar month of April, showing in red the seven Days of Unleavened Bread, but with their count from the new moon.|
Again, is Yahweh saying the 22nd is the 7th day? It’s twisting the Scriptures to say such a thing. Whether you count the first day of the new moon or not, it doesn’t work.
According to the Lunar Sabbath advocates, the weekly Sabbath can fall on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or any other day of the week.
The weekly pattern, however, does not change and is not somehow connected with the month. The only days connected with the month are the High Sabbaths and there are 7 of those throughout the
If the revolution of the moon about the earth came out even every 22 or 28 days, it would be much less of a stretch to come up with the New Moon Sabbath Doctrine. But we would still have to change a lot of teachings from Yahweh’s Word to make their teaching fit.
5. Night to be much observed
They don’t want the 14th emphasized as it takes away from the idea that the 15th is a constant and “unchanging” weekly Sabbath, and therefore the 8th is too, as well as the 22nd, and the 29th.
Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of Yahweh went out from the land of Egypt, Exodus 12:40–41.
"To the very day." What day was that? We’ve looked at this before in past messages and articles: Covenant cut on the 14th; Israelites released on the 14th; Yahshua killed on the 14th.
Messiah fulfills the sacrifice for the New Covenant; He also is the Passover sacrifice for us individually. It is also symbolic of being released from Egyptian bondage during the Passover time. It all fits, but on the 14th, not on the 15th.
One might think this would give credence for the 14th Lunar Sabbath Keeping doctrine to keep the count of 7, 14, 21, and 28 from each new moon. However, it doesn’t work because Passover is a sacrifice and a memorial type service. It is not one of the seven annual High Sabbaths. We have a mini-study on this called, Why the Passover is NOT a High Day. It also covers the subject of the Night to Be Much Observed. The only night to be observed was Passover and we keep it today as a memorial, once a year, with the emblems instituted in the New Covenant and not a physical sacrifice. Yahshua is our Sacrifice.
6. First visible light of the new moon
While considering the New Moon Sabbath teachings, it is baffling why they seem to try to count two new moon days in the book of 1st Samuel. Can there be two new moons? If one considers the astronomical moon, as a new moon, then possibly.
An astronomical new moon is a dark moon with no visible moon crescent at all. There can be as many as three nights when the moon is in a conjunction state when no visible light shows.
It turns out, though, that they are trying to cover for the extra days, since the month is not evenly divided into 7 day weeks, but rather follows a 29 to 30 day visible pattern.
There needs to be an explanation by the Lunar Sabbath keepers as to what to do with extra days of the month. They try to explain the example of David not eating with the king for two nights. Let’s take a look to see what is happening:
So David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I ought to sit down to eat with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening, 1 Samuel 20:5.
David knew that he had to stay away for at least two days, due to being expected the 2nd day, if he had missed the first. This was all to prove to Jonathon that Saul was out to kill David, even though Saul had not told Jonathon:
The king sat on his seat as usual, the seat by the wall; then Jonathan rose up and Abner sat down by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. Nevertheless Saul did not speak anything that day, for he thought, “It is an accident, he is not clean, surely he is not clean.” It came about the next day, the second day of the new moon, that David’s place was empty; so Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” Jonathan then answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem, for he said, ‘Please let me go, since our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. And now, if I have found favor in your sight, please let me get away that I may see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table,” 1 Samuel 20:25–29.
The attempt is sometimes made to equate two days here as two new moons, which could only be connected to the astronomical new moon theory. But, that is a wrong theory. The word for new moon in the Hebrew is derived from the root meaning of “light” or “white.” There is no light seen on the moon in the conjuctive state.
We have to understand that the 2nd day of the month was not a new moon nor was it just an extra worship day. So, what is it then?
Could it rather be an extension to allow one who is unclean to then eat of some of the sacrifices made, after offering the needed sacrifices? We know back at this time, with the Temple standing, one could be made ceremonially unclean for a number of reasons. One reason is found in Leviticus 15:16,
Now if a man has a seminal emission, he shall bathe all his body in water and be unclean until evening.
There are evidently some who would claim this section of Scripture shows the 30th day and the 1st day of the month being kept to work out the extra two days each 30th day month would end up with. But the verses themselves say 1st and 2nd day of the month, not the 29th and 30th or the 30th and the 1st day.
Both New Moon Conjunction believers and Lunar Sabbath keepers fail to understand this passage of Scripture. In keeping with a proper understanding, there was an extra day allowed for those that were ceremonially unclean.
The other thing we see here is the eating of sacrificial meat, just as the Passover was eaten by those offering the sacrifice. There were sacrificial meats which were eaten by those sacrificing, as long as they were ceremonially clean to be able to do so. Sacrifices were not always made by priests alone. (See the following: Gen. 4:4, 8:20, 22:13; Ex. 12:6, 24:5, Lev. 1:2, 3:12, etc.)
Again, notice the passage and what Saul thought the reason for David being absent the 1st night: “It is an accident, he is not clean, surely he is not clean.”
There were sacrifices done on new moon days, and clearly there had to be a second day allowed for those who were unclean the first night.
The king sat on his seat as usual, the seat by the wall; then Jonathan rose up and Abner sat down by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. Nevertheless Saul did not speak anything that day, for he thought, “It is an accident, he is not clean, surely he is not clean.” It came about the next day, the second day of the new moon, that David’s place was empty; so Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” (1 Samuel 20:25–27)
7. Hebrew/Aramaic origins of the New Testament
Adherents to the Lunar Sabbath Doctrine point to the Greek Septuagint as evidence for a 15th observance for the Wave Sheaf offering found in Leviticus 23:11. This has ramifications going into the New Testament, which many claim to be originally Greek, but as we have written about and spoken about before, they were most likely of Semitic Hebrew or Aramaic origin. Josephus, a 1st Century Jewish Scholar, wrote:
“For those of my own nation freely acknowledge that I far exceed them in the learning belonging to the Jews. I have also taken a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and understand the elements of the Greek language, although I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own tongue, that I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness: for our nation does not encourage those that learn the languages of many nations...”
The message of the evangel went to the Jews first and then to the Greeks. It is reasonable that translations occurred, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the original had to have been in Semitic form written by mostly uneducated Jews.
It even seemed like a strange idea to the Jews that Yahshua, Whom Scripture testifies did speak both Hebrew and Aramaic, might go and teach the Greeks.
The Jews then said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find Him? He is not intending to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks, is He?” (John 7:35)
For further evidence, there are, in fact, a number of texts which are clarified by going back to the Semitic language and checking against the Greek. Let’s look at just a couple of examples:
Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Yahweh, Matthew 19:24.
In the Aramaic New Testament, called the Peshita, the word translated for camel is “gamla” (gimel-mem-lamad-aleph). The word gamala means” heavy rope.” It appears that the translator didn’t
understand the definition of the word gamala.
Here we have two words that look the same, but have opposite meanings, which could certainly throw off a translator: The first word is Reshyana, meaning, "righteous." The second word is Rasheya, meaning “wicked.”
Here is a verse that needs correcting by going back to the Semitic language:
For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die, Romans 5:7.
Essentially, better renderings are gathered by looking back to that which is more original and therefore more accurate.
Again I say to you, it is easier for a heavy rope to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Yahweh, Matthew 19:24.
For one will hardly die for a wicked man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die, Romans 5:7.
Let’s now consider the following verse in the Greek: Leviticus 23:11, “and he shall lift up the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you. On the morrow of the first day the priest shall lift it up.” – The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament Translated into English, by L.C. L. Brenton.
Problem number one is they cover up the Father’s Name with a title of Kyrios which has been translated here as “the Lord.” Problem number two is they’ve eliminated the word Shabbat, that is, Sabbath, altogether.
Here is a translation from the oldest Semitic texts which predate the Greek Septuagint by hundreds of years. The Dead Sea Scrolls even go back a 1000 years earlier than the oldest Hebrew did, and they are letter for letter and word for word correct, including Yahweh’s Name being there unaltered:
Notice that Yahweh’s Name is not covered up and is completely clear in the Hebrew without vowel pointing which was used centuries after to cover it up. This was done because of the doctrine of Ineffability of the Name which is a manmade doctrine.
The argument by the adherents to the Lunar Sabbath Doctrine basically say the translators understood what they were doing and purposely removed the word Shabbat from the Greek so it would be made clear the day being spoken of was the day after the 15th, that is, the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (the 1st annual High Day).
The day after the 15th, according to the adherents of the Lunar Sabbath Doctrine, would be the 1st day of the working 6, leading to the 22nd day, which would be, in their understanding, the 7th day. This type of reasoning is not good exegetically, nor is it a good hermeneutical study. It is, however, Babylonian confusion.
This leads us into Pentecost and a more profound error of the Lunar Sabbath keepers trying to justify this strange and completely erroneous doctrine.
8. Pentecost count of 50
Pentecost is correctly understood to be counted from the day after the weekly Sabbath within the Days of Unleavened Bread. It is the word Shabbat (Strongs #7676), and in context is not to be confused with Shabathown (Strong #7677),
which points to High Sabbaths when used alone. Day of Trumpets, for example, is specifically referred to as a Shabathown.
In Leviticus 23:11, #7676 Shabbat is there and correctly understood as the weekly Sabbath.
You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to Yahweh, Leviticus 23:15-16.
It should be pointed out that all the Sabbath words here are in fact Shabbats, referring to the weekly Sabbaths.
Saying “seven complete Sabbaths” is saying seven complete weeks, 7 x 7, which we know is 49 days. It doesn’t say “seven rests completed.” It also adds we are to count to the fiftieth day by going to the day after the weekly Sabbath. This gives the count as 50. Pentecost always falls on the 1st day of the week.
Land Sabbaticals are similar to weekly Sabbaths, the evidence for when they are stays in a set cyclical pattern of 7. There are not some Sabbatical dates that are 3 or 5 years in duration. They are always in 7 year increments, just like the weekly Sabbath is.
You shall count seven weeks for yourself; you shall begin to count seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain, Deuteronomy 16:9.
While this doesn’t say “complete,” as in 7 days, it does refer to weeks. Pentecost, which does mean count 50 in the Greek, is also called Feast of Weeks. It’s called the Feast of Weeks because it is made up of seven complete weeks.
It has been promoted by Lunar Sabbath Doctrine advocates that you count seven Sabbath rests and then count 50 days. Sorry, no matter what kind of spin you put on it, Scripture does not teach such a duplicate count. Scripture equates the 50 with the seven complete weeks plus one day, not separate from it, nor in addition to it.
Further Study of Scripture
The idea has been presented, that, since the Israelites set up camp and rested on the 15th, this without question proves the Lunar Sabbath Doctrine.
However, if you look up Exodus 10:11-12, 33 it shows a 3 day journey bypassing the 22nd day. They did not stop on it to either camp nor rest. So why stop on the 15th to set up camp at other times?
One of the main reasons for setting up camp on the 15th would be that there would enough light to see at night with a fully illuminated moon. It would be as a large flashlight pointing down to the earth, to give light.
It was not proof of a Sabbath day on the 15th, three months in a row, which is so often pointed to. By the way, Joshua 4:19 says they also camped on the 10th day of the month.
Going back to David eating with the king shortly after in 1 Samuel 21:4-6, David and his men ate the showbread. He left on day 3 and went to Nob, which was less than 5 miles away and could have been there within hours. The showbread was sanctified on the Sabbath according to Leviticus 24:8-9. The showbread had just been replaced we’re told, placing the weekly Sabbath on the 4th or 5th day of the month.
There is also Paul. Paul related a trip which took the day after the last day of Unleavened Bread in Acts 20:6-7. The math is simple in this one. The question to ask is, “Do the days suggest a Lunar Sabbath count?” One will find they don’t.
In the Book of Numbers we find specific Sabbath sacrifices offered. Does Numbers 28:17-23, which shows the 15th, demand a Sabbath offering? This will take a bit more research, but the chapter is pretty much all one needs to answer the question.
Weekly 7th Day Sabbath Established
The weekly Sabbath dates do not fall on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, nor the 29th. This would include the other Lunar Sabbath doctrine dates of the 7th, 14th, 21st, or the 28th, which is based on a similar platform of counting from the new moon to establish weeks.
One final thought brought to our attention which we do find interesting. Back in early 1900s, this doctrine, though it goes all the way back to Babylon, had a bit of a following according the Anchor Bible Dictionary. And it evidently influenced some other resources, such as the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia and the Jewish Encyclopedia, which are quoted to try to prove the Lunar Sabbath position. What is missing in history, though, is any major or even minor debates. In the Tosefta, Talmud, Mishna writings perhaps? There has been nothing we’ve ever seen nor heard of, just silence on the matter.
Philo, a first century historian, is quoted to have divided up the moon in sections of seven and, therefore, he must have kept the Lunar Sabbath count, it is said. Philo, it turns out, liked the number 7 and related it in various ways to a number of things, even taking the human body and dividing it 7 ways. And while some of the Lunar Sabbath advocates emphasize that the moon was created before creation week, Philo says, Yahweh made the whole universe in one week. He himself mentions honoring the 7th day as the command states and refers to the set creation week. He kept the weekly Sabbath, but not according to a lunar count which would make the 7th day a wandering Sabbath.
If you thought there was trouble with an employer for keeping the set weekly Sabbath, try telling an employer you’re going to have to give them a new set of dates each month. Yahweh is not trying to destroy us or make it so difficult that we can’t make a living.
He does, however, expect us to study and know His Word, and to live by it. This would include honoring and keeping the 7 annual High Sabbaths in addition to the weekly 7th day Sabbath. It would not include determining the weekly count by the month, as the Babylonians did.
-Elder David Brett
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