Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

Have We Been Observing YEHOVAH’s Sabbath At the Wrong Time All These Years?

The centuries-encompassing debates, over which day of the week YEHOVAH God rested from His labor of recreating the earth and making holy time for mankind, have not abated. Most of professing Christianity claims Sunday is the day, while Jews and various of the Adventists and Churches of God claim YEHOVAH God set Saturday apart from the rest of the week. This article suggests that both parties are in error and that we have no way of knowing when YEHOVAH’s Sabbath day falls in our Gregorian calendar. The fact is, time has been lost! But YEHOVAH God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, has planted clues in His Word the Bible -- clues that those with an understanding mind can uncover and use to reinstate YEHOVAH’s TRUE SABBATH DAY!

 

by John D. Keyser

For hundreds of years a controversy has been raging between those who advocate a Sunday Sabbath and those who keep a Saturday Sabbath. Most people have been reared in a Sunday-observing world and, naturally, have taken Sunday observance for granted. Nostalgic memories of musty pews, church picnics, choirs and family togetherness are firmly lodged in the minds of millions. The idea of a different day for the Sabbath day strikes them as fanatical and absurd. Some people believe Saturday is the right day and insist that Saturday is the only day the Bible anywhere commands us to keep. They even go as far as saying that people are sinning -- that they have the “mark of the beast” and shall suffer the seven last plagues -- if they observe Sunday instead of keeping the seventh day on Saturday! To most Protestant Church Christians, these “Saturday keepers” are legalistic, ritualistic and are decidedly on the “fringe” of accepted mainstream religion -- out of step with the majority and perhaps a little strange!

Notes author Jonathan Brown:

In our day disputes between “Sabbatarians,” (Saturday sabbath) and “Lord’s Day” keepers are of such a variety that they now even include the theories of whether a “day” includes the “night” or dark hours where there is no sunlight; and whether sabbath begins at noon because noon is actually the “evening.” These arguments are all based upon the assumption that our current seven-day cycle is something which has always been with mankind. Indeed, the Seventh-Day churches fervently argue that Sunday through Saturday has run continuously from creation. However, just because we grew up with this cycle doesn’t mean it always existed (Keeping Yahweh’s Appointments. 1998, pp. 40-41).

Does the Bible anywhere establish Sunday as the Lord’s Day, or was Saturday given for the Jewish people only while Christians are commanded to keep Sunday as the Lord’s Day? Why all the confusion?

Has anybody ever stopped and asked: Is it just possible that both sides in this controversy could be wrong? How do we know the present weekly cycle is the same that YEHOVAH God established back in Genesis 1 and 2, and then re-revealed to the Israelites in Exodus 16 after they left Egypt for the Promised Land?

A Bold Assertion?

In a booklet first published by the Worldwide Church of God in 1952, this bold assertion is made:

Is it possible to know? YES! -- you can be sure -- you can PROVE -- which day of the week today, is the same seventh day God rested on, blessed, and set apart at Creation! Here is the PLAIN TRUTH -- seven separate proofs -- each conclusive and irrefutable. Yes, you can be SURE!

The author, Herbert W. Armstrong, goes on to say:

Granted, the Bible says the SEVENTH day is the SABBATH OF THE LORD THY GOD. Granted that God did, at creation, make the seventh day HOLY TIME, and that He has commanded us to KEEP it holy. But how can we know, today, WHICH day is the true seventh day God blessed and made holy at CREATION? Has time been lost? Has the calendar been CHANGED? (Has Time Been Lost, p. 5).

In the booklet, “Biblical Holy Days, Yesterday – Today -- Forever,” we read: “The seventh day is special to Yahweh and His chosen. It is a day we spend in close communion with Him. Because the Sabbath comes around every week, the Fourth Commandment is one of the most ignored and broken of all. Keeping any day other than the seventh is nowhere sanctified in the Bible. Sunday was brought into churchianity by the influence of pagan sun worshipers who observed ‘sun-day’ in honor of the sun deity. The Roman church hated anything ‘Jewish,’ and was more than happy to accomodate the pagans” (p. 12).

Reflects Herbert W. Armstrong: “Would God set apart a certain day, put His blessing on it (Genesis 2:1-3), make it HOLY TIME, command that it be KEPT HOLY FOREVER, and then let that holy time become so lost we cannot tell when to keep it? TIME LOST? If so, then you and I are LOST, for it is SIN to profane God’s Sabbath!” (Has Time Been Lost?, pp. 21-22 ).

These are valid questions and statements. But can we be sure, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the day of Saturday in our Roman (Gregorian) calendar is the SAME day that YEHOVAH God blessed in Genesis 2:3? And, is it the same day that YEHOVAH went to great lengths to reveal to the Israelites after the Exodus? Has time indeed been lost? How can we know? We need to be sure --our very life depends on it!

The Gregorian Calendar

The present Gregorian calendar, which is solar based, came into being in March of 1582 -- when Pope Gregory issued a brief in which he abolished the use of the ancient Julian calendar and replaced it with what became known as the Gregorian or New Style Calendar. The originator of the system adopted by Pope Gregory was Aloysius Lilius, or Luigi Lilio Ghiraldi, a learned astronomer and physician of Naples; but the individual who contributed the most toward giving the ecclesiastical calendar its present form was a man by the name of Clavius. He was charged with all the calculations necessary for its verification, and published in 1603 a great folio treatise of 800 pages explaining the new calendar's development.

The previous Julian calendar was founded on two suppositions that proved to be inaccurate -- namely that the year contains 365 1/4 days and that 235 lunations are exactly equal to 19 solar years. It could not, therefore, long continue to preserve its correspondence with the seasons, or to indicate the days of the new moons with the same accuracy. The Julian year was 11 minutes and 14 seconds longer than the solar year. This discrepancy accumulated until by 1582 the vernal equinox occurred ten days early and Church holidays did not occur in the appropriate seasons.

Explains Herbert W. Armstrong:

The Julian calendar was imperfect -- it inserted leap years too frequently. Back in 45 B.C. they supposed the year was exactly 365 1/4 days long, and to take care of the extra one-fourth day each year, added a day to the month of February every four years. But it was found later the year was 12 minutes and 14 seconds shorter than this. Consequently, by the time of Pope Gregory, the calendar had drifted TEN DAYS away from the seasons. The Spring equinox, consequently, fell on March 11th, instead of March 21st (ibid., p. 6).

Gregory's brief or decree dropped ten days from the Julian calendar and restored the beginning of the year to the same place in the seasons that it had occupied at the time of the council of Nicea in 325 A.D. Gregory directed that the day following the feast of St. Francis (October 5) be reckoned as October 15. By this regulation the vernal equinox, which then occurred on March 11, was restored to the 21st.

The Gregorian calendar was slowly adopted throughout Europe and is used today throughout most of the Western world and in parts of Asia. When this new calendar was adopted in Great Britain in 1752, another correction of an eleven-day discrepancy was made -- the day after September 2, 1752 became September 14. The British also adopted January 1 as the day when a new year begins. The Soviet Union adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918, and Greece adopted it in 1923 for civil purposes, but many countries associated with the Greek Church retain the Julian (or Old Style) calendar for the celebration of Church feasts.

How did this affect the weekly cycle as observed in the old Julian calendar? Notes Herbert Armstrong --

...ten days were dropped from the calendar. But they were dropped only from the number of days in the MONTH, not from the number of days in the WEEK! (Has Time Been Lost, p. 6).

The Catholic Encyclopedia concurs with this when it says, "Thus, every imaginable proposition was made, only one idea was never mentioned, viz., the abandonment of the seven-day week" (vol. 9, p. 251, under article "Lilius"). The same encyclopedia (volume 3, p. 740) under the article "Chronology," states that "it is to be noted that in THE CHRISTIAN PERIOD, the order of days in the week has never been interrupted." Notice here that in "THE CHRISTIAN PERIOD" the order of days in the week had not changed. This insinuates that prior to this period the order of days in the week had indeed been changed! We will see shortly what the "Christian period" of the old Julian calendar was.

However, while the order of days in the week were apparently not changed during "The Christian Period," the seventh day in the Gregorian calendar DOES NOT match the seventh day in the old Hebrew calendar! Notice --

What happened when the new Gregorian calendar, the one now used, came into existence? While the number of days in the week remained the same, the NUMBER of the day the Bible God designated as the seventh WAS LOST FOREVER in the rearrangement of the months. While Saturday remained the seventh day of the week, the SEVENTH day in the old Hebrew calendar was NOT the SEVENTH day in the Gregorian" (The Ten Commandments, by Joseph Lewis).

"The 'New Julian' Calendar, however, did much more than merely shift the immovable Feasts by thirteen days," states the Orthodox Christian Information Center. "It achieved a far more INSIDIOUS goal -- it laid waste to the historical validity of the Festal cycle altogether. Recall that the Vatican sought to remove the difference of eleven minutes and fourteen seconds between the Julian Calendar and the tropical year. It did so by the introduction of 'common centesimal years,' i.e., centesimal years indivisible by four hundred (e.g., 1700, 1800, 1900, etc.), which are reckoned to have only 365 days."

"This is why," continues the article, "the Papal reformers claim that approximately every 128 years the Julian Calendar falls behind the Gregorian Calendar by TWENTY-FOUR HOURS. Even if the Gregorian calculations were correct (let us not forget that the length of the tropical year randomly fluctuates), nonetheless the difference between the Julian Calendar year and the tropical year should have been accounted for gradually over the centuries. This is even more obvious for the 'New Julian' reformers, who, abruptly and with a boorish lack of sophistication excised the 'cumulative error' of thirteen days from the Church Calendar. Had the 'Pan-Orthodox Congress' been intelligent and consistent in applying its calendric principles, the Feasts introduced into the liturgical cycle of the Holy Church in the nineteenth century should have been adjusted by only twelve days; the Feasts from the eighteenth century should have been adjusted by only eleven days; and so forth."

Chides the article: "If 'accuracy' had really been such a concern, then only the Feasts dating from the twentieth century should have been shifted by a FULL THIRTEEN DAYS, since this discrepancy supposedly accrued from the time of the First Ecumenical Synod. We see, however, that not one of the Holy Fathers ever saw a need to 'correct' the Church Calendar; in general, their attitude was, 'If it isn't broken, don't fix it'" (Liturgical Havoc Wreaked By the "New Julian" Calendar).

The article Genesis of the Gregorian Calendar points out that "its [the Gregorian Calendar's] disadvantages are the fact that AN APPOINTED DAY IS NOT ALWAYS ON THE SAME WEEK DAY. Besides, the month lengths are not equal and the holidays, which have relations to the feast of Easter are moved within the calendar from one year to another."

The Julian Calendar

Prior to its change in 1582, the calendar was known as the Julian calendar because it originated at the time of Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. Following his conquest of Egypt in 48 B.C., Julius Caesar consulted the Alexandrian astronomer Sosigenes about calendar reform since the "ab urbe condita" (i.e., "from the founding of the city (Rome)") calendar then used by the Romans was in total confusion and completely inadequate to the needs of the emerging empire, which Caesar was poised to command. The calendar which Julius Caesar adopted in the year 709 a.u.c. (what we now call 46 B.C.) was almost identical to the Alexandrian Aristarchus' calendar of 239 B.C., and consisted of a solar year of twelve months and of 365 days with an extra day every fourth year. It is unclear why or how Aristarchus arrived at this calendar, but one may speculate that BABYLONIAN data or theory was involved.

Sosigenes decided that the year known in modern times as 46 B.C. should have two intercalations. The first was the customary intercalation of 23 days following February 23, the second, "to bring the calendar in step with the equinoxes, was achieved by inserting two additional months between the end of November and the beginning of December. This insertion amounted to an addition of 67 days, making a year of no less than 445 days and causing the beginning of March, 45 B.C. in the Roman republican calendar, to fall on what is still called January 1 of the Julian Calendar" (Encyclopedia Britannica, article "The Western Calendar and Calendar Reforms").

Evidently, Julius Caesar wanted to start the year on the Spring Equinox or the Winter Solstice, but the Roman Senate, which traditionally took office on January 1st (the start of the Roman civil calendar year), wanted to keep January 1st as the start of the year, and Caesar yielded to a political compromise.

According to Macrobius (Roman grammarian and philosopher who flourished during the reigns of Honorius and Arcadius (395-423)) the Roman date-keepers initially misunderstood Caesar's instructions concerning the new calendar, and erroneously held every third year, rather than every fourth year, to be a leap year. There is actually some dispute as to exactly which years from 43 B.C. through to 8 A.D. were actually leap years, but a reconstruction which is consistent with the available evidence is that every third year following 43 B.C. (i.e, 40 B.C., 37 B.C., etc.) was a leap year. This was true until 10 B.C., after which Augustus Caesar (Julius Caesar's successor) suspended leap years altogether -- reinstating them with the leap year of 4 A.D.!

Another source of UNCERTAINTY regarding EXACT DATING OF DAYS at this time derives from changes made by Augustus to the lengths of the months. According to some accounts, the month of February originally had 29 days, and in leap years 30 days (unlike 28 and 29 today). It LOST A DAY because at some point in time the fifth and sixth months of the old Roman calendar were renamed as Julius and Augustus respectively in honor of their namesakes. The number of days in August -- previously 30 -- now became 31 (the same as the number of days in July), so that Augustus Caesar would not be regarded as inferior to Julius Caesar! Therefore, the extra day needed for August was taken from the end of February. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding these matters -- so all dates prior to 4 A.D. (when the calendar finally became stabilized) are UNCERTAIN.

According to Moustafa Gadalla, "in their attempts to have a different looking calendar than the Egyptian system [Aristarchus' calendar of 239 B.C.], both the Julian and the Gregorian calendars fell short of the [more] precise/accurate system, as developed by the Egyptians. Additionally, we end up with twelve months, but with a totally confused, illogical, and haphazard numeration of the different months."

Not only that, but the Julian Calendar still had the trappings of the old Roman calendar -- including the EIGHT-DAY WEEK! We are told by the Encyclopedia Britannica that the old Roman calendar had become HOPELESSLY CONFUSED by the time of Julius Caesar. Notes the Encyclopedia Britannica --

The working of the Roman calendar was in the hands of the pontifices, who every month used to watch for the new moon, and, when it was seen, proclaimed from the Capitol the number of days, five or seven, to the Nones...

Independent of the months were the EIGHT-DAY "WEEKS" called nundinae; these had no individual names, WERE NOT CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH ANY RELIGIOUS PRACTICES OF IMPORTANCE, and were simply THE SPACE FROM ONE MARKET-DAY TO ANOTHER. They are marked on the surviving calendars with the letters A-H...

The encyclopedia goes on to say --

Owing to the clumsiness of the pontifices, and still more to political maneuvers, by which intercalation was made or omitted recklessly to affect a magistrate's year of office, the calendar got into HOPELESS CONFUSION by the end of the republic, and Julius Caesar undertook its reformation. In 46 B.C. he intercalated, and furthermore added 67 days between November and December, making a year of 445 days, and so bringing the civil abreast of the natural year. Then began the new, Julian calendar, which with small modifications, lasted until the Gregorian reforms (volume 4, 1943. Article "Calendar").

The Eight-Day Week

We should notice here that the old Roman calendar was based on the moon and had an EIGHT-DAY WEEK that was simply the PERIOD OF TIME BETWEEN MARKET DAYS! This eight-day or MARKET WEEK was a wholly ARTIFICIAL PERIOD OF TIME and was commonly used among peoples who had suffiently advanced in civilization to have a regular trade. Explains the Encyclopedia Britannica --

This is a WHOLLY ARTIFICIAL PERIOD of fairly frequent occurrence among peoples who have suffiently advanced in civilization to have a regular trade. This is the MARKET-WEEK, or the FIXED PERIOD OF DAYS in which a market is held. It varies in length and lasts three days among the Muysca in Bogota, four among many West African tribes, five romecalin Central America, the East Indian Archipelago and old Assyria, six among a tribe in Togo, EIGHT AMONG THE ANCIENT ROMANS (the "nundinae"), and ten among the Inca people. On the MARKET DAY, especially in Africa, WORK IS OFTEN FORBIDDEN, certain taboos are imposed, and RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES PERFORMED (volume 4, article "Calendar").

Prior to, and for some three hundrd years after Julius Caesar, Roman calendars included repeating cycles of letters A through H to represent their eight-day marketing week. Such days became occasions to conduct business, meet in assembly, and proclaim laws or public decisions. Eventually, they were identified either as "dies fasti," days (identified by the letter F) on which the court of the urban prefect could convene and legal proceedings be initiated; "dies comitiales," days (C) on which assemblies (comitia) could be summoned by the magistrates and business brought before them; and "dies nefasti," days (N) on which judicial and civil business could not be transacted. There also were days, although not identified as such in the calendar, in which activity either was restricted in some way (dies religiosi), avoided altogether as unlucky (dies atri), or, if immediately following the Calends, Nones, and Ides, tainted by historical association (dies postriduani).

Among the dies nefasti were "feriae" (holidays), a word which, although plural in form (like Calendae and Nonae), applied to a single day and comprised both private celebrations, such as birthdays and days of mourning, as well as public ceremonies, such as the Lupercalia or Saturnalia. Public holidays included annual festivals, for which the dates were fixed and recorded (feriae stativae); movable holidays (feriae conceptivae), which were determined every year; and irregular holidays (feriae imperativae) that were proclaimed in the event of a crisis or to celebrate a victory. The days which feriae were celebrated were "dies festi." Religious rites were performed and lawsuits were prohibited, and there was the opportunity for rest, even for slaves. Although not holidays themselves, "ludi" or public games also were celebrated then.

The eight-day weeks were totally independent of monthly divisions called Calends, Nones and Ides. At the end of each year the A through H cycle was BROKEN. The first day of the next year was always designated by the letter "A" to begin a NEW CYCLE, but the market day's letter itself changed. Now when Caesar extended the year of 46 B.C. to 445 days and made other calendar changes, the Roman eight-day week was NOT AFFECTED.

The "Christian Period"

This remained so until 321 A.D. when Emperor Constantine (the "Great") created the modern seven-day week by REDUCING THE ROMAN WEEKLY CYCLE BY ONE DAY. However, neither month nor year lengths were modified by Constantine. In effect, Constantine took the pagan Roman calendar with its eight-day week that revolved around the market days and lopped a day off to create our present weekly cycle. Thus began what is known as the "Christian period" of the Julian calendar.

Also, the seven-day week that Constantine created out of the old Roman calendar was based, by him, on the GREEK CALENDAR -- even further complicating things!

"It was not until the third century," explains Joseph Lewis, "that the practice of measuring time in cycles of seven days, each of them dedicated to the seven planets, was to any degree universally used. The division of time into seven days to the week as the basis of our PRESENT calendar belongs to the Greeks. (If the Greeks had known that there were ten planets instead of only the seven with which they were acquainted, it is quite probable that they would have provided for a ten-day week instead of the seven-day week, for in China the ten-day week prevailed until almost the present era.) The very names of the days, called after the planets, were made up by the Greeks" (The Ten Commandments).

Continuing, Lewis states that,

the first and seventh days of the week, and particularly the number seven, were regarded by the Greeks as sacred to the god Apollo, probably because of their supposed relation to the seven planets. References of the seventh day implying some special, though vague, significance of a sacred character are frequently mentioned in Homeric poems and other early Greek records. One writer quotes the Greek historian Strabo who wrote before the Christian era: "The Greeks and barbarians have this in common, that they accompany their sacred rites by a festal remission of labor" (ibid.).

Before the Greeks came up with their seven-day week based on the then known planets, they actually had, like the Babylonians and Egyptians of the same period, a thirty-day month divided into three "decades" of ten days!

Even people back in the fifth century were confused and confounded by the changes made by Constantine to the calendar! In a letter from Bishop Paschasinus of Lilybaeum (Marsala), Sicily, to Pope Leo the Great (461 A.D.) we find discussed a DISCREPANCY between the Roman and Alexandrian calculations of Pascha or Easter. Paschasinus writes --

After much scrutiny and debate, we found that what the Patriarch of the Church of Alexandria had written to Your Beatitude was correct. Since the Roman computation for the year in question [444 A.D.], the sixty-third year of its cycle...was March 26, we were inclined to doubt that this date for Pascha was correct, but in fact that it was on April 23. CONFUSED AND UNCERTAIN, we consulted the Jewish calculation, now ignored by the Romans -- which is why they sometimes fall into error...

For the time being, let us not be afraid of the lateness of the date of Pascha, lest by trying to avoid it, we fall into error, as happened during the reign of your predecessor, Zosimas [418 A.D.]...At that time, by hastening the celebration of Pascha from its date of April 22 to March 25...a very grievous error was committed; so grave that the TRUE DATE was proved by a miracle enacted by the Grace of the Holy Spirit...(Patrologia Latina, by J.P. Migne. Vol. lviii, cols. 606-609).

If people were having a problem determining the date of a festival within a hundred years of Constantine's change to the week, how on earth can we be so sure we have the correct day for YEHOVAH's Sabbath today?

Notes the Orthodox Christian Information Center:

From the fourth century to the twentieth century, the "correction" of the Gregorian Calendar in relation to the Julian Calendar increased from one to thirteen days; by analogy, in centuries preceding the fourth, it would be necessary to introduce a negative "correction," because the vernal equinox would need to be moved backwards according to the Julian Calendar. Thus, for example, the New Calendarists should not celebrate the Nativity of Christ on December 25, but on December 23, A TWO-DAY "CORRECTION" in the opposite direction, since December 25 according to the Old Calendar, during the period of the first century B.C. through the first century A.D., would have corresponded to December 23 according to the New Calendar (Liturgical Havoc Wreaked By the "New Julian" Calendar).

Irretrievably Lost?

It is quite aparent that YEHOVAH's true weekly cycle with the Sabbath day on the seventh day was never a part of the Roman calendar -- and even if it was, there is absolutely no way this cycle could have been preserved throughout all the changes. Remarks Joseph Lewis in The Ten Commandments --

In shifting the calendar, making January instead of September the first month of the year, what happened to that sacred "seventh" day? It was IRRETRIEVABLY LOST, because when these changes were made [by Julius Caesar], Rome was living under a calendar of an eight-day week!

With such a jumble of days and dates and changes and festivals, how is it even possible to designate the TRUE Sabbath day?

Contrary to what Herbert W. Armstrong said earlier, it is NOT possible to know -- you CAN'T be sure -- you CANNOT prove -- which day of the week today, is the same seventh day YEHOVAH God rested on, blessed, and set apart at creation -- based on the calendar system we have inherited today! Regardless of Herbert Armstrong's "seven separate proofs -- each conclusive and irrefutable," it is impossible to sort out all the calendar changes that have occurred over the millennia and arrive at YEHOVAH's true Sabbath day!

I am baffled as to how Armstrong completely overlooked the pagan origins of our week, the Roman eight-day week, the breaking of the weekly cycle every year and the changes Constantine made to an already confused calendar!

To point out the confusion and utter hopelessness in trying to figure out YEHOVAH's true Sabbath day from the Gregorian calendar we use today, Joseph Lewis makes this observation --

To complicate matters and make even more impossible the designation of the seventh day, it must further be remembered that...the Hebrew calendar was based on LUNAR reckonings. The lunar year is shorter than the solar year by about ten days, twenty-one hours and twelve seconds. With such a great difference, it is utterly impossible for the Hebrew calendar to run parallel with the months as divided under the solar year. The lunar month contains 29 1/2 days; consequently, every five months a new day is added to the month. This would make the original seventh day, according to the lunar calendar of 28 days to the month, or seven days to the week, the EIGHTH day, five months later it would make it the NINTH day, and thus the original seventh day of creation would be totally lost down the corridors of time (ibid.).

Further, Idelsohn, in his Ceremonies of Judaism, makes this point: "For instance, if Thursday, October 2, 1940, was the 5,701st year since the world was created, according to the Hebrew calculation, how is it possible for Saturday to be the seventh day of creation? According to this reckoning, Wednesday of the following week would be the seventh day; and since the reckoning of the New Year according to the Hebrew calendar is constantly changing, this is ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE substantiating the claim that if there was a "seventh" day of creation, it has been IRRETRIEVABLY LOST" (pp. 51-52).

The Proof of the Jewish People?

"O.K.," you might say, "I can see how the true weekly cycle and the seventh day could have been lost due to all the changes that have occurred in the various calendars. But what about the Jews? Haven't the Jews kept the true weekly cycle throughout all their generations? Haven't the Jews preserved YEHOVAH's true calendar? The answer to the last question is a resounding "YES," but, as we will show, the Jews have LOST SIGHT of which day in the weekly cycle to observe YEHOVAH's Sabbath day on! Why? Because at some time in their history the Jews DETACHED the seven-day week from the lunar calendar and started keeping the Sabbath according to the reckoning of the Roman calendar!

Let's make some basic assumptions here. The fact that Yeshua the Messiah DID NOT denounce the Jews of his day for keeping the Sabbath day on the wrong day of the week, but denounced them for making the Sabbath a "day of bondage," clearly indicates that the Jews were then correct as regards to which day of the week to keep. Later, in the works of the apostles Peter and Paul, we similarly find no trace of these stalwart men of YEHOVAH God condemning the Jews for keeping the wrong day. Since Paul was martyred in 67 A.D., and Peter followed him the next year, it is probably safe to say that the Jews were keeping the correct Sabbath day right up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. by the Romans.

Writes Herbert W. Armstrong --

Now if we are convinced that Jesus set us a RIGHT example, and that He observed the RIGHT seventh day, we need have no further difficulty.

Notice, the day Jesus kept AS HIS CUSTOM (Luke 4:16) was the same day all the Jews kept, for they were holding their religious service in the synagogue -- verses 17, 20.

About 43 years after this the Jewish people were driven into EVERY NATION ON EARTH. From that time until now, they have been separated, scattered into all nations. Through the Middle Ages, the Jews in China had no way of communicating with the Jews of Africa; the Jews in Europe with those of other parts of the world. Yet today, with communication restored over every part of the world, we do NOT find the Jews all mixed up.

If time had been lost, the Jews of one part of the world would be observing one day, and the Jews of other parts other days. But everywhere -- in EVERY NATION ON EARTH, we find the Jewish people having been keeping the SAME IDENTICAL DAY -- the day we call SATURDAY -- the true seventh day (Has Time Been Lost?, pp. 19-20).

This seems logical at first glance. However, the fact that the Jews all over the world are keeping the same day for the Sabbath only means they are all using the same calendar! This does not confirm, in any way, that the calendar they are keeping is correct in every detail or that they are correctly using it to determine the true Sabbath!!

Palestinian Versus Babylonian Jews

Following the halocaust that consumed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Palestinian Jews struggled hard to retain control of the calendar. Notes the Encyclopedia Britannica:

The calendar was originally fixed by observation, and ultimately by calculation. Up to the fall of the Temple (A.D. 70), witnesses who saw the new moon came forward and were strickly examined and if their evidence was accepted the month was fixed by the priests. Eventually the authority passed to the SANHEDRIN and ultimately to the PATRIARCH. When necessary, a second "Adar" was inserted in order that the reaping of the corn should come at Passover. Gradually observation gave place to calculation. The right to determine the calendar was reserved to the PATRIARCHATE; the JEWS OF MESOPOTAMIA tried in vain to establish their own calendar but the perogative of Palestine was zealously defended.

Continues the encyclopedia --

So long as Palestine remained a religious centre, it was naturally to the homeland that the Diaspora looked for its calendar. Uniformity was essential, for if different parts had celebrated feasts on different days confusion would have ensued. IT WAS NOT UNTIL THE 4TH CENTURY A.D. THAT BABYLON FIXED THE CALENDAR...The Talmud speaks of various New Year's Days. It may be regarded as certain that in Palestine the New Year [Rosh Hoshana] began in NISSAN (cf. Exod. xii.2) and IN BABYLON in TISHRI (volume 4, article "Calendar").

What's interesting about this is the fact that considerable changes were made to the calendar by the Babylonian Jews at almost the SAME TIME that Emperor Constantine made a MAJOR change to the Julian Calendar!

What is not realized by many is that control of the calendar implied ultimate POLITICAL AUTHORITY in Judaism. In other words, whoever controlled the calendar also controlled the destiny of the Jewish people -- for good or for evil! In the Talmud we find the story of a man who tried to exercise control over the calendar in the days following the third Jewish revolt against the Romans --

According to a story preserved in the Talmudim, Rabbi Hananiah, the nephew of Rabbi Joshua, fled to Babylonia after the third Jewish revolt and there attempted to intercalate the calendar. CONTROL of the calendar was of IMMENSE IMPORTANCE in Jewish life because calendar intercalation determined the days on which all religious observances, including those mandated in the Holy Scriptures, were observed. Calendar control thus involved the ULTIMATE POLITICAL AUTHORITY in Judaism.. During the Second Temple period (which ended in 70 C.E.), this authority was very probably vested in the HIGH PRIEST. In the period after 70 C.E., THE RABBIS ARROGATED THIS AUTHORITY TO THEMSELVES. In the story that appears in the Talmudim, Rabbi Hananiah, an emigre Judean scholar, tried to assert the SUPREMACY OF BABYLONIAN JEWRY by asserting its right (that is, his own right while in Babylonia) to intercalate the calendar. His attempt was unsuccessful because it was SEVERAL CENTURIES TOO EARLY. This authority remained for some time with the rabbis in the land of Israel (Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism, edited by Hershal Shanks, p. 197).

Later, on page 262, Hershal Shanks elaborates on this --

While a sage in Babylonia attempted to intercalate the Jewish calendar following the destruction in Palestine of the Bar-Kokhba uprising, this was considered almost tantamount to heresy; THE THREAT TO PALESTINIAN HEGEMONY WAS THWARTED.

All this BEGAN TO CHANGE IN THE THIRD CENTURY C.E. Ultimately the rabbis of Babylonia themselves cited, in retrospect, the return of one of their own, Rav (Abba), to Babylonia in 219 C.E., as the BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA in the relative status of the two great Jewish communities: "We have made ourselves [or, consider ourselves] in Babylonia like Eretz Israel -- from when Rav went down to Babylonia." While this may seem to telescope a long drawn out process into one identifiable event, the fact is that the date designated in that statement indeed POINTS ACCURATELY TO THE EARLY THIRD CENTURY, when Babylonia's star began to rise (ibid., p. 262).

While the control of the calendar remained in the hands of the Palestinian Jews it was inviolate, but when control passed to the Babylonian Jews events occurred that affected the calendar and the keeping of YEHOVAH's true Sabbath day. The environment that brought this about is discussed by Hershal Shanks in the following pages of his book: "As we enter the third century, we find that the Jews of Babylonia have at their head an EXILARCH (resh galuta, 'head of the Diaspora') with [false] claims to Davidic lineage...the exilarchate was undoubtedly a POTENT FORCE throughout the Talmudic period in Babylonia -- the period which began as the SASSANIAN DYNASTY assumed the local throne from their predecessors, the Arsacids in 224 C.E."

Continues Shanks: "In the face of the centralizing tendencies of the new monarchy, which probably threatened (or was feared to threaten) the autonomous framework of Jewish life, the exilarchate represented the Jewish community before the authorities. At the same time it regulated much of the economic and social life of the Jews of Babylonia. Their success was probably a major factor in the continued THRIVING OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY on the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers."

"But the exilarchate did not rule the Babylonian Jewish communities single-handedly. Alongside the exilarch a new framework of leadership -- THE RABBIS OF BABYLON -- emerged."

Notes Hershal Shanks: "If the rabbis of Babylonia were PRUDENT in their relations with the exilarch, they were EVEN MORE CAUTIOUS in defining and publicly stating their attitude toward the GOVERNMENT. As we have already noted, it is in Babylonia [not Palestine] that we encounter the well-formulated principle that 'THE LAW OF THE GOVERNMENT IS LAW.' Even when the REVITALIZED ZOROASTRIAN RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT took extreme steps to ensure that the major tenets of its religion not be debased, these steps were not construed by the local Jewish community as persecutions [how could this be unless the Jews caved in to the country's religious establishment?]" (ibid., pp. 263-264).

Shanks brings out the fact that there were very marked differences in the ATTITUDE TOWARD GOVERNMENT and the preservation of Jewish religion and life between the Palestinian and Babylonian Jews. The Palestinian Jews jealously guarded their religion and way of life while the Babylonian Jews were clearly willing to accomodate the government of their area and COMPROMISE certain principles they held. Hershal Shanks plainly highlights this in another part of his book --

One enlightening example relates to the attitude of the two Talmudim to Gentile governments under whose rule the local Jewish communities found themselves. The underlying perception of many PALESTINIAN SAGES, already evident in the Mishnah and even more so in the Palestinian Talmud, is that Roman rule of Palestine is not only EVIL but in fact ILLEGITIMATE, at least within the boundaries of Eretz Israel -- thus ENCOURAGING, for instance, anyone who might wish to REFRAIN FROM PAYING TAXES to do so BY ANY MEANS at their disposal. The accepted attitude in the BABYLONIAN TALMUD, on the other hand, is that "THE LAW OF THE KINGDOM IS LAW" (dina de-malkhuta dina), with all the concomitant requirements to remain a LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN" (Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism, pp. 254-255).

Divorcing the Sabbath

The fact that the Babylonian Jews prospered greatly by following the maxim of "the law of the kingdom is law" indicates that compromises were made along the way -- including restructuring the week to parallel that used in the country in which they were living. The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia takes note of this radical change to the calendar:

"The association of sabbath rest with the account of creation must have been very ancient among the Hebrews, and it is noteworthy that no other Semitic peoples, even the Babylonians, have any tradition of the creation in six days. It would appear that the primitive Semites had FOUR CHIEF MOONDAYS, probably the first, eighth, fifteenth, and twenty-second of EACH month, CALLED SABBATHS from the fact that there was a tendency to end work before them so that they might be celebrated joyfully. Among the Babylonians these seventh days through astrological conceptions became ill-omened, while the sabbath in the middle of the month was made a day of propitiation, and its name was construed as meaning 'the day for ending the wrath of the gods.' The Israelites, on the other hand, made the sabbaths [as anchored to the moon] the feasts of a living and holy God. The work of man became symbolic of the work of God, and human rest of divine rest, so that the sabbaths became preeminently days of rest. Since, moreover, the LUNAR MONTH had 29 or 30 days, the normal lapse of time between sabbaths was SIX DAYS, although sometimes seven or eight; and six working days were accordingly assigned to the creation, which was to furnish a prototype for human life. THE CONNECTION OF THE SABBATH WITH LUNAR PHASES, however, WAS DISCARDED BY THE ISRAELITES [JEWS]...AND THE WEEKS WERE ACCORDINGLY DIVORCED FROM THE DAYS OF THE MONTHS AND WERE MADE TO FOLLOW IN SUCCESSION THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, a more regular correspondence with the week of creation being thus secured. [Or, a more regular correspondence with the economic realities of the environment in which they lived.] The first lunar day, however, or the day of THE NEW MOON, retained, although no longer called sabbath, somewhat of its sabbatical character, so that in the Old Testament IT FREQUENTLY APPEARS AS A PENDANT OF THE SABBATH" (Edited by Samuel Macauley. 1912. Vol. X, pp. 135-136).

In the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia we find a similar entry that also points to the Jewish divorcement from YEHOVAH's true Sabbath day --

The idea of the week, as a subdivision of the month, seems to have arisen in Babylonia, where each lunar month was divided into four parts, corresponding to the four phases of the moon. The first week of each month began with the new moon, so that, as the lunar month was one or two days more than four periods of seven days, these additional days were not reckoned at all. Every seventh day (sabbatum) was regarded as an unlucky day [an obvious corruption of God's meaning for the day]. This method of reckoning time spread westward through Syria and Palestine, and was adopted by the Israelites, probably after they settled in Palestine. With the development of the importance of the Sabbath as a day of consecration and the emphasis laid upon the significant number seven, the week became more and more DIVORCED from its lunar connection...(Volume 10, 1943. Article, "Week," p. 482).

In actual fact, we will see that the Israelites adopted the lunar week shortly after leaving the bondage of Egypt -- more of this later.

In his book written in 1985, Jewish scholar Eviatar Zerubavel expounds on the fact that the seven-day cycle (Sunday through Saturday) went through a number of metamorphoses to finally be known as the ASTROLOGICAL WEEK. He also states emphatically that this "week is not anchored in nature in any way..." boasting that " a CONTINUOUS SEVEN-DAY CYCLE that runs through history paying no attention whatsoever to the MOON AND ITS PHASES is a distinctly Jewish invention. Moreover, THE DISSOCIATION OF THE SEVEN-DAY WEEK FROM NATURE HAS BEEN ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS OF JUDAISM TO CIVILIZATION" [dissociation from nature = contributions?!] (The Seven Day Circle, p. 14).

Earlier in his book (on page 10) Professor Zerubavel comments that "only by establishing a weekly cycle of an UNVARYING, STANDARD LENGTH could society guarantee that the continuity of its life would never be interrupted by NATURAL PHENOMENA SUCH AS THE LUNAR CYCLE. The DISSOCIATION OF THE WEEK FROM THE LUNAR CYCLE, is, therefore, the most significant breakthrough in the evolution of this cycle from its somewhat rudimentary and imperfect predecessor."

While I disagree that YEHOVAH's weekly cycle is "somewhat rudimentary and imperfect," Zerubavel clearly brings out the fact that the Jews CHANGED the weekly cycle as given by YEHOVAH God. And WHY did they change the cycle? So that commercial enterprise would not be disrupted!! Notes Jonathan Brown --

It is quite easy to see how flowing with the natural rhythm of the moon cycle would disrupt commercial enterprise. When you're waiting with a truck load of rotting vegetables, who wants to wait for the new moon to be gone? The uninterrupted flow of our current seven-day cycle was thus very appealing to our predecessors who were caught up in BUILDING COMMERCE" (Keeping Yahweh's Appointments, p. 92).

Zerubavel adds: "Hence the indispensability of a CONTINUOUS WEEK for the establishment of settled life with a high level of social organization, particularly significant since the RISE OF A MARKET ECONOMY, which involved orderly contact on regular recurrent, periodic MARKET DAYS" (The Seven Day Circle, p. 10).

Concludes Joseph Lewis, "now that the Jews have ABANDONED THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH as the bond between them and their God, they should discontinue the observance [to be logical] of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and COMPLETE their emancipation from this demoralizing superstition" (The Ten Commandments).

While this passage has an obvious anti-Semitic bent, it does highlight the fact that the Jews have DIVORCED THEMSELVES from YEHOVAH's true Sabbath and weekly cycle! In order to have their Sabbath come at regular intervals, they abandoned the lunar cycle of their forebears and adopted the seventh day of the pagan week that was prevalent in the world in which they lived. Instead of keeping their Sabbath in accordance with the moon's changes, the Jews of Babylonia decided upon the seventh day REGARDLESS of its coincidence with the moon's variations.

In the Wilderness of Sin

Where do we stand now? We have seen that both the Jews and the world at large have lost sight of YEHOVAH's true Sabbath day. Time indeed has been lost -- and with it the weekly cycle as set up by YEHOVAH God in Genesis 1 and 2. What can we do? Are we lost -- have we lost that "connection" to YEHOVAH God through the sign of His holy Sabbath day? As Herbert Armstrong reflected -- "Would God set apart a certain day, put His blessing on it, make it HOLY TIME, command that it be KEPT HOLY FOREVER, and then let that holy time become so lost we cannot tell when to keep it?...If so, then you and I are LOST, for it is SIN to profane God's Sabbath!"

My friends, there is hope, we have not been lost; YEHOVAH God has left us clues in His holy word the Bible -- clues that we can easily piece together and learn HOW to determine YEHOVAH's true Sabbath day! For the first clue, let's turn to the book of Exodus, chapter 16:

And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, ON THE FIFTEENTH DAY OF THE SECOND MONTH after they departed from the land of Egypt. Then the whole congregation` of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, "Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." Then the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, WHETHER THEY WILL WALK IN MY LAW OR NOT" (New King James Version, verses 1-4).

These verses are much clearer in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, which reads as follows --

And they departed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sina; and ON THE FIFTEENTH DAY, IN THE SECOND MONTH after their departure from the land of Egypt, all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron. And the children of Israel said to them, Would we had died smitten by the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, and ate bread to satiety! for ye have brought us out into this wilderness, to slay all this congregation with hunger. And the Lord said to Moses, Behold, I will rain bread upon you out of heaven: and the people shall go forth, and they shall gather their daily portion for the day, that I may try them WHETHER THEY WILL WALK IN MY LAW OR NOT.

These verses bring out TWO main points, (1) the Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron on THE 15TH DAY OF THE SECOND MONTH after leaving Egypt and, (2) YEHOVAH God was going to test the Israelites to see if they would WALK IN HIS LAW OR NOT.

It is very interesting that Moses should mention THE EXACT DAY that the Israelites murmured against him and Aaron in the wilderness -- nowhere else in the narrative of the Israelites' wanderings from Egypt to the Promised Land is an exact date mentioned. This clearly indicates that this date was IMPORTANT TO YEHOVAH GOD and that He wanted the Israelites to remember it. Also, on this date He was going to teach the Israelites something very important -- to test them and see if they would obey Him or not.

What was this important lesson? Let's continue in Exodus 16 --

"And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be TWICE AS MUCH as they gather daily." Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, "At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt. And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord; for He hears your murmurings against the Lord. But what are we, that you murmur against us?"...Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, THE GLORY OF THE LORD APPEARED IN THE CLOUD. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, 'At twilight [between the two evenings] you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'" So it was that quail came up at evening and covered the camp...(Verses 5-13).

This day -- the 15TH DAY OF THE SECOND MONTH -- was so important to YEHOVAH God that He appeared in the cloud before the Israelites and then caused thousands (maybe millions) of quail to be blown into the Israelites' camp "between the two evenings," i.e. the afternoon of the 15th. WHY was this day so important to YEHOVAH God?

Writes Herbert W. Armstrong: "I will show you that God was speaking to them [the children of Israel] on a SABBATH. It is evident that the Eternal…first preached to men on the FIRST SABBATH. Adam was created on the sixth day of creation week. Evidently he was created in the late afternoon, since the creation of man was the last act of creation on that day. When the sun had set, immediately after Adam's creation, God preached to him, offering him the GIFT of eternal life (through the tree of life), and warning that the wages of sin is DEATH” (Gen. 2:15-17).

"And here God is again preaching to Israel, through Moses, ON THE SABBATH" (Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath, pp. 30-31).

Now let's continue with the narrative in Exodus 16:

"...and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, 'What is it?' For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, 'This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat'...So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted. And so it was on THE SIXTH DAY, that they gathered TWICE AS MUCH BREAD, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. Then he said to them, 'This is what the Lord has said: "TOMORROW IS A SABBATH REST, A HOLY SABBATH TO THE LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning!'" So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. Then Moses said, 'Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. SIX DAYS YOU SHALL GATHER IT, but on the SEVENTH DAY, which is THE SABBATH, there will be none.'

"Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. And the Lord said to Moses, 'How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.' So the people rested on the seventh day" (verses 13-30).

Starting on the 15th day of the month, YEHOVAH God provided food for the Israelites then, on the seventh day after the 15th, He did not provide any manna -- thereby showing that this day (the 22nd day of the month) was a Sabbath. Obviously, if the 15th was seven days before the 22nd, it too was a Sabbath day! This Herbert Armstrong clearly understood. We can see here that YEHOVAH was setting up His weekly Sabbath cycle for the Israelites. If the 15th and the 22nd were Sabbath days, then the 8th and the 29th of the month were also Sabbaths! So here we see a pattern -- 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th. What significance do these dates have? Just this -- THEY CORRESPOND TO THE PHASES OF THE MOON!! YEHOVAH was showing the Israelites that His Sabbath days were to fall on the days corresponding to the moon's phases, thus showing that the weekly Sabbaths were to be kept by THE SAME CALENDAR or reckoning used to determine the annual Sabbaths or feast days!

I ask you, WHY would YEHOVAH God complicate the Israelites' lives by having them keep two calendars or reckonings -- one for the weekly Sabbath and one for the annual holy days? This makes no sense whatsoever! YEHOVAH God set up ONE calendar for ALL of His days -- not two!

Babylon and the Dead Sea Scrolls

In this calendar, states Assyriologist S. Langdon,

"the weeks do not continue in a regular cycle regardless of the moon. Each month has four weeks, beginning with the new moon. Days 29 and 30, or in case of a 29-day month, day 29, are simply THROWN OUT of the four-week system. I have no doubt but that this was the old Hebrew scheme...In other words the fourth week has one or two extra days. Every month must begin with the first day of the first week [as determined by the new moon]" (Babylonian Menologies and the Semitic Calendars, p. 89).

The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia notes that

"there is general agreement that the seven-day period [as observed by the Hebrews] was derived from Babylonia, where it was employed in pre-Semitic times -- this is confirmed by the fact that not only were the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-eighth days of the month observed, but that the nineteenth was also a special day...” (vol. VII, 1910, p. 492).

The reason for the one-day discrepancy here as compared to the days YEHOVAH God set apart in Exodus 16 is because the Babylonians did not consider the New Moon day to be a rest day, whereas YEHOVAH’s calendar does.

Many facts tie the ancient Hebrew calendar in with that of ancient Babylonia. There is a phrase, found in the tablets uncovered by archaeologists, which was used in Babylonia -- "day of rest of the heart = shabattum" (Hebrew and Babylonian Traditions, pp. 134-139). Although the Babylonian term "shabattum" was originally connected only with the full moon rest day, it is technically a word which means "to divide." And, as one etymological study concluded, "...consequently, the Babylonian word sabattu is probably the Hebrew word sabbat, Sabbath, the 7th day of EACH LUNAR WEEK" (Babylonian Menologies, pp. 91-92).

We have seen that all authorities state that the present seven-day cycle is ARTIFICIAL -- having no relationship to any natural phenomena. Most archaeologists that specialize in ancient Assyria believe that "...the role of seven as a symbolic number is ultimately connected with the moon changing her phases at intervals of approximately seven days" (Rest Days, by Hutton Webster. 1916. p. 224-225). As a matter of fact, this is the ONLY thing in the entire scope of nature resembling such a pattern.

There are approximately 29.5 days in the lunar cycle beginning with the sighting of the first small crescent just after sunset. Lunar months are most conveniently estimated at 30 days, but when laid out in a succession of months, they can be most conveniently calendarized ONLY BY periods of 29 and 30 days in alternation (Rest Days, pp. 178-179).

None of these numbers, obviously, are divisible evenly by 7. "However," relates Jonathan Brown, "in a Babylonian calendar dated at about 700 B.C., a scheme of rest days on 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th of the moon cycle are recorded. Those days coincide with the first quarter (half-moon), full moon, third quarter (half-moon in reverse), and the day of the moon's disappearance" (Keeping Yahweh's Appointments, p. 51). This is almost the SAME cycle that YEHOVAH God revealed to the Israelites in Exodus 16!

Further evidence that the moon was used to determine YEHOVAH's weekly Sabbath day is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Fragments of lunar days 4 through 25 were uncovered at Qumran describing the moon's appearance and movements in relation to the sun. Wise, Abegg and Cooke, in their book The Dead Sea Scrolls, A New Translation, translate the fragment for lunar day 8 as follows --

On the eighth of the month [chodesh], the moon rules all the day in the midst of the sky...and when the sun sets, its light ceases to be obscured, and thus the moon begins to be revealed on the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK" (pp. 301-303).

The same thing is repeated in the fragment for the 22nd day of the month (chodesh). Unfortunately, the fragments for the other moon quarters are either more fragmentary, contain less information, or are altogether missing information pertinent to the moon phases. What is significant is that these fragments are the oldest written references in Paleo-Hebrew CONNECTING THE QUARTERS OF THE MOON TO THE WEEKS.

Dated to the 1st century B.C., these fragments are probably a copy of a much earlier writing. Notice how the fragment for the eighth day describes the moon being in the sky during the daylight hours. Then, after sunset, "its light ceases to be obscured." This is just how the first quarter appears with the moon's light continuing for several hours past sunset, thus marking THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK. According to one of the authors (Martin Abegg, Jr. -- Director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute) the Hebrew text reads echod beshabat, literally meaning "FIRST OF THE COUNTING OF THE SABBATH [!]"

As stated earlier, those who reckon by moons begin their lunar month with the first appearance of this crescent in the western sky. "Then,” as Langdon said, “the month AND week began with the sighting of the crescent as DAY ONE, and day 28 is the fourth sabbath at the moon's 'disappearance.' It is only logical then that days 29 and 30 are counted, in his terms, as 'the fourth week having one or two extra days,' and thus being actually reckoned as a continuation of the fourth sabbath, i.e. the feast of the new moon. This process was, of course, in anticipation of sighting the crescent, whereupon the first day of work for that month would commence" (ibid., p. 56). This counting, of course, does not consider the New Moon day to be a rest day.

David and Saul

Assyriologist S. Langdon earlier used the expression "thrown out" to explain that day 29 or days 29 and 30 were not counted depending on the length of the month. Let's see how this "throwing out" of days 29 and 30, by continuing from day 29 (the fourth sabbath, if treating the New Moon day as a rest day) works. An allusion to this process is found in I Samuel 20 in the Old Testament --

And David said to Jonathan, "Indeed tomorrow is the NEW MOON [chodesh], and I should not fail to sit with the king to eat. But let me go that I may hide in the field until THE THIRD DAY at evening" (verse 5).

So David hid in the field. And when the NEW MOON had come, the king sat down to eat the FEAST. Now the king sat on his seat, as at other times, on a seat by the wall. And Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul's side, but David's place was empty. Nevertheless Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, "Something has happened to him; he is unclean, surely he is unclean." And it happened the next day, THE SECOND DAY of the month, that David's place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, "Why has the son of Jesse not come to eat, EITHER YESTERDAY OR TODAY?" (verses 24-27).

Explains Jonathan Brown: "First, it appears from the context that it was a special gathering because in verse 5 he states "behold, tomorrow is the [chodesh -- new moon]," drawing attention to the fact that at that time he "should not fail to sit with the king at meat." If it were just an ordinary "day" then there would have been no need to deliberately associate the "sitting down to meat" with the chodesh [new moon]. He could have simply stated something like, "the king is expecting me for an appointment at dinner tomorrow." But the chodesh [new moon] is the focal point.

"Second, he is going to hide himself in the field "unto the third day at even." The point to which the term third may be referenced is the current day he is speaking in, i.e. the day before the chodesh [new moon].

"Then in verse 27, Saul notices David's absence again on the second of the chodesh [new moon]. THIS SHOWS THE LENGTH OF THIS SPECIAL "NEW MOON" GATHERING AT THE KING'S TABLE TO BE TWO DAYS IN A ROW. He tries to explain to himself that David's absence was due to him being "unclean." The events then culminate in Jonathan shooting arrows as planned on the third day (counting from the day before the chodesh) at even. Saul doesn't ask again the next day why David didn't come. The special new moon gathering or chodesh appears then to have ended -- AFTER TWO DAYS. We can safely assume then that because there were two days in which David was expected, THAT PARTICULAR [LUNAR] MONTH WAS 30 DAYS IN LENGTH. We can also assume that both those days were not normal "work days" by the very existence of the feast" (Keeping Yahweh's Appointments, pp. 57-58).

This also proves that at the time of Saul and David the Israelites were observing the weeks (and therefore the Sabbath) according to the LUNAR CALENDAR OR RECKONING!!

Continues Brown: "The idea then that day 30 or both days 29 and 30 are "thrown out" pertains to the fact that the first 28 days of the lunar cycle are evenly divisible by four 7-day periods. Days 29 and 30 are "thrown out" only in the sense of arithmetic: they obviously aren't divisible evenly by 7. Even though there may be two "solar" days extra at the month's end, those days when "thrown out" are counted as ONE CONTINUOUS UNIT FROM DAY 29.

"So with this story of David we can begin to understand how "feasting" is attached to the chodesh or "new moon." Everyone just sort of went "on hold" and enjoyed the barbeque! The sighting of the crescent moon then ended it because that was the day wherein the counting of the month and week began again" (ibid., pp. 57-58 ).

The one or two day period at the end of each 29 or 30 day lunar cycle as being "on hold" or "thrown out" as Langdon put it, can be understood a lot easier when it is counted as one unit, that is, ONE DAY.

2007 -- MAY

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

   

1

Iyyar 13

2

 

Iyyar 14

3
Sabbath
Iyyar 15

4

Iyyar 16

5

Iyyar 17

6

 

Iyyar 18

7

Iyyar 19

8

Iyyar 20

9

Iyyar 21

10
Sabbath
Iyyar 22
11

Iyyar 23

12

Iyyar 24

13

Iyyar 25

14

Iyyar 26

15

Iyyar 27

16

Iyyar 28

17
Sabbath
Iyyar 29
18
New Moon
Sivan 1 

19

Sivan 2

20

Sivan 3

21

Sivan 4

22

Sivan 5

23

Sivan 6

24

Sivan 7

25
Sabbath
Sivan 8
26
Pentecost
Sivan 9

27

Sivan 10

28

Sivan 11

29

Sivan 12

30

Sivan 13

31

Sivan 14

 

 

BLUE = Sabbath and Rosh Chodesh

2007 -- JUNE

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

         

1
Sabbath Sivan 15

2

Sivan 16

3

Sivan 17

4

Sivan 18

5

Sivan 19

6

Sivan 20

7

Sivan 21

8
Sabbath Sivan 22

9

Sivan 23

10

Sivan 24

11

Sivan 25

12

Sivan 26

13

Sivan 27

14

Sivan 28

15 Sabbath Sivan 29

16

Sivan 30

17
New Moon Tamuz 1

18

Tamuz 2

19

Tamuz 3

20

Tamuz 4

21

Tamuz 5

22

Tamuz 6

23

Tamuz 7

24 Sabbath Tamuz 8

25

Tamuz 9

26

Tamuz 10

27

Tamuz 11

28

Tamuz 12

29

Tamuz 13

30

Tamuz 14


Even today conservative and Orthodox Jews observe two days for the new moon at certain times --

Conservative and Orthodox Jews observe two days for the new moon (Rosh Hodesh). If the month is of thirty days, the FIRST TWO DAYS are thus observed; if it has but twenty-nine, the LAST DAY of the preceding month is the first day of the new month" (The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, article "Calendar," p. 633).

Yet, strangely, they don't seem to connect this with the lunar weeks and the correct determination of the Sabbath! Amazing!

The Weekly and Annual Sabbaths

Placing the first day of the week following the eighth of the chodesh or new moon, as found in Exodus 16, is the same counting pattern as the one for the feasts in the Bible. Seven days following the eighth would bring us to the fifteenth, etc. Using the numbers 8, 15, 22 and 29 instead of 7, 14, 21 and 28 permanently encodes the Sabbaths and feasts with the reckoning of "day one" as a rest day or “sabbath.”

We have seen that the 7th century B.C. Babylonian calendar ascribed days 7, 14, 21 and 28 of the lunar cycle as being the sabbaths. But in Exodus 16 we just saw that YEHOVAH God revealed His Sabbath days as falling on day 8, 15, 22 and 29 of the lunar cycle or calendar. While both the 7th century lunar calendar and the Hebrew apparently contradict, the only difference is that in YEHOVAH’s calendar the New Moon day is a rest day in which no work is to be done.

In the 7th century B.C. Babylonian calendar the days – just as in YEHOVAH’s calendar revealed in Exodus 16 -- are reckoned from the New Moon crescent which is counted as day one of the month. Notice in Numbers 29:12 that the Hebrew word chodesh is rendered "month." As, in all other places, it simply means "new moon." In the Babylonian calendar this event begins on the first crescent and is counted as a work day, whereas in YEHOVAH’s calendar the New Moon day is NOT a work day. So, counting from the first crescent as day one, we then arrive at what the Babylonian calendar called the 7th, but using YEHOVAH’s reckoning day one starts the day FOLLOWING the New Moon day and thus brings us to the 8th for the first Sabbath of the month.

Using the 8, 15, 22 and 29 sequence the writers of the Bible inadvertently let us know how it worked.

The main point to understand in all this is that the annual high days (with the exceptions of the last day of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Atonement and the last day of Tabernacles) ALWAYS FALL ON THE WEEKLY SABBATH! That this is so can be corroborated by Ezekiel 46, where it says:

Verse 1: Thus says the Lord God: "The gateway of the inner court that faces toward the east shall be shut THE SIX WORKING DAYS; but on the SABBATH it shall be opened, and on the day of the NEW MOON [chodesh] it shall be opened.

Verse 3: Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the entrance to this gateway before the Lord on the Sabbaths and the New Moons [chodesh].

Notice here that it says the gate "shall be shut the six working days," then EXCLUDES the Sabbath AND new moon from these days. Notice also, that the annual "feasts" aren't specifically mentioned -- this would seem like a huge oversight on Ezekiel's part. But we have just learned that three of the annual high days fall on weekly Sabbaths, so they must therefore be implied in the above verses. And again, the Law doesn't specify the new moon as a time of worship -- but here it is certainly understood by Ezekiel. Now in the current seven-day cycle we use today, the "new moon" as well as the "feasts" appear randomly on various days of our week. If our present weekly cycle had been in existence when the above passage was written, then the six days in which the gate was to be shut would be INTERRUPTED ONCE EVERY MONTH for the new moon, and at other times for the four high days. So with this passage alone we can see a SABBATH PATTERN that includes the NEW MOON and thereby the LUNAR CALENDAR!

Moving now to the Book of Numbers we find, in chapter 29, further proof that YEHOVAH God expects us to keep His weekly Sabbaths in the quarters of the moon. In numbers 29 there is a pattern set up for the sacrifices to be made during the Feast of Tabernacles. It states:

Verse 12: And on the fifteenth day of the seventh month [chodesh] you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work, and you shall keep a feast to the Lord seven days.

The first day of the Feast of Tabernacles is a sabbath wherein no work is to be done, and an "holy convocation," just as in the Passover and Unleavened Bread season.

The text then lists certain sacrifices to be made on that day, followed with a sequence of days through to the next high sabbath on the eighth day of the feast week. It counts --

Vs. 17: on the second day...[certain sacrifices];

Vs. 20: on the third day...[certain sacrifices];

Vs. 23: on the fourth day...[certain sacrifices];

Vs. 26: on the fifth day...[certain sacrifices];

Vs. 29: on the sixth day...[certain sacrifices];

Vs. 32: on the seventh day...[certain sacrifices];

Vs. 35: on the eighth day, (in addition to the sacrifices), "you shall have a sacred assembly. You shall do no customary work.

Obviously, the days in between the beginning and ending high sabbaths, i.e. day two through day seven, constitutes six days, even though they are numbered "two through seven." However, NONE of those days mention assembling or refraining from work. Moreover, NONE of those days and their prescriptions mention even the possibility of being interrupted by a "weekly" Sabbath, in the event that one should occur simultaneously to them. This is assuming, of course, for the sake of argument, that our current seven-day cycle was then in force. As the saying goes, silence is golden. What this outline of sacrifices does say -- loud and clear -- is that it was a pattern of prescriptions meant to be used REPEATEDLY during the Feast of Tabernacles -- year after year, again and again!

Because there were specific instructions to assemble and refrain from work on the first and last high holy days, but WERE NONE with regard to those six days in between, the Book of Numbers has preserved for us a CLEAR glimpse of what was second nature to the ancient Israelites – A WEEK OF THE LUNAR CALENDAR which flowed throughout all sabbaths, new moons and annual high holy days.

What About the New Testament?

We have just examined some instances in the Old Testament that show the weekly cycle and Sabbath were linked to the phases of the moon -- but what about the New Testament? Are there any instances in the New Testament that show this same pattern? Remember, nowhere in the gospels do we find Yeshua the Messiah berating the Jewish authorities for keeping the Sabbath at the wrong time. He reproved them for adding too much "baggage" to the Sabbath and turning it into a day of "bondage." Is there any corroboration in the gospels for observing the weekly Sabbath in accordance with the phases of the moon as set up by YEHOVAH God in Exodus 16? Indeed there is. Let's go to Mark 15:42 in the Jewish New Testament --

Since it was Preparation Day (that is, the day before a SHABBAT), as evening approached, Yosef of Ramatayim, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who himself was also looking forward to the Kingdom of God went boldly to Pilate and asked for Yeshua's body.

In a footnote this New Testament remarks "Shab.bat -- the Sabbath," implying a weekly Sabbath. In Luke 23:54, narrating the same time period, we find: "It was Preparartion Day, and a SHABBAT was about to begin." Once again, the footnote to this verse says "Shab.bat -- the Sabbath" -- also implying the weekly Sabbath. Now, if we drop down to Luke 23:56 we read -- "On SHABBAT the women rested, IN OBEDIENCE TO THE COMMANDMENT." What "commandment" is this? The FOURTH COMMANDMENT of course! In reference to this verse the Jewish New Testament Commentary makes this clarifying statement: "It is sometimes claimed that the New Testament says nothing about keeping the fourth commandment. This verse contradicts that claim, so it is important for a Jewish understanding of the New Testament. On Shabbat the Women rested, in obedience to the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11, Deuteronomy 5:12-15; also Exodus 16). Of course they did! They observed Shabbat every week" (by David H. Stern. P. 150). Obviously, the WEEKLY SABBATH is the focus of verses 54 and 56.

Now that we have established the weekly Sabbath is the focus of these verses, let's go to John 19:31 in the Jewish New Testament and read what the apostle John has to say: "It was the Preparation Day, and the Judeans did not want the bodies to remain on the stake on SHABBAT, since it was an especially important Shabbat." The New King James version makes it clearer: "Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the [weekly] Sabbath (FOR THAT [WEEKLY] SABBATH WAS A HIGH DAY)." What "high day" was this? My Bible references it to Exodus 12:16 -- the first holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread! Therefore -- and notice this -- we have here TWO SABBATHS ON THE SAME DAY -- THE WEEKLY SABBATH AND THE FIRST HIGH OR HOLY DAY OF THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD. This is EXACTLY what we would expect if the Jews of the Messiah's time were keeping the weeks according to the lunar cycle! This particular day was Nisan 15 and, according to the lunar reckoning, was ALWAYS a weekly Sabbath and a high day!

If we go to Matthew 28:1 we read: "After the sabbath, when it was growing light on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to view the grave" (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures). At first glance there appears to be nothing unusual about this verse. However, if we consult the original Greek, we find a remarkable corroboration of the double Sabbath -- the word "sabbath" is in the PLURAL! Therefore, this verse should read (in English) -- "After the sabbaths [plural], when it was growing light on the first day of the week..." Also, the phrase "when it was growing light on the first day of the week" is translated from the original Greek, which literally says "to the [day] lighting up into one [first] of sabbaths" -- notice the plural form once again.

The same thing is found in Mark 16:2 where the Greek literally says: "And exceedingly early to the one [first] [day] of the sabbaths they are coming upon the memorial tomb..." which in English usage reads "And very early on the first day of the week they came to the memorial tomb..." (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).

The word "sabbath" is also in the plural in Luke 24:1 and John 20:1, showing that this particularly weekly sabbath was also a high day.

In case you think this is a coincidence, there are numerous other places in the gospels that refer to a double Sabbath day. At the beginning of his ministry, right after the forty days in the wilderness, the Messiah went to his home town of Nazareth where he entered the local synagogue on the Sabbath day and began to read. Notice! "So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read" (Luke 4:16, New King James Version). If you check the Greek for this verse you will find the word "Sabbath" is in the PLURAL once again -- indicating a DOUBLE SABBATH, i.e. weekly Sabbath and a festival high day. Here's the literal translation from the Greek: "And he came into Nazareth, where he was having been reared, and he went in according to the custom to him IN THE DAY OF THE SABBATHS into the synagogue, and he stood up to read" (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).

Some people have tried to say that this was Pentecost (Feast of "Weeks") but the time frame is all wrong. Not only that, but in other parts of the New Testament the word "Pentecost" is used for this day -- see Acts 2:1, 20:16 and I Corinthians 16:8. Since this incident is right after the 40 days in the desert (this is where the idea of the 40 days of Lent comes from) this particular weekly Sabbath is the first high day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, that is, Nisan 15. The very passage the Messiah read from Isaiah 49 indicates it was the Passover season.

Later on the Messiah went down to Capernaum where, once again as his custom was, he entered the local synagogue and began to teach: "And they went their way into Capernaum. No sooner was it the Sabbath than he entered into the synagogue and began to teach" (ibid.). Again, the original Greek shows the word "Sabbath" to be in the PLURAL, indicating another double Sabbath. Note the literal translation from the Greek: "And they are entering into Capernaum. And at once to the SABBATHS having entered into the synagogue he was teaching" (ibid.). This shows, once again, that the Jews of the Messiah's day were keeping the weekly Sabbaths according to the lunar calendar or reckoning.

The next mention of a Sabbath in the book of Luke comes at Luke 6:1. Here the word "Sabbath" is in the SINGULAR, indicating a regular weekly Sabbath.

The Year of the Messiah's Death

When you study the verses in the four gospels that deal with the Messiah’s crucifixion, it becomes very clear that the time frame covers only one day and two parts of a day. Notice: "Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea...asked for the body of Jesus...Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen" (Mark 15:42; 16:1-2. New King James Version).

We have here (1) the Preparation Day -- the day in which the Messiah was put to death (Nisan 14); (2) the weekly Sabbath (Nisan 15) and (3) the first day of the week (Nisan 16). That appears to be straightforward.

Now look at Matthew 27:57, 62 and 28:1: "Now when evening [of the Preparation Day] had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea...Pilate commanded the body to be given to him...On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate...Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb."

Looking at the time sequence we find (1) when evening had come [of the Preparation Day] (Nisan 14); (2) on the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation (the Sabbath -- Nisan 15); and (3) now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn (Nisan 16). Here we see the SAME time sequence of three days.

Moving to Luke's account we read: "And behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member...This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus...That day was the Preparation Day, and the Sabbath drew near...And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they...came to the tomb...they found the stone rolled away from the tomb" (23:50, 52, 54, 56; 24:1-2).

Once again, we find exactly the same sequence of events (1) that day was the the Preparation Day (Nisan 14); (2) they rested on the Sabbath (Nisan 15) and (3) the first day of the week (Nisan 16).

Finally, if all goes according to plan, John's gospel should reveal exactly the same sequence of events. Notice! "Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day)...On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early...and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb" (verses 19:31; 20:1).

No surprise here -- we find the EXACT same time sequence: (1) it was the Preparation Day (Nisan 14); (2) 0n the Sabbath (Nisan 15) and (3) on the first day of the week (Nisan 16).

The days of the crucufixion, entombment and resurrection are given in CLEAR sequence and with considerable CLARITY in the four gospels as Preparation Day, Sabbath and the first day of the week.

Mark, who wrote for a Gentile audience generally unfamiliar with Jewish terminology, explains with utmost clarity that the Messiah was crucified on "the Day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath" (Mark 15:42). The term "preparation" (paraskeue) and "Sabbath-eve" (pro-sabbaton) are two technical terms used unmistakably to designate the day before the weekly Sabbath -- Nisan 14.

Mark, then, is most PRECISE in explaining that the death of the Messiah took place on what the Jews call the Preparation Day -- Nisan 14. The next day is designated by Mark as "sabbath" (Mark 16:1) which in turn is followed by the "first day of the week" (Mark 16:2). Mark's chronological sequence leaves absolutely no room for a two-day interval between the crucifixion and the resurrection.

In a similar vein, Luke makes it very clear that the day of the Messiah’s death was followed, not by a day or two, but by a weekly Sabbath. He writes: "It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning" (Luke 23:54). By linking the beginning of the Sabbath to the end of the Day of Preparation, and the beginning of the "first day of the week" (Luke 24:1) to the termination of the Sabbath (Luke 23:56), Luke leaves ABSOLUTELY NO ROOM for two full days to intervene between the crucifixion and the resurrection.

Some among the Churches of God wish to make room for intervening days by arguing that between the Wednesday crucifixion and Saturday afternoon resurrection there were two Sabbaths: the first a Passover Sabbath (high day) which fell on a Thursday; the second a weekly Sabbath which fell on the regular Saturday. To support this theory the adherents point to the fact that the Sabbath in Matthew 28:1 is in the PLURAL form and literally reads "at the end of the Sabbaths." This text is viewed by many as "a vital text" that supposedly "proves that there were TWO Sabbaths that week with a day in between." The first Sabbath (Thursday by their reckoning) allegedly was "the annual high-day Sabbath of the Days of Unleavened Bread" while the second was "the weekly Sabbath, Saturday."

This conclusion is TOTALLY UNTENABLE because NOWHERE do the gospels suggest that two Sabbaths intervened (one after another) between the day of the crucifixion and that of the resurrection.

While it is true that the Sabbath in Matthew 28:1 is in the plural, these proponents of the "3-day and 3-night" theory totally overlook the fact that John clearly reveals that there were TWO SABBATHS ON ONE DAY -- the weekly Sabbath AND the first high day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread! "Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (FOR THAT SABBATH WAS A HIGH DAY)" (19:31). This, we have seen, is correct because Exodus 16 shows us that the first annual feast day of Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles ALWAYS fall on the weekly Sabbath according to the lunar weekly cycle that YEHOVAH God gave the Israelites.

Because most theologians and historians think the present weekly cycle is the same as it was during the Messiah’s day, they place these three days (i.e., Preparation Day, Sabbath and the first day of the week) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- hence Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

On the other hand, many in the Churches of God, to get away from the Good Friday-Easter Sunday tradition, place the crucifixion on a Wednesday and the resurrection on a Saturday -- with two days in between. As we have seen, this is totally untenable.

In an attempt to determine the year of Yeshua the Messiah's death, the Bible historians and chronologists looked for a year around 33 years after his supposed birth in 1 B.C. in which the Jewish dates for the Preparation Day (Nisan 14), Sabbath (Nisan 15) and the first day of the week (Nisan 16) fell on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the present Gregorian calendar. The only year that this occurs on is 33 A.D. -- hence many commentaries, Bible dictionaries, etc., list 33 A.D. as the year in which the Messiah died.

Now since this article has shown that in the time of the Messiah the Jews were keeping a lunar week, how can we know for sure in what year our Savior died? Our article The Mysterious Events of the Year 31 A.D.! shows that the Messiah died forty years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. (The Jews used inclusive counting). This puts the crucifixion squarely in the year 31 A.D. If we superimpose the Nisan 14, 15 and 16 sequence on the Gregorian calendar dates for the year 31 A.D., we find that Nisan 14 falls on a Wednesday; Nisan 15 on a Thursday; and Nisan 16 on a Friday -- thus killing the Wednesday crucifixion and Saturday resurrection theory and PROVING BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that the present weekly cycle is not the same as it was in 31 A.D.!!

If you accept the evidence that the time sequence of the crucifixion and resurrection cover a three-day period (Preparation Day, Sabbath and first day of the week), and that the Messiah was put to death in 31 A.D. -- then right here you have proof that the weekly cycle kept by the Jews of Yeshua's day was totally different to that we keep today! Why? Because in 31 A.D. the Sabbath after Yeshua's death falls on a THURSDAY according to our Gregorian calendar!

How Should We Determine the Weekly Sabbath?

In order to correctly observe YEHOVAH God's weekly Sabbath day, how do we determine when the phases of the moon occur? Should we "observe" the new moon like the Jews did during the Second Temple period? Or should we follow the calendar the Jews have preserved for us today? Write for the articles, YEHOVAH God’s True Calendar, Should Christians Observe the New Moons? and When Should the First Month of YEHOVAH’s Year Start?

The information I have presented in this article is by no means exhaustive but, in order to keep this study at a reasonable length, I am going to defer more evidence to future articles. To recap, it is becoming more and more evident that the age-old arguments about WHICH day the Sabbath falls on (i.e., Saturday or Sunday) have been totally misguided and have completely missed the point! The Biblical and historical references show that the weekly cycle -- as kept by the Israelites in the Old Testament and the Jews and Christians in the New Testament -- was totally different to ours today and revolved around the lunar calendar -- the same calendar used to determine the new moons and feast days.

 

 

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