Lunar Sabbath Debunked (Introduction)
Lunar Sabbath debunked?
The calendar has been one of the most difficult truths to figure out of all the many deceptions that we have been given. As a result, it is not something that one can be dogmatic about.
Just a Word has largely left it alone, content only to tell why we believe the calendar we follow is the closest thing to the biblical calendar. However, a comment on our Facebook page has led me to collate this post.
One thing is for sure, we go by the warning from the book of Jubilees, that if we do not use a 364 days year, then we will go wrong according to the Sabbaths and the feast days. So we believe that if a calendar is not 364 days, then it is “off.”
And all the children of Israel will forget and will not find the path of the years, and will forget the Months, and Seasons, and Sabbaths and they will go wrong as to all the order of the years.
For I know and from henceforth will I declare it unto thee, and it is not of my own devising; for the book (lies) written before me, and on the heavenly tablets the division of days is ordained, lest they forget the feasts of the covenant and walk according to the feasts of the Gentiles after their error and after their ignorance. For there will be those who will assuredly “MAKE OBSERVATIONS OF THE MOON −how (it) DISTURBS THE SEASONS and comes in from year to year TEN DAYS TOO SOON.
For this reason the years will come upon them when they will Disturb (the order), and make an Abominable (Day) the Day of Testimony, and an Unclean Day a Feast Day, and they will confound all the days, the holy with the unclean, and the unclean day with the holy; for THEY WILL GO WRONG AS TO THE MONTHS AND SABBATHS AND FEASTS AND JUBILEES.
For this reason I command and testify to thee that thou mayst testify to them; for after thy death thy children will disturb (them), so that THEY WILL NOT MAKE THE YEAR THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY−FOUR DAYS ONLY, and for this reason they will go Wrong as to the Months and Seasons and Sabbaths and Festivals, and they will eat all kinds of blood with all kinds of flesh.
LUNAR SABBATH CLAIM
The big problem is, everyone seems to believe they have the right calendar, which is why we never make a bold, dogmatic claim that we have.
These claimants (that their calendar is the right one) include those who ignore the 364 days warning in the book of Jubilees.
There is one group (Lunar Sabbatarians) above all others who believe they have it right and everyone else has it wrong. This group ignores the 364-day warning from the book of Jubilees. Instead, they follow a 354-day calendar.
They are outstanding to me as there seems to be something consistent about them. They almost always accompany their teachings with warnings of doom for not keeping the lunar calendar. They use a “you had better or else” scare tactic.
By the way, their general approach brings these verses to life:
Jas 3:16-17 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
The scare tactic worked on getting me to seriously check out its validity. I thought: “These guys must have it figured out to be making such bold claims.”
Then I decided to prove all things. However, it didn’t work out so well for the lunar Sabbath claim according to what I found.
So in order not to re-invent the wheel, I remember that my former pastor had written a teaching in our WhatsApp group debunking the lunar Sabbath. I revisited it, and have posted it here.
Without further ado, let me share the lunar Sabbath debunked, by Pastor Robert Walker.
Is Lunar Sabbath Supported by Scriptures?
A program was aired locally in Jamaica about the lunar sabbath being the correct sabbath as opposed to the seven days weekly cycle sabbath. But is this doctrine supported by scriptures?
Let me share a little in defense of the truth.
What is lunar sabbath?
So according to the lunar sabbath keepers, the sabbath is fixed on the 8,15, 22, 29 of every lunar month. Which is determined by the moon phases.
HOW IS THE SABBATH DETERMINED
But how was the sabbath determined? 👇🏾 The creation account in Genesis 2 plainly teaches that the weekly Sabbath cycle was not based on the heavenly luminaries but simply on the seven days in the original creation week put in perpetual motion by YAHUAH: 👇🏾
Gen 2:2 And on the seventh day Elohim ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
Gen 2:3 And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which Elohim created and made.
The reason the Sabbath is the Sabbath is not because of an association with the new moon and other lunar phases. Rather, it is because YAHUAH Himself blessed it and set it apart on the final day of creation week.
According to Lunar Sabbath keepers, the Sabbath in the first week of the month falls on the 8th day.
Also, what do they do with the two extra days of the month? 🤔🤔
LUNAR SABBATH DEBUNKED: BIBLICAL ACCOUNTS OF THE MESSIAH
When researching this topic historically, we don’t need to go any further in history than the time period that Yahusha the Messiah was born into. He not only teaches us with his words but with his actions. He is our Rabbi.
We know it is recorded that he knew no sin, so if he was keeping a false Sabbath in the first century, then according to the pronouncements from lunar Sabbatarians, he would be damned if he kept the wrong calendar.
However, we do know he kept the sabbath the exact time the Jews kept it in the first century 👇🏾
Luke 4:16 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.
The first-century disciples also did the same:👇🏾
Acts 17:2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
So when it comes to the proper Biblical calendar, we need to go back no further in time than when our Savior walked this earth. 👏🏾👏🏾
Lunar sabbath proponents claim that the lunar sabbath was established in Genesis but was replaced by today’s continuous Sabbath cycle soon after the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity.
Thus, lunar Sabbatarians would have us believe that the remnant who returned to the land of Israel were keeping a false sabbath. That means, Yahusha was following a false calculation or it was corrected back to a lunar sabbath calculation, but is that so?
Most sabbath scholars, and I agree 👇🏾 “This would have been front-page news! ” Yet, not one word in Scripture about it, not even in the Talmud which contains recorded discussions on minute matters.
Yahusha never rebuked the Pharisees for keeping the wrong weekly sequence.
So let’s look on Some events in Yahusha’s life that disproves Lunar Sabbaths👇🏾
LUNAR SABBATH DEBUNKED: THE LAST GREAT DAY
Joh 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Yahusha stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
In John 7:37 it is recorded that on the “last great day” of the Feast of Tabernacles (a high Sabbath that always falls on the 22nd day of the month)
Yahusha cried out, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink!”
In chronological sequence, John 8:1-2 says, “Yahusha went unto the mount of Olives.
And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.” So now it’s the 23rd day of the month.
Chapter 9 is a continuation of the events of that same day when he heals a man of blindness. We are told that this was the weekly Sabbath, the 23rd of the month, verse 14.
What is this account saying?
Simple this; lunar Sabbatarians say the lunar sabbath falls on the 8th, 15th, 22nd and the 29th of each month. So this historical account violates this provable 23rd day Sabbath. Oh maybe it was a leap sabbath 😂🙊
Follow the sequence of events: John 7:37-38; 8:1-2, and John 9:1-3, 14, 16.
LUNAR SABBATH DEBUNKED: PASSOVER
A weekly sabbath defender has this to say “Another math meltdown for the lunar sabbath scheme comes with Passover, which falls on the 14th of the month of Abib,” which is the day Yahusha was put to death.
Yahusha was laid in the tomb at the end of Passover day the 14th, just before sunset when the 15th started. Which is a high day sabbath, being the first day of Unleavened Bread.
He rose three days later (Matt. 12:40), making it the end of the 17th of Abib. He came out of the tomb just before sunset at the end of the weekly Sabbath because the two Marys found the tomb already empty at “the end of the Sabbath,” Matthew 28:1
Lunar Sabbatarians say that the Sabbath must fall either on the 15th, but here on the most important week in all of human history the weekly Sabbath falls on the 17th!
So Yahusha was buried at the threshold of a sabbath and was risen at the end of a sabbath, three days after, from the 15th – 17th.
So Yahusha never lived in a lunar sabbath culture, and he certainly didn’t die in one. That means also, that if the lunar Sabbath is the right Sabbath, the Messiah would have been one big sinner!
HISTORIC ACCOUNT FROM THE TALMUD
The Jewish Talmud; Jewish book of Jewish oral laws and rabbinic discussions, sheds light on first century (and after) Jewish beliefs and practices. We get valuable insights into their meticulous religious world.
Does the Talmud support or hint at a lunar sabbath observance? Nope! as we will see.
In this quote, we will examine a difference of opinion between Hillel and Shammai on what blessing needed to be recited if the “new moon falls on a Sabbath.”
Benediction on the sanctity of the day in the morning and evening prayers it is also included in that of the additional prayer. But do Beth Shammai uphold the view that the mention of the New Moon is to be included? Was it not in fact taught: If a New Moon falls on a Sabbath, Beth Shammai ruled: One recites in his additional prayer eight benedictions and Beth Hillel ruled: Seven? This is indeed a difficulty.” Talmud – Mas. Eiruvin 40b
If they were keeping the Lunar Sabbath, the New Moon can never fall on a Sabbath because the Lunar Sabbath is never on the first day of the month. Only on a seven-day cycle independent of the moon phases can a new moon fall on a sabbath.
Brian Elliott: Sure you want to cite Talmud as a reputable source?
Pastor Walker: It is when it comes on to Jewish practice. Same way we quote from Greek sources regarding what they believed and practiced in ancient times. Quoting an historical text is not a validation of the content but only as a proof of its historicity.
Remember Yahusha kept the same day they observed as the sabbath day. That’s the same day that is mentioned in the Talmud. Only with a lot of man-made rituals attached to it
Brian Elliott: OK, great.
Pastor Walker: So the point is this; according to the Talmudic rulings between the two rabbi schools, they never observed a lunar sabbath.
Remember, this is how their (lunar sabbath) calendar works, the new moon day is like a sabbath, followed by 6 workdays, then an 8th-day sabbath, then another extra day (limbo day).
So we see that the above quote concerning a difference of opinion wouldn’t have been recorded if they kept the Lunar Sabbath.
LUNAR SABBATH DEBUNKED: THE MISHNAH
Here is another quote from the Mishnah (Talmud); the Mishnah records what the first-century temple priests did with the non-meat portions of the Passover Lamb:
“The bones, and the sinews, and the nothar of the paschal lamb are to be burnt on the sixteenth. If the sixteenth falls on the Sabbath, they are to be burnt on the seventeenth, because they do not override either the Sabbath or the festival.” Talmud – Pesachim 83a
What does that reveal?
Simple, with the Lunar Sabbath, there is no such thing as the sixteenth day of the month falling on the Sabbath.
This is a reference to the acts of first-century priests who certainly did not keep the Lunar Sabbath. These are the practices observed during the temple era when Yahusha and His disciples lived.
LUNAR SABBATH DEBUNKED: QUOTE FROM JOSEPHUS (1ST CENTURY JEWISH HISTORIAN)
Here is a quote from Josephus (Jewish historian) quoting a Greek historian’s account.👇🏾
Josephus records that Agatharchides, a 2nd century BCE Greek Historian, wrote something quite interesting about Ptolemy’s defeat of Jerusalem:👇🏾
“Against Apion 1:208 “When Agatharchides had premised this story, and had jested upon Stratonice for her superstition, he gives a like example of what was reported concerning us, and writes thus:–
209 “There are a people called Jews, and dwell in a city the strongest of all other cities, which the inhabitants call Jerusalem, and are accustomed to rest on every seventh day;”
“on which times they make no use of their arms, nor meddle with husbandry, nor take care of any affairs of life, but spread out their hands in their holy places, and pray till the evening.” 👆🏾 referring to the weekly sabbath.
👇🏾 “Now it came to pass, that when Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, came into this city with his army, that these men, in observing this mad custom of theirs, instead of guarding the city, suffered their country to submit itself to a bitter lord; and their law was openly proven to have commanded a foolish practice”
So we see, Ptolemy was the General of Alexander the Great, who took over Jerusalem in 332 BCE. We see that the Jews would not defend themselves or take up arms on the Sabbath, which was “every seventh day.”
This Greek historian was noting a weekly cycles sabbath observance and not a lunar observance.
If it was lunar he certainly wouldn’t describe their Sabbath-keeping as something they did “every seventh day.” Rather, he would mention that they only keep a Sabbath on certain days of the month.
HOW DID SABBATH COME TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH SATURDAY
But how did sabbath which falls on the seventh day comes to be associated with Saturday?
Are we following a pagan Roman week rather than the week that they believe to be in the scriptures? Is the day called Saturday the real seventh-day sabbath? All the above questions are interrelated.
The truth is that Jews didn’t want the Sabbath to be associated with “Saturn,” an idol that had nothing to do with Judaism.
Even today in Israel the days of the week are not labeled with the names of pagan gods.
The name “Saturday/Day of Saturn” originated with the pagans, not with the Jews. The Jews repeatedly and unequivocally refer to the seventh day of the week as “the Sabbath.”
However when it comes to determining whether or not the Jews of the first century kept the Sabbath using the Lunar Sabbath or a recurring weekly Sabbath, examining the records of Roman historians and other writers can be helpful.
This lunar sabbath is a pernicious doctrine. It has destabilized sincere disciples.
LUNAR SABBATH VS SATURDAY SABBATH (HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS)
So we are looking at some of the historical accounts (and there are many) as to why the seventh-day sabbath is called Saturday on the weekly cycle on Gregorian calendar.
By the admission of Lunar Sabbath-keepers, and clear historical record, the Romans did not follow the moon phases when determining the weeks, or even the months for that matter.
So one scholar states “For this reason, we can look into the writings of Roman historians and other writers to see if the Romans associated the Jewish Sabbath with their “Saturday/Day of Saturn.”
“If they did associate the Sabbath with their Day of Saturn in the first century or before, this would be undeniable evidence that the Jewish week and the Roman week were both kept on the same recurring weekly cycle.”
70 – 84 CE (AD) Frontinus, a Roman Soldier who lived from c. 40 CE to 103 CE, wrote a book on military strategy called Strategematicon in 84 A.D. In it, he writes:👇🏾
“The deified Augustus Vespasian attacked the Jews on the day of Saturn, a day on which it is sinful for them to do any business.” Frontinus Stratagem 2.1.17.
So the seventh day which is the Jewish sabbath was called Saturn day by the Romans so they had to have been following the same weekly cycle, the only difference is that the pagans named the days of the week after their gods.
Continuing…. “The original Latin version of this book has “Saturnis” for Saturn, confirming that the Romans associated the Sabbath day with their “day of Saturn.” It is this association that resulted in the 7th day of the modern week being called “Satur-day.”
The apostate catholic church of Rome retained the pagan names of the week in the Gregorian calendar, so as to accommodate the pagan in paying homage to their gods.
So even today their names are still upon our lips when we mention the days of the week. Something the observant Jews would never do in the first century.
But today many of us who know are SADLY still walking in the so-called “Christian liberty.”
These teachings always makes me sad bro Brian, it caused me to see how far removed we are from the early believers. The truths they spilled their blood for we are denying with our lives.
The lies are entrenched in us, seventeen hundred years of conditioning and brainwashing.
“Since this book was written a mere 14 years after Vespasian’s (Titus’) destruction of Jerusalem, this is obviously very strong historical evidence directly from a first-century eyewitness, tying in the Sabbath with “Saturn’s day (Saturday).”
Another account 👇🏾
63 BCE – 229 CE Cassius Dio, a Roman Historian who lived from ca. 155 to 229 CE, using the historical annals of the Roman empire, wrote about 3 battles which the Roman empire had with the Jews.
The first battle was during a time when the Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, two brothers who were the offspring of the Maccabees, were engaged in a dispute over who would rule.
The Romans, through the actions of Pompey, came in and settled the dispute, siding with Hyrcanus. While speaking of Pompey’s battle, the Sabbath is mentioned.
The setting is 63 BCE: so states…
“Most of the city, to be sure, he took without any trouble, as he was received by the party of Hyrcanus; but the temple itself, which the other party had occupied, he captured only with difficulty.
For it was on high ground and was fortified by a wall of its own, and if they had continued defending it on all days alike, he could not have got possession of it.”
“As it was, they made an excavation of what are called the days of Saturn, and by doing no work at all on those days afforded the Romans an opportunity in this interval to batter down the wall.”
See that? The Romans are equating the Jewish weekly sabbaths to their day of Saturn.
“The latter, on learning of this superstitious awe of theirs, made no serious attempts the rest of the time, but on those days, when they came round in succession, assaulted most vigorously.
Thus the defenders were captured on the day of Saturn, without making any defense, and all the wealth was plundered.
The kingdom was given to Hyrcanus, and Aristobulus was carried away.” Cassius Dio Roman History 37.16.1-4
So we see that the Romans called the seventh-day sabbath, the day of Saturn.
And they speak of a cyclical re-occurrence in harmony with their seven days weekly cycle.
So the Romans took advantage of the fact that the Jews would not work on the Sabbath. When was the Sabbath? Again, the weekly Sabbath coincides with the Roman “days of Saturn.” So if the Jews were observing a lunar sabbath it would have been at odds with their day of Saturn🤔
A first century Jew Philo Judaeus (a contemporary of Yahusha ) wrote often of the Sabbath. In his The Decalogue, he was careful to define the Sabbath as follows:👇🏾
“The fourth commandment has reference to the sacred seventh day, that it may be passed in a sacred and holy manner. Now some states keep the holy festival only once in the month, counting from the new moon, as a day sacred to the Almighty; but the nation of the Jews keeps every seventh day regularly, after each interval of six days.” (Philo Judaeus, The Decalogue, XX, p.526)
“But after this continued and uninterrupted festival which thus lasts through all time, there is another celebrated, namely, that of the sacred seventh day after each recurring interval of six days … proclaiming a day of freedom to them also after every space of six days, … having a relaxation every six days…” (Philo Judaeus, The Special Laws, II, XV, sections 56, 66, 67; pp.574,575)
“It (the number ‘seven’) was also greatly honoured by Moses, a man much attached to excellence of all sorts, who described its beauty on the most holy pillars of the law, and wrote it in the hearts of all those who were subject to him, commanding them at the end of each period of six days to keep the seventh holy; abstaining from all other works which are done in the seeking after and providing the means of life, devoting that day to the single object of philosophizing with a view to the improvement of their morals, and the examinations of their consciences.” (Philo Judaeus, On the Creation, XLIII, sect. 128, p.18)
“and the miraculous nature of the sign was shown, not merely in the fact of the food being double in quantity, nor in that of its remaining unimpaired, contrary to the usual customs, but in both these circumstances taking place on the sixth day, from the day on which this food first began to be supplied from heaven, from which day the most sacred number of seven began to be counted, so that if any one reckons he will find that this heavenly food was given in exact correspondence with the arrangement instituted at the creation of the world.” “For God began to create the world on the first day of a week of six days: and he began to rain down the food which has just been mentioned on the same first day;” (Philo Judaeus, On the Life of Moses II, chapter XLVIII, section 266)
Philo was a Jewish philosopher, not someone that I particularly endorse. He mixes Torah with Greek Platonic philosophy. But what he is echoing is the authentic Jewish sabbath beliefs.
First-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus made record that the Sabbath of YAHUAH had been enjoined by most all nations:👇🏾
“Nay, farther, the multitude of mankind itself have had a great inclination of a long time to follow our religious observances; for there is not any city of the Grecians, nor any of the barbarians, nor any nation whatsoever, whither our custom of resting on the seventh day hath not come…” (Flavius Josephus, Against Apion/Antiquites of the Jews, Book 2, section 40:282)
Can this be attested to? certainly!
SABBATH THE 7TH DAY OF THE WEEK IN OVER 100 LANGUAGES
Williams Jones, a Seventh Day Baptist of the 19th century, collected the names of the days of the week of the various nations into a publication entitled A Chart Of The Week. In this chart, Jones documented the truth of the Sabbath being identified as the 7th day of the week, in over 100 languages. 👇🏾
Here is some of the documentation, collected by William Jones, of the seventh day of the week being Sabbath as evidenced by the names given the 7th day in the weekly cycle: Ancient Syriac: shab-ba-tho (“Sabbath”) Chaldee Syriac (Kurdistan and Urumia, Persia): shaptu (“Sabbath”)
Arabic (western Asia, northern and western Africa): as-sabt (“the Sabbath”) Arabic (ancient): shi-yar (“chief or rejoicing day”)
Samaritan (Nablus, Palestine): shab-bath (“Sabbath”) Falashas (Abyssinia): yini sanbat (“the Sabbath”).
There is something interesting with the Falasha Jews. They have been cut off and isolated from their Jewish brethren for over two thousand years, since the Babylonian captivity, free from the pagan influence of Babylon, Greece and Rome. They were miraculously discovered in the 80’s. Guess what? They have been keeping a weekly sabbath since ancient times, as handed down to them.
Maltese (Malta): is-sibt (“the Sabbath”) Ethiopic (Abyssinia): san-bat (“Sabbath”) Coptic (Egypt): pi sabbaton (“the Sabbath”). Persian (Persia): shambah (“Sabbath”) Armenian (Armenia): shapat (“Sabbath”) Kurdish (Kurdistan): shamba (“Sabbath”).
The list goes on. The point is; all those are words for Sabbath amongst the nations. All acknowledging the seven-day sabbath.
In sum, the lunar sabbath is invalidated, scripturally, historically and culturally.
Lunar Sabbath debunked? Judge for yourself. As Apostle Sha’ul said, let every man be fully pursuaded in his own mind. The video below does a great job of debunking the Gregorian, lunar and lunisolar calendars. I do encourage you to watch it as it does an awesome job of highlighting the deficiencies in all of them.
Next, you may want to look at When does the Sabbath Begin to find out what times of the day the biblical Sabbath was observed.