BibleTruth.cc

"Doctrines of Demons" Series

The Lunar Sabbath

Is the Sabbath Day Regulated By the New Moon?

By David M Rogers

www.BibleTruth.cc

Published: May 2012

Table of Contents

The Lunar Sabbath

Why the Lunar Sabbath Theory is the Latest Craze

A Point By Point Refutation of the Lunar Sabbath Theory

The Sabbath of the Creation Account

The Sabbath as a Moed (Appointed Time)

The Three Categories of Days

The First Three Months of the First Year Out of Egypt

First Month - The Month of the Aviv

Second Month - The Month of the Manna

Third Month - The Month of Sinai

How Did David Know That "Tomorrow is the New Moon"?

Definitive Proof That the Lunar Sabbath Theory is Wrong

Shavuot Instructions Preclude the Possibility of a Lunar Sabbath System

Messiah's "Sign of Jonah" Demonstrates the Impossibility of the Lunar Sabbath Theory

The Probable Calendar of the First Three Months

An Appeal to My Lunar Sabbath Friends


The Hebraic Roots Movement has caught the attention of a lot of people.  Jews and Christians have been exploring their biblical roots and have been leaving their churches and synagogues behind to find a gathering of like minded people who love the Creator Elohim and his Torah.  The Jews are being introduced to the Messiah who is the Prophet like Mosheh, and Christians have been discovering the foundation of all biblical truth - the Torah of Elohim.

As we have been given insights into the meaning of the Bible and have been coming out of "Babylon," we have been changing much about our worship habits and lifestyle habits.  Leaving tradition behind, it is exciting and fulfilling to find out from the Scriptures the way Elohim wants us to live.  And so many of the customs, teachings and traditions we grew up with are being tossed as we have discovered the sinister source of these false teachings.

But the thrill of new discovery can sometimes be addictive.  As a result, many believers of the Hebraic Roots continue to search for new teachings, new lifestyle changes and new and different ways of biblical interpretation.  Thus, they face the danger Paul warned about concerning "every wind of doctrine."

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. (Ephesians 4:14)

Sadly, there are some who are seeking for change merely for the sake of change.  These run into the problem of being tossed about... by the craftiness of men.

At the rate they are going, there may some day be as many false doctrines being propagated in the Messianic congregations as there are in the Christian churches!  Well, Christianity has had a long time to entertain false prophets and false doctrines, so it may take a little while for the Messianics to catch up.

The Lunar Sabbath

One such false doctrine, formed from the craftiness of men which is catching sincere believers and carrying them away to ridiculous extremes, is the teaching that the seventh day Sabbath is based on the lunar calendar.  The traditional view of the Sabbath is that the day of rest instituted at creation is simply the seventh day of the week.  The weeks follow after one another in perpetuity.  Thus, the Sabbath day occurs regularly, every seventh day.

But the Lunar Sabbath theory purports that the Sabbath is not just every seventh day - the seventh day of every week.  In that system, the Sabbath is the seventh day after six working days, and the count is reset at the beginning of every month.  This results in a Sabbath day that is not every seventh day.  Following the fourth Sabbath in the lunar cycle, there may be as many as nine days until the next Sabbath!

While there is no consensus on all the legs of the Lunar Sabbath theory, the majority view basically holds to the tenet that there are three distinct types of days in the month.  First, there is the new moon day.  Second, there are the six working days.  And third, there is the Sabbath.  In their view, these three type of days can never overlap.  For example, the Sabbath could never fall on a new moon day or on a working day.  Nor could the new moon day also be a working day.

The new moon day is always the first day of the month.  Then, days two through seven of the month are the six working days, followed by the eighth day of the month which is the seventh day of the week - the Sabbath day.  This pattern of six working days followed by the Sabbath goes through the rest of the month.  Every month follows this pattern,  Thus, the new moon day is the first day of the month.  The Sabbath days are always on the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th days of the month in the view of the Lunar Sabbath system.

Every calendar month looks like this:

The Month According to the Lunar Sabbath Theory

1

2 3 4 5

6

7

8

 
 

9

10

11 12 13 14 15  
  16 17 18 19 20 21 22  
  23 24 25 26 27 28 29

30

The "week" consists of the working days and the Sabbath day.  The new moon day is not part of the "week," nor is the thirtieth day on the month (if there is one that month).

In the view of the Lunar Sabbath theory, the new moon day is not a working day - it is a day of rest and worship.  And the thirtieth day of the month is a day of waiting (I guess).  In fact, no one knows if the thirtieth day is actually the thirtieth day of the month or the first day of the next month, until the next evening arrives, when they can either still not see the moon or they can see it and declare that day to be the second day of the week.  Thus, the thirtieth day is treated like a new moon day until they actually see if it was the new moon day or not!  Yet, to be fair, there is a high degree of certainty if there will be 29 or 30 days in any given month.

The primary reason given for insisting that the Sabbath day is regulated by the lunar cycle is Psalm 104:19:

He appointed the moon for seasons (Hebrew moedim): the sun knoweth his going down. (KJV)

And compare this to Leviticus 23:2-3:

Speak to the sons of Yisrael and say to them: 'These are my appointments (Hebrew, moedim), the appointments of Yahuwah, which you are to proclaim as set apart assemblies.  There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of set apart assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to Yahuwah.'

Since the moedim are regulated by the moon, and since Leviticus 23 lists the Sabbath as the first of the moedim, their conclusion is that the Sabbath then must be regulated by the lunar cycle.  At first blush, this seems reasonable.   But they believe that in spite of the total lack of any other instruction or reference in the Bible about the Sabbath day being connected with the lunar cycle.  To the contrary, the Sabbath day is said to be the seventh day of the week many times in Scripture.

This is only a summary of the Lunar Sabbath theory so that the reader may have a bird's eye view of what this theory purports.  We will break it down into a detailed analysis later on in this study article.

Why the Lunar Sabbath Theory is the Latest Craze

There are several reasons why the Lunar Sabbath Theory has been so compelling for Messianic believers to believe and adopt.  It is the latest fad doctrine to come down the pike.  Though proponents insist that this lunar Sabbath cycle has always been in existence, there are really other reasons why this renewed cycle of weeks each new month has been so well received.  We will name a few.

First, many Messianics are ever longing for new teachings, new discoveries, new practices.  Many of us have already had to make so many changes in our lifestyle and worship as we have discovered our Hebraic Roots, the relevance of the Torah and all the set apart days, and the realization of the true name of the Father and the Son.  One reaches a point where we begin to expect more changes to come.  Thus, some of the Hebraic Roots Movement have become hooked on change.  When not enough changes keep coming, those who are susceptible to change look for it wherever they can find it.

So, the Lunar Sabbath theory is appealing to them.  It certainly calls for major revisions in the way they count days and weeks.  It requires major overhauls in Sabbath keeping and calendar and moon watching.  It appeals to the feeling that they are even more "set apart" than the brothers who hold to a traditional Sabbath day approach.  It leaves their proponents thinking they are doing Elohim's will even more nobly than others who have come out of the Christian Church.

Second, and related to the previous, the Lunar Sabbath Theory is appealing on the presumption that every doctrine and every practice of Jews and Christians has been corrupted over the course of time.  The brothers in the Hebraic Roots Movement have become all too aware of the dangers of using man made tradition to dictate a religious doctrine.  So the Lunar Sabbath does not claim tradition or precedent as the reason why they insist that this is the true way of reckoning the Sabbath.  Yes, we all know that "our fathers have inherited lies."  So it stands to reason, in their view, that everything we have believed and have been doing in the Christian Church must be thrown in the trash and all our practices must be different from anything others have been guarding.  They feel like they must reinvent the wheel.

On that basis, the Lunar reckoning of the Sabbath makes sense.  It is very strange and different from anything practiced in Churchianity.  And even further, it distances those who hold to it from the Jewish practice and tradition of keeping the Sabbath every seventh day, a practice which the Lunar Sabbath brethren insist came from Babylon and not from the Scriptures.

Yet a third reason why the Lunar Sabbath theory is so enticing is that it seems to appeal to the natural.  What I mean is this: The Lunar Sabbath people insist that the simplicity of looking at the moon can let you know when the true Sabbath day is.  If the moon is exactly at the quarter stage - that is, when you can clearly see exactly half of the moon, it is a Sabbath day.  Then when the moon is full, that is the second Sabbath of the month.  Then, at the third quarter stage - when the other half of the moon is exactly displayed in the sky, the third Sabbath has arrived.  And finally, at the night of the final sliver fading into darkness, the fourth Sabbath of the month is here.

Isn't that easy?  Sure it is.  So that must make it right, right?  Not really.  The problem is that the Bible doesn't tell us that the Sabbath occurs at these exact phases of the moon.  But it sure sounds good and feels nice.  Too bad that an appeal to our sense of "natural" is not a legitimate criterion for sound Biblical doctrine.

Fourth, and finally, the Lunar Sabbath theory appeals to the pride of our intellect.  It is so clever the way the whole system works out (in their thinking), that it must be correct.  The person or people who have figured out for us this elaborate plan for reckoning the Sabbath must really be smart.  And since they are so smart and intellectually superior than the rest of us, then who are we to question them or doubt their integrity or the veracity of this Lunar Sabbath teaching?  Therefore, because it is so "smart," the Lunar Sabbath theory must be correct.

A Point By Point Refutation of the Lunar Sabbath Theory

So, let's break open our Scriptures and take a look at the claims of the Lunar Sabbath theory.  We must be careful not to fall into the common error of biblical interpretation of which many Christians are guilty.  They so often take their belief system and impose it upon the biblical text.  This always leads to affirming what one already believes.

Dispensationalists are especially prone to do this.  They take their doctrine and read it into the text and conclude that the text is teaching their doctrine, rather than what is actually happening when their doctrine controls their interpretation of the text.  So, as we examine the pertinent biblical texts, we must let the text say what it is saying and not insist that its saying what we want it to say.

We begin our analysis of the Sabbath "in the beginning."  We start in the opening account of creation in Genesis.

The Sabbath of the Creation Account

The first account of the establishment of the Sabbath day rest is given in a simple, straight-forward manner.  Genesis chapter one describes in some detail the order of created things.  It starts with Elohim creating heaven and earth, separating light from darkness, etc.  At the end of each section, it concludes with, "and the evening and the morning were the first day," and "the evening and the morning were the second day," etc.  Each of the first six days Elohim creates and forms something.

Then the record tells us this about the seventh day:

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.  By the seventh day Elohim had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  And Elohim blessed the seventh day and separated it, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:1-3)

It is noteworthy to observe that there is no mention of the month or the moon in the account of creation and the seventh day.  The seventh day of the first week of heaven and earth is declared to be the day that Elohim rested from all his work.

When we come to the Ten Words (the Ten Commandments) in Exodus 20:8-11, we have this instruction about the Sabbath:

Remember the Sabbath day to set it apart.  For six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahuwah your Elohim; on it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, or your male servant, or your female servant, or your cattle, or your resident foreigner who is in your gates.  For in six days Yahuwah made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day; therefore Yahuwah blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart.

This pattern of working for six days and then resting on the seventh day is based upon what Yahuwah did in creation week when he rested on the seventh day.  Again, no mention is made of the moon or the month, a lunar cycle or a special way of counting the six days and then the seventh.  It merely instructs us to rest on the seventh day.

Later on in Exodus 31:13-17, the Sabbath day is described as a sign:

"Tell the sons of Yisrael, 'Surely you must keep my Sabbaths, for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am Yahuwah who separates you.  So you must keep the Sabbath, for it is set-apart for you. Everyone who defiles it must surely be put to death; indeed, anyone who does any work on it, then that life will be cut off from among his people.  Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of complete rest, set-apart to Yahuwah; anyone who does work on the seventh day must surely be put to death.  And the sons of Yisrael must keep the Sabbath to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.  It is a sign between me and the sons of Yisrael forever; for in six days Yahuwah made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed."

As before, the simple instruction is to work for six days and then rest on the seventh day, just as our Creator worked for six days and rested on the seventh.  There is no mention of this counting of days to be based on the lunar cycle or the new moon.  It simply states that work is done for six days and then the seventh day is a day of rest.  And the sons of Israel are to keep this pattern of working six days and then resting on the seventh.

In Leviticus 23:2-4, we are given further instructions about the seventh day Sabbath observance:

Speak to the sons of Yisrael and tell them, 'These are Yahuwah's appointed times which you must proclaim as set-apart assemblies--my appointed times: Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, a set-apart assembly. You must not do any work; it is a Sabbath to Yahuwah in all the places where you live. These are Yahuwah's appointed times, set-apart assemblies, which you must proclaim at their appointed time.'

As in each of the instructions before it, this time the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week following six days of work.  But even though the Sabbath is declared to be and appointed time (Hebrew moed), the Sabbath day is not connected with the lunar cycle, a new moon or anything other than a simple counting to six and then the seventh day for resting.

And finally, in Deuteronomy 5:12-15, where the Ten Commandments are rehearsed by Mosheh to all Yisrael, the Sabbath days is described again:

Guard the day of the Sabbath to set it apart just as Yahuwah your Elohim has commanded you.  You are to serve and do all your work in six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahuwah your Elohim. On that day you must not do any work, you, your son, your daughter, your male slave, your female slave, your ox, your donkey, any other animal, or the foreigner who lives with you, so that your male and female slaves, like yourself, may have rest.  Recall that you were a slave in the land of Mitzrayim and that Yahuwah your Elohim brought you out of there by strength and power; therefore, Yahuwah your Elohim has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

We find the exact same pattern here as in other instructions about the Sabbath day.  Six days work is to be done but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest.  Nowhere is the lunar cycle mentioned or alluded to here in this clearly laid out instruction about the Sabbath.

As a matter of fact, NOWHERE in all the Scriptures is the seventh day of rest following six days of work ever connected with the new moon or the lunar cycle or the lunar calendar.  The Bible never says any such thing.  To suggest belief in the Lunar Sabbath theory, when the Sabbath is never connected by any instruction of Scripture to the Lunar cycle, is irresponsible and irrational.  Even worse, it is adding commandments to the Scripture, a practice which is strictly forbidden by the Torah itself several times.

The mere lack of any hint of the Sabbath being connected to the lunar cycle implies that the Lunar Sabbath theory is a man made doctrine with absolutely no Biblical basis.  Indeed, the simplicity of the Sabbath commandment, everywhere it occurs, is testimony to the fact that the Sabbath is a day of rest following six working days.  And this pattern is perpetual.

The Sabbath as a Moed (Appointed Time)

Now the Sabbath day is proclaimed to be an Appointed Time, as we noted above:

Speak to the sons of Yisrael and tell them, 'These are Yahuwah's appointed times which you must proclaim as set-apart assemblies--my appointed times: Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, a set-apart assembly. You must not do any work; it is a Sabbath to Yahuwah in all the places where you live. These are Yahuwah's appointed times, set-apart assemblies, which you must proclaim at their appointed time.' (Leviticus 23:2-4)

The Hebrew word moed (pl. moedim) is translated as appointed time, or appointment, or even season or set time.  It refers to the special days which the Almighty has set apart for his special purposes.  These days are times when Yahuwah meets with his people; thus they are called appointments.

Proponents of the Lunar Sabbath theory, taking note of the fact that the Sabbath is a moed, claim that Psalm 104:19 is a primary text providing proof positive that the Sabbath day is regulated by the new moon.

He appointed the moon for seasons (Hebrew moedim): the sun knoweth his going down. (KJV)

The NIV renders the Hebrew text this way:

The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.

The Hebrew could be rendered either of two ways: "He made the moon for seasons," or "The moon makes for seasons."  The first is preferable.

Now we have to give due consideration to this interpretation.  It does indeed say that the moon is for the appointed times, and the Sabbath is an appointed time!  But one statement does not a doctrine make.  There is no other affirming passage of Scripture which describes the moon as regulating the Sabbath.  The Torah requires two or three witnesses to establish a thing.

So, how do we explain Leviticus 23:2-4 in light of Psalm 104:19?  If the Sabbath is a moed, but we say it isn't regulated by the moon, how can this be?  First, as we already pointed out at length above, there is no Scripture which indicates or even alludes to the Sabbath being regulated by the lunar cycle.  But each of the other annual moedim as listed in Leviticus 23 are explicitly attached to a certain day of a named month, and are thus clearly regulated by the lunar cycle.

Second, the very way that the Sabbath and the other moedim are listed and described in Leviticus 23 strongly indicates that the Sabbath is not regulated by the lunar cycle while the rest of the moedim are.  Leviticus 23 begins by declaring the "appointed times of Yahuwah."

Speak to the sons of Yisrael and tell them, 'These are Yahuwah's appointed times which you must proclaim as set-apart assemblies--my appointed times: Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, a set-apart assembly. You must not do any work; it is a Sabbath to Yahuwah in all the places where you live. (Leviticus 23:2-3)

There is nothing said in the description of the Sabbath which connects it to the lunar cycle.  It only mentions what every other instruction passage of Scripture says about the Sabbath, and that is that six days a man shall work but then rest on the seventh day.

Leviticus 23 then goes on:

These are Yahuwah's appointments, the set apart assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: Yahuwah's Pesach begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month.  On the fifteenth day of that month Yahuwah's Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast (Leviticus 23:4-6).

The text repeats the declaration that "these are Yahuwah's appointments."  Then the Pesach is announced.  The Pesach is to occur on a specific day on a particular month of the year.  Obviously, this specific pinpointing of a certain day in a certain month is controlled by the lunar cycle.  The fourteenth day of the first month is when the Pesach is slaughtered.

Then the text goes on the inform us that the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the fifteenth day of the first month and lasts for seven days (taking us through the end of the twenty-first day of the month).  Again, this is without a doubt regulated by the lunar cycle.  The moon cycles mark for us the beginning of each month and therefore the counting of days in each month.

Now the rest of Leviticus 23 lists each of the annual moedim and gives specific details about which day of which month each of these occur every year.  So, all of the annual moedim are regulated and controlled by the lunar cycle.

So, Leviticus 23 indicates by its specifics that the Sabbath is a weekly moed not regulated by the lunar cycle, while the annual moedim are most certainly regulated by the lunar cycle and must occur at exact days in a month and on a particular month of each year.

So why does Psalm 104:19 say that the moon was made for the moedim?  Well, in fact, this is true in general.  But, Leviticus 23 breaks down this statement into detail and describes for us which of the moedim are actually regulated by the moon and separates from the other moedim the one that isn't regulated by the lunar cycle.  This is not hard to understand.  The Bible has many statements in one place that get clarified and explained in another place.

With Psalm 104:19, the proponents of the Lunar Sabbath theory make way too much of a statement which was never intended to formulate a doctrine, but was merely a summary declaration of the purpose for the creation of the moon.

An article entitled, Beware of the "Lunar Sabbath" (http://www.eliyah.com/lunarsabbath.html), further suggests reasons why the argument by proponents of the Lunar Sabbath theory are wrong in their interpretation of Psalm 104:19.  First, the word moed ("appointed time") is used in Numbers 28:2-4 with reference to the morning and evening sacrifices:

"Give this command to the sons of Yisrael and say to them: 'See that you present to me at the appointed time (Hebrew moed) the food for my offerings made by fire, as an aroma pleasing to me.'  Say to them: 'This is the offering made by fire that you are to present to Yahuwah: two lambs a year old without defect, as a regular burnt offering each day.  Prepare one lamb in the morning and the other at twilight...

Here, this moed is most definitively NOT regulated by the moon.  The morning and evening sacrifices are regulated in time by the sun!  So, this use of moed demonstrates that NOT ALL the moedim are regulated by the moon.  Thus, to say that the Sabbath is not regulated by the moon (which we have demonstrated in several ways) does not detract from or conflict with the statement of Psalm 104:19.

And one final observation about our text in Psalm 104:19 should put to rest forever this false assertion of proponents of the Lunar Sabbath theory. 

The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the coneys.  The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. (Psalm 104:18-19, NIV)

The Hebrew parallelism reads literally like this:

The high mountains are for the goats...

He made the moon for the moedim....

Since these statements are parallel, then we should be able to see similarities in what they declare.  So, if there is ever a case when the goats do not live in the high mountains, then it is equally tenable that a moed may not be regulated by the moon.  Since it is true that not every goat in the world lives in the high mountains, though many of them do, then we can also conclude that not every moed is regulated by the moon, though many of them are.  Clearly the declaration of verses 18 and 19 are summary statements and are not intended to be a law.  The Lunar Sabbath theory falls apart under this kind of careful scrutiny.

The Three Categories of Days

Another major component of the Lunar Sabbath theory is the categorizing of days.  The Lunar Sabbath teaching purports that there are three separate types of days - the new moon day, the "working days" and the Sabbath day.  They root this teaching in one biblical text:

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The gate of the inner court facing east is to be shut on the six working days, but on the Sabbath day and on the day of the New Moon it is to be opened. (Ezekiel 46:1, NIV)

There it is!  Proof positive that there are three distinct types of days.  But what if the new moon falls on a Thursday (on the non-Lunar calendar month)?  Do they shut the gates or not?  There is no right answer for the Lunar Sabbath people.  By definition, the Sabbath day is not one of the working days, because we are commanded to work for six days and rest on the seventh.  But there is no such statement in Scripture about the new moon day.  Therefore, in their view, the new moon day can NEVER also be a working day.  It must be a separate day.

There are a few other verses that the Lunar Sabbath proponents cite as supporting their view of these three distinct types of days.  We will cite them here:

"As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and descendants endure.  From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says the LORD (Isaiah 66:22-23, NIV).

The people of the Lunar Sabbath theory contend that this utterance of the prophet implies that the new moon day is equal to the Sabbath in set-apartness, since all mankind will come to bow down before Yahuwah on those days.

Our response to this is that nowhere in all of the Torah is the new moon day ever listed or commanded to be set-apart, or that we need to cease from labor on that day, or that it is a special day of worship.  The new moon day is never said to be holy, nor is there a holy convocation commanded for the day as their is for the Sabbath day.  The new moon day is nothing like the Sabbath, if you consider the Torah to be your guide.

Another verse is,

Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, "When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?"-- skimping the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales... (Amos 8:4-5).

This citation is used to support the idea that every new moon day was a day of rest, since these wicked ones couldn't sell grain until the New Moon was over.

The explanation of this statement in Amos is that the new moon day of the seventh month is a set-apart day on which no work is to be performed.  All other new moon days appear to be just regular days.  Thus, the prophet was speaking about a particular incident when on Yom Teruah, these people were complaining.  There is no other biblical law or principle which could explain this saying by those who trample the needy.

Furthermore, there are several other strong objections to this idea of there being three categories of days.  First, it is true that the new moon day is the first day of the month.  But the Torah says almost nothing about the new moon day.  It says nothing about it being in a separate category of days.  It says nothing about the new moon day being set-apart or is to be a day of worship.  The only thing said about the new moon day is that the silver trumpets are to be blown over your offerings on that day (Numbers 10:10), and that there are special burnt offerings, grain offerings and drink offerings to be made on the new moon day (Numbers 28:11-15).  That's it!  That's pretty much all the Torah has to say about the new moon day.

Another objection to the Lunar Sabbath way of categorizing days is that there is no category for the thirtieth day of the month (when there is one).  What kind of day is this?  Is it a work day?  Is it a worship day?  The Bible says nothing, zero, zip about this other type of day.  And the proponents of the Lunar Sabbath theory ignore this elephant in the room, also.  They have no explanation for it.  Yet, by their own system, it must be a different type of day than the other three types, because it does not fit with nor meet the requirements to be classified in any of the other three types of days.

That extra day of the month is not a weekday.  It is not one of the six working days.  It is not a Sabbath.  And it is not a new moon day.  Then what is it?  It completely messes up the system of days and weeks as set forth by the Lunar Sabbath theory.  So, it must be a forth category of days.  But no one really knows what its purpose is and what can and cannot be done on that day.  It is a day in limbo.  No one really knows what to do with that extra day.  This anomaly of the Lunar Sabbath theory makes that theory look silly and ridiculous.

The First Three Months of the First Year Out of Egypt

Those who espouse the Lunar Sabbath theory say that they can prove that the first three months of the year when Israel came out of Egypt all had the same days of the month that were Sabbaths.  And if three months in a row all have the same pattern of numbered days, then every month of the year must be the same.

As we illustrated earlier, for the Lunar Sabbath people, every month looks like this:

The Month According to the Lunar Sabbath Theory

1

2 3 4 5

6

7

8

 
 

9

10

11 12 13 14 15  
  16 17 18 19 20 21 22  
  23 24 25 26 27 28 29

30

The Lunar Sabbath theory insists that the calendar of the first three months out of Egypt is exactly the same for each month.  Let's look at their "proof" that this is so.

First Month - The Month of the Aviv

The usual argument about the first month of the year Israel came out of Egypt epitomizes the sheer foolishness and error of the Lunar Sabbath theory.  Proponents of the Lunar Sabbath attempt to prove that the Sabbaths of that first month fell on the 8th, the 15th, the 22nd and the 29th.  Here's how they "prove" it.

They assert that the 15th of Aviv was a Shabbat.  They insist that this is what Deuteronomy 5:15 implies:

Remember that you were slaves in Mitzrayim and that Yahuwah your Elohim brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore Yahuwah your Elohim has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

They confirm this, in their minds, by insisting that the journey that day from Goshen to Ramses to Sukkoth was a mere "Sabbath day's journey."  And then Israel actually left Egypt on the 16th, which Numbers 33:3-6 suggests:

The sons of Yisrael set out from Rameses on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after the Pesach. They marched out boldly in full view of all the Mitzrites, who were burying all their firstborn, whom Yahuwah had struck down among them; for Yahuwah had brought judgment on their gods.  The sons of Yisrael left Rameses and camped at Succoth.  They left Succoth and camped at Etham, on the edge of the desert.

Since Succoth is within the borders of Egypt and the edge of the desert is not, then clearly on the 16th they literally left Egypt.  And that's it.  That's their proof that the 15th of Aviv was a Sabbath!

OK.  When I read this "proof" I did a double-take and a triple-take.  Where's the proof?  Was I missing something?  Is the proof so profound that I missed it?  No.  The truth is... there is no indication that the 15th of Aviv was a Sabbath.  Nothing at all is said about the sons of Israel resting on that day.  On the contrary, they were very busy packing, obtaining goods from the Egyptians and moving out with all of their earthly goods.  The only reason for thinking that the 15th of Aviv was a Sabbath is if it has to be so in order to validate your theology!  But there is no proof for it.

Deuteronomy 5:15 does not even imply that the day they began to move out was a Sabbath.  Deuteronomy 5:15 simply connects the Sabbath day, thematically, to the freedom the Almighty gave Israel on the day they were set free.  In no way does it indicate that the 15 of Aviv was a Sabbath.

We need not go any further to demonstrate the irrationality of the Lunar Sabbath theory.  This alone shows how desperate they are to make a point to prove their teaching.  But the Bible says no such thing.

Second Month - The Month of the Manna

When we come to the second month, we have no need to refute what is obviously so.  We are told:

The whole community of the sons of Yisrael set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Mitzrayim. (Exodus 16:1)

The account goes on to say that on the 15th day of the second month, Israel grumbled.  Yahuwah answered them and promised them meat in the evening and bread in the morning.  So, for six days the manna was on the ground in the morning.  And on the seventh day, it was not.

This very clearly shows us that the 15th of the second month was a Sabbath because the following morning was the first of six days of manna on the ground.  And the 22nd of that same month was a Sabbath, because the manna was not there on the ground on that day.

OK.  So that makes one month that clearly fits the monthly pattern shown by Lunar Sabbath proponents where the Sabbaths were on the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of every month.  But one month does not a pattern prove.  So, let's see if the third month helps out their cause.

Third Month - The Month of Sinai

The account of Sinai begins in Exodus 19:1, where we are told:

In the third month after the sons of Yisrael left Mitzrayim-- on the very day-- they came to the Desert of Sinai.

Much is made of the expression on the very day.  The Lunar Sabbath theory holds that it refers to the third in the expression in the third month.  So, they assert, it means the third day of the third month.

Next, the record indicates that Yahuwah spoke to Mosheh and told him to set apart the people for three days, and that on the third day he would appear to them on the mountain.  So, it follows that the Sinai event happened on the sixth day of the third month.

The Lunar Sabbath people cite the Book of Yahshar 82:6 as supporting this timetable:

And in the third month from the children of Yisrael's departure from Mitzrayim, on the sixth day of it, Yahuwah gave to Yisrael the ten mitzvoth/commands on Mount Sinai (from a pamphlet entitled, "Check Mate Material," a compilation of material from A. Bowen, Warren A Smith and the RAMYK)

Thus, the third month looks like this for the Lunar Sabbath theory:

The Third Month

1

2 3 4 5

6

7

8

 
 

9

10

11 12 13 14 15  
  16 17 18 19 20 21 22  
  23 24 25 26 27 28 29

30

Now there is something glaringly wrong that is staring us in the face in this calendar month.  Take notice of the fact that the sixth of the month lands on the fifth day of the workweek (Thursday) on this calendar.  That is the day, in their view, that Yahuwah appeared to Israel on Mount Sinai.

The problem with that is that we know that Yahuwah appeared to Yisrael on Mount Sinai at Shavuot.  This was the purpose of Shavuot - the Yahuwah had an appointment with his people and would appear to them.  Shavuot is one of the annual moedim (appointments).  The instruction about Shavuot tells us that it always occurs on the first day of the week, the day following the Sabbath:

'From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.  Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to Yahuwah.  From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to Yahuwah. (Levitucus 23:15-17)

Thus, Shavuot - the day of the wave offering of firstfruits - always lands on the first day of the week.  But the Lunar Sabbath theory puts Shavuot on a Thursday, the sixth day of the Lunar Sabbath calendar!

Isn't is perfectly clear that the clear instruction about the timing of Shavuot teaches us that the Lunar Sabbath calendar for the third month of the year when Yisrael came out of Egypt cannot be correct.  It is no overstatement to say that the Lunar Sabbath theory is glaringly wrong.  This is only one example of how Shavuot disproves the Lunar Sabbath theory.  We have more to say about Shavuot and the Lunar Sabbath theory below.

So, if their calendar for the third month is wrong, and the calendar must look a little different than they say it does, isn't it also quite clear that the Lunar Sabbath theory does not deliver on its promises.  It is wrong every way we look at it.

How Did David Know That "Tomorrow is the New Moon"?

We could go on and on presenting more "proofs" from the Lunar Sabbath theory and then dismantling these proofs with clear statements and instructions from the Bible.  But we will cover only one more here.  And that is the assertion that since David knew when the new moon was to occur, that this somehow proves the Lunar Sabbath theory.

The text in review comes from 1 Samuel 20:5-6.  David was trying to prove to Jonathan that Sha'ul was out to kill David.  So, they made plans to test his theory.

So David said, "Look, tomorrow is the New Moon festival, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow.  If your father misses me at all, tell him, 'David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.'

So, how did David know that the next day would be the New Moon?

After going to great lengths to explain how to recognize a new moon, which for him is a dark moon, Troy Miller, in an article entitled, "Tomorrow is the New Moon," explains how David knew when the new moon was to be:

So it was on the 29th day of the month that David said to Jonathan, "Tomorrow was (sic) the new moon."  David knew because that morning I believe the moon had come up before the sun meaning that the old month had not yet passed, which meant that it would be a 30 day (or whole) month, not a 29 day (deficient) one.  David understood that there would be two days of feasting (Day 30 and Day 1) which is why he requested that Jonathan come into field to shot the arrows on the third day (the day following the second day of t he new moon celebration).  The underlying Hebrew in 1 Samuel 20:27, 34 literally means the 2nd day of the new moon (celebration) not the 2nd day of the month as translated. (I asked a Hebrew student).

Wow!  By the authority of a Hebrew student (!) he can authoritatively insist on this.  So, if you don't know Hebrew, just ask someone else who doesn't know Hebrew, but is learning it.  He will always give you the correct analysis!

Actually, if the Lunar Sabbath theory were true, that would be a good explanation of how David knew.  But there is a simpler explanation about how David knew that "tomorrow will be the new moon."  It is as easy as this.

Every month has 29 or 30 days.  No month can have 31 days.  So, David could very easily know that "tomorrow is the new moon" if the day he was speaking this was already the 30th day of the month!  Under this condition, the next day had to be the New Moon day.  That's it.

So, David's statement can be understood by either the standard reckoning of the new moon or by the Lunar Sabbath theory.  But his statement offers no evidence or proof at all that the Lunar Sabbath theory is true.  If the preponderance of the evidence of Scripture supported the Lunar Sabbath theory, then we could say that David's statement fits that scenario.  But since Scripture does not support the Lunar Sabbath theory, then David's words still are easy to understand and they make sense.

Definitive Proof That the Lunar Sabbath Theory is Wrong

Now that we have completed a point by point refuting of the main tenants of the Lunar Sabbath theory, we have additional information that should "seal the deal" for anyone following this teaching.  There are a few clear cut, indisputable evidences from Scripture that the Lunar Sabbath theory is wrong.  We will present them here to put the "final nails in the coffin" of the Lunar Sabbath theory.  This is our "Check Mate Material."  (In an attempt to be humorous, I've used several metaphors in the preceding four sentences which the Lunar Sabbath teachers themselves used to promote their teachings.)

Shavuot Instructions Preclude the Possibility of a Lunar Sabbath System

We showed briefly above that the calendar for the third month of the year that Yisrael came out of Egypt cannot be the Lunar Sabbath calendar, since Shavuot must be on the first day of the week every year.  On their proposed calendar, Shavuot falls on a Thursday.  This is impossible.  It contradicts the very clear teaching about Shavuot.

But an equally compelling reason to reject the Lunar Sabbath theory is in the counting up to Shavuot.  Here is the instruction from the Torah:

From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.  Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to Yahuwah (Leviticus 23:15-16)

A first fruits offering was required on the day after the Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This is the "sheaf of the wave offering" being referring to in verse 15 above.  From that day, "the day after the Sabbath," which is the first day of the week, a counting was to begin.  So that day was "day 1."

The instruction is to count off "seven full weeks."  And then - the day after the seventh Sabbath - which was another first day of the week, was "day 50."  This is when Shavuot occurs, and a new grain offering is to be presented to Yahuwah.

Now, by this counting, the "seventh Sabbath" is day 49 in the count, since the day after the seventh Sabbath is day 50.  Agreed?  This requirement of counting the days indicates that there are no other days during this count than the standard 7 day weeks.  And there are 7 such standard weeks in the counting.

The Lunar Sabbath theory has an additional day at the beginning of each month and sometimes another extra day at the end of the month.  If the Lunar Sabbath calendar were true, it would be impossible to count 50 days beginning with the 1st day of the week and ending on the 1st day of the week.  On their calendar you would have to count 3 extra days.  This is why their "Sinai" day is on a Thursday on their calendar.  They tried to squeeze in 3 extra days that were not part of their 7 day week.

Doesn't this emphatically show that the Lunar Sabbath calendar cannot be true?  Indeed, the Lunar Sabbath calendar and their theory as a whole is shown to be another false doctrine and false teaching.

When one confronts a believer of the Lunar Sabbath theory with these indisputable problems Shavuot presents their view, it has been my experience, they tell you not to worry about that.  "That doesn't matter," they say.  "What is more important are the 50 some Sabbaths each year.  So you can ignore that one single Shavuot."  This reminds me of the Wizard in the famous old movie, The Wizard of Oz.  While Toto is trying to pull back the curtain to reveal his true identity, he yells in the microphone to the others, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

The teachers of the Lunar Sabbath theory do not want you to pull back the curtain to see what is behind their curtain.  They want you to ignore those "minor things" that don't fit in with their view.  Of course, this amounts to burying the head in the sand, since they don't want to be confronted by solid, biblical evidence that their theory doesn't hold up under scrutiny.

Let's not be swayed by slick sounding arguments supported by shoddy biblical interpretation and slight of hand trickery which the Lunar Sabbath theory extends to us.  The Bible is clear about these things.  And the Lunar Sabbath theory cannot stand the test of biblical soundness.

Messiah's "Sign of Jonah" Demonstrates the Impossibility of the Lunar Sabbath Theory

There is still another compelling proof of the impossibility of the Lunar Sabbath theory.  That proof comes from the experience of the Master Messiah and his time in the tomb.  Yahusha had prophesied to his disciples on many occasions, informing them that he would be in the grave three days and three nights, just as Jonah was in the belly of the sea creature:

He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Yonah.  For as Yonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:39-40)

This prophesy may have been the most important sign he gave his disciples, so its fulfillment had to be precise.  Read the full study article on the Sign of Yonah here.

But Messiah put another stipulation on this prophesy.  He said he would rise on the third day:

From that time on Yahusha began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Yerushalayim and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life (Matthew 16:21)

So how could the Master be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights and also rise on the third day.  There is only one way this could happen

Keep in mind that a full day in Hebrew reckoning begins in the evening (presumable at sundown).  So the evening comes first and then the morning part of the day.  The night and the day make up a full day.  Now, Yahusha was placed in the tomb just as the sun was going down at the end of the day.  So the count begins at night.  Night number one, day number one.  Night number two, day number two.  Night number three, day number three.  And then on that third day, he rises.

As I explained in the article cited above, Yahusha was crucified on the fourth day of the week (Wednesday) and was laid in the tomb as the sun was going down.  That means he was in the tomb Wednesday night and Thursday day, Thursday night and Friday day, Friday night and Saturday day. (Sorry for the use of the pagan, Gregorian names for days of the week, but its easier for most to think this way).  And on Sabbath day, near sunset, he rose from the grave.  Hallelu Yah!

But the calendar of the Lunar Sabbath theory makes it impossible for Messiah to be in the tomb for a full three days and three nights and at the same time rise on the third day.  Again, here is their calendar:

The Month Messiah Was Crucified According to the Lunar Sabbath Theory

1

2 3 4 5

6

7

8

 
 

9

10

11 12 13 14 15  
  16 17 18 19 20 21 22  
  23 24 25 26 27 28 29

30

The fourteenth day of the first month was when the Master was hung on the tree and died.  On the Lunar Sabbath calendar, this is the sixth day of the week.

Keep in mind that very early, while it was still dark, on the first day of the week, the tomb was discovered empty.  So, following the Lunar Sabbath theory reckoning, Messiah was placed in the tomb at sunset on the sixth day of the week.  So, let's count:  He was in the tomb the night of the Sabbath, the daytime of the Sabbath, and maybe the night of the first day of the week.  Then the tomb was discovered empty while it was still dark and sunrise imminent on the first day of the week.  That's only one night and one day for sure that Messiah was in the grave.  You might even be able to argue two nights and one day.  But that's all there is.

In order for the truthfulness and the integrity of the Messiah's prophesy to be maintained, he must be in the grave three full days and three full night and rise on the third day.  This is impossible under the constraints of the Lunar Sabbath theory.  So you have a choice.  Will you believe what the Master said, or will you believe the Lunar Sabbath theory and all its errors and misinterpretations which contradicts what the Master said?

Here is what the caendar looked like that month of Messiah's death, burial and resurrection:

The True Calendar Month of Messiah's Passion

 

4 5 6 7

8

9

10

 
 

11

12

13 14 15 16 17  
  18 19 20 21 22 23 24  
  25 26 27 28 29 30 31

 

The 14th was when the lambs were slaughtered and when Messiah was crucified.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread was from the 15th through the 21st.  Thus Messiah was in the tomb night and day on the 15th, 16th and 17th - a full three nights and three days.  And he rose on the 17th at sunset at the end of the day.  Then, the following morning, very early, the tomb was found empty.

The Probable Calendar of the First Three Months

We have demonstrated that the Lunar Sabbath calendar is impossible by many infallible proofs.  So, now it's time to show you what the actual calendar looked like for those first three months that Israel came out of Egypt.  So, without further ado, here it is:

The Month of the Aviv

 

3 4 5 6

7

8

9

The count
 

10

11

12 13 14 15 16  
Day 1 --> 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 <--day 7
  24 25 26 27 28 29 1

<--day 14

The Second Month

 

2 3 4 5

6

7

8

<--day 21
            

9

10

11 12 13 14 15 <--day 28
  16 17 18 19 20 21 22 <--day 35
  23 24 25 26 27 28 29

<--day 42

The Third Month

 

30 1 2 3

4

5

6

<--day 49
Shavuot -->

7

8

9 10 11 12 15  
  16 17 18 19 20 21 22  
  23 24 25 26 27 28 29

 

There are exactly 50 days from Aviv 17 (first day of the week and the beginning of the count) to 3rd Month 7th day (another first day of the week and Shavuot).

There are actually several other possibilities, each depending on whether the first month had 29 days or 30 days and whether the 2nd month had 29 or 30 days.  Here would be the calendar for the first 3 months if the 1st and the 2nd months have 30 days:

The Month of the Aviv

 

4 5 6 7

8

9

10

The count
 

11

12

13 14 15 16 17  
Day 1 --> 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 <--day 7
  25 26 27 28 29 30 1

<--day 14

The Second Month

 

2 3 4 5

6

7

8

<--day 21
            

9

10

11 12 13 14 15 <--day 28
  16 17 18 19 20 21 22 <--day 35
  23 24 25 26 27 28 29

<--day 42

The Third Month

 

30 1 2 3

4

5

6

             
Day 50 -->

7

8

9 10 11 12 13  
  14 15 16 17 18 19 20  
  21 22 23 24 25 26 27

 

It doesn't really matter whether the first and second month had 29 or 30 days.  Shavuot is still on the first day of the week, which will be either the 7th or the 8th day of the 3rd month (depending on the count of 29 or 30 days in the second month).  And this completes and unmistakably refutes the Lunar Sabbath theory.

An Appeal to My Lunar Sabbath Friends

I have many Lunar Sabbath friends.  A few of them I have met, most of them I have not.  But I know that you, my Lunar Sabbath friend, are intelligent and sincere in seeking truth.  We who call upon the name of the Almighty and guard his Word are all pressing on to know him better and to serve him in truth.  I know my Lunar Sabbath friends fall into this category.  You want to hear those words from the Master, also: "Well done, good and faithful servant."

I have rigorously refuted the Lunar Sabbath theory here.  But I don't hate those who hold to this view.  I want my Lunar Sabbath friends to consider what I have written here, and re-evaluate your practice of keeping Shabbat according to a Lunar calendar.  I think I have provided enough evidence for you to convince you of the wrongness of the Lunar Sabbath teaching.  I have not covered all the arguments for that theory, but I have shown you that the main tenants cannot be upheld.  And I have shown you several other reasons why the Lunar Sabbath theory must be incorrect.

Keep on serving YHWH.  But come back to the sensible practice of setting apart the seventh day, in a continuous cycling of weeks.  The enemy of our souls want to split us up and scatter us by any possible means he can convince us of.  The Lunar Sabbath theory is one of those devices that divides and scatters.  Come back to allowing the Bible to dictate your view of the Sabbath.  Give no place to man-made doctrine, no matter how intellectual or clever it may be.

END