Debunking the Lunar Sabbath
by Christine Egbert
Lunar Sabbatarians teach that each New Moon resets the weekly seventh-day Sabbath, which the LORD (Yahweh) established on the 7th Day of Creation. According to their hypothesis, when a month ends on Tuesday and a New Moon appears the next day, that day is not Wednesday. It is “New Moon Day.” Lunar Sabbatarians do not count New Moon Day as one of the six workdays or as a weekly Sabbath. They count the day after their New Moon Day as the first day of a six-day workweek. This mind-bending method of counting ensures Lunar Sabbatarians that every weekly Sabbath falls on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th day of each month.
Other groups of Lunar Sabbatarians, however, teach that each New Moon is day one of the new month, and their weekly Sabbath always falls on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and the 28th..
When a month has thirty or thirty-one days, Lunar Sabbatarians count them as “transitional” days of the moon. In other words, they do not count. Like new-moon-days, the thirtieth and thirty-first are non-days to Lunar Sabbatarians. It’s confusing, isn’t it?
God is Not the Author of Confusion
1 Corinthians 14:33 declares that God is not the author of confusion. The LORD God (Yahweh Elohim), who gave explicit directions for building the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle, would not enact this strange method of counting to the Sabbath without providing the formula. As the prophet Amos states, “The Lord GOD (Adonai Yahweh) will do nothing unless He reveals it to His servants, the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) And none of these formulas or non-days exist in the Scriptures.
In Deuteronomy 12:32, God’s people are warned not to add to or take away from God’s word. In Psalms 138, David tells us that the LORD (Yahweh) magnifies His word above His name. Therefore, we must take Exodus 31:15, which literally says “Work may be done six days, and on the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD (Yahweh).” If these days were not consecutive, the Most High would have said so somewhere in the Bible.
In 1 Samuel 20:5, we read, “David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the New Moon, and I should not fail to sit at the table with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening.”
Then, in 1 Samuel 20:24-25, we read, “So David hid himself in the field, and when the New Moon came the king sat down to eat meat. And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon a seat by the wall, and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, and David’s place was empty.”
Then in 1 Samuel 20:34, it says, “And Jonathan rose up from the table (this is still day one) in the heat of anger. And he did not eat food on the second day of the New Moon, (he fasted on the second day) for he was grieved for David.”
Day Three Of The Month
1 Samuel 20:35: “And it came to pass in the morning, Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed (this is the third day of the new month) with David…”
On The Appointed Third Day
In verses 20:42, Jonathan bids David to go in peace, declaring that the LORD’s (Yahweh’s) name was between them and their seed forever, and in the very next verse (1 Samuel 21:1) David goes to Nob, where he talks to Ahimelech, the priest, who trembles and asks him, “Why are you by yourself, and no man with you?” David answers in verse two, “The king has commanded me a matter. He said, ‘Do not let a man know anything of the matter about which I am sending you…”
Then, in verse 3, when David asks the priest for bread, he replies (in verse 4), “There is no common bread under my hand but only holy bread (the showbread).” When the priest inquires if David and his young men have kept themselves from women, which would have rendered them ceremonially unclean, David replies (in verse 5): “Surely, a woman has been kept from us three days since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, although it was sanctified this day in the vessel.”
What did David mean when he said the bread was, in a manner, common? The answer is found in the very next verse (verse 6) which says: “And the priest gave the holy bread to him, for there was no bread except the Bread of the Presence which is taken from the presence of the LORD (Yahweh) in order to put hot bread in on the day it is taken away.” And on what day does the old bread get replaced with new bread? It happens every weekly Sabbath!
“Every Sabbath he shall set it (the showbread) in order before the LORD (Yahweh) continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it (the replaced showbread) in the holy place, for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD (Yahweh) made by fire by a perpetual statute.”
These verses clearly establish that the day on which the New Moon is spotted is counted as day ONE of each new month in the Hebrew reckoning of time. It is not a non-day. And this particular first weekly Sabbath of the month, on which David and his men ate the outgoing showbread, did not fall on the 8th day of the month, nor the 7th. This first weekly Sabbath of the new Hebrew month fell on the 3rd day.
Furthermore, if the Jews in the New Testament were keeping the wrong weekly Sabbath (as Lunar Sabbatarians claim), why didn’t Jesus (Yeshua) call them on it? As a matter of fact, on one particular weekly Sabbath, when Jesus (Yeshua) and his disciples were hungry and plucking heads of grain to eat, some Pharisees accused Him of doing what is not lawful (according to man-made regulations) on the Sabbath. And what did Jesus (Yeshua) do? He reminded them of what David did on a weekly Sabbath. David and his men who were hungry entered the house of God and ate the (outgoing) Loaves of the Presentation.
There are many places throughout the New Testament in which Jesus (Yeshua) performs miracles on the Sabbath Day—places where the Lord chastises Pharisees for breaking His Father’s commandments in order to keep their manmade doctrines.
Why are there no accounts in all of the New Testament in which the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus (Yeshua), corrects people for keeping the wrong seventh-day Sabbath? Why didn’t Jesus (Yeshua) accuse the Sadducees or Pharisees of keeping a Babylonian Sabbath? (which the Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol 10, Page 135, says was “a day of penance in the middle of the month…the 15th day of each month).
The Hebrew weekly Sabbath was a day of gladness, not of penance. And since the Babylonians had no week of seven days, the assumption that the Jews borrowed their Sabbath day from the Babylonians lacks any foundation.
Facts, however, do not deter Lunar Sabbatarians. In spite of all the historical facts, they tenaciously hold to the anti-Semitic lie that the weekly Sabbath as observed by the Jewish people came from Babylon.
Even More Error
Another fatal assumption made by Lunar Sabbatarians is Rome had an eight-day week, so Jews of the first century could not have kept the correct seventh-day Sabbath. They ignore the pesky historical fact that between 17 BCE and 14 CE, Rome also used a seven-day planetary week calendar.
Here is a quote from “Sunday In Roman Paganism” by Robert Leo Odum:
“In 1795 were found the marble fragments of which is known as the Sabine Calendar (Fasti Sabini), in a place in central Italy. The portions represent the months of September and October in the Julian calendar. The experts in this type of archaeological find have declared them to belong to the reign of Augustus Caesar and to have been used between 19 BCE and 4 CE.”
Here is another quote. This one is from Famous Firsts In The Ancient and Greek World, It is found under the heading “First Reference To a Seven Day Week.” It states: “An inscription (CIL 1. 220) dated between 19 BCE and 14 CE, preserving the remains of the Sabine calendar is the earliest known public record of a seven-day week.”
Israel’s Jews influenced the world, not the other way around. Here is a quote from the first-century Jewish historian, Josephus, taken from Against Apion; Book 2; Page 811; Subsection 282. “…the multitude of mankind itself has had a great inclination for a long time to follow our religious observance; 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.” There are many other quotes, but I will end with just one more.
Dio Cassius; Volume 8; Page 271: “Thus was Jerusalem destroyed on the very day of Saturn, the day which even now the Jews reverence most.”
The shameful fact that in English Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are named for pagan gods, changes nothing. Sunday is day one, Monday day two, Tuesday day three, Wednesday day four, Thursday day five, Friday day six, and Saturday is still God’s seventh-day Sabbath!
Luke 4:16 tells us that Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) custom was to go into the synagogue every Sabbath Day. This was the same weekly Sabbath (which begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sun-down Saturday) that Jews observed prior to their exile to Babylon.
The Gregorian Calendar
Did the seven-day weekly cycle change with the Gregorian calendar? No. It did not. The sequencing of the days of the week (Sunday through Saturday) never changed. Here is a quote taken from ecclesia.org.
“The calendar, which continued in use for fifteen centuries was not accurate in length of its year for it was a quarter hour too long. By 1582, it was ten days off. Pope Gregory initiated a change in the calendar by going to the Gregorian Calendar, and to make up for the error in the Julian calendar, ten days were added… In October 1582, Thursday the 4th was followed by Friday the 15th in Italy and a few other countries. England and America changed its calendar in 1752 and Russia finally in 1914. Yet the weekly cycle was never affected.”
The weekly cycle established by God has been maintained since Creation week when God set apart His seventh-day Sabbath from the previous six workdays. And unlike every version of the Lunar Sabbath Calendar, the moon, a New Moon, appeared for the very first time on the fourth day of Creation week. God’s weekly Sabbath is not determined by the New Moon. It is and always has been determined by a continuous sequencing of God’s seven-day weekly cycle.
Jeremiah 31:35 wrote, “Thus said the LORD (Yahweh) who gives the sun for a light daily (i.e. The sun was given so that we can count days, from sunset to sunset; Genesis 1:5 – “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night, and the evening and the morning was one (echad) day”), and the ordinances of the moon (i.e. how we count months and determine Appointed Times), and the stars for a light by night…”
Psalms 104:19 says, “He made the moon for seasons (in Hebrew mo’ed – appointed times). The annual appointed Feast Days of Israel are set according to numerical days of the month (i.e. 14th of Nisan is Passover, 15th of Nisan is the First Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a feast that lasts seven days).
The New Moon (Rosh Chodesh in Hebrew) determines each new month. But make no mistake, if one month ends on the 4th day of the weekly cycle, the new month will begin on the 5th day of the weekly cycle. Regardless of whether you are using the Hebrew names for the days of the week (Day One; Day Two; Day Three; etc.) or pagan names, the sequence remains unbroken.
This continuous cycle of days is what allows us to accurately count the Omer—seven weeks plus one day that equals fifty) from First Fruits to Shavuot. Imagine trying to count to fifty using a Lunar Sabbatarian calendar, two and sometimes three non-days every month.
The Biblical year begins with the sighting of the first New Moon after the barley in Israel reaches “aviv” (ripeness). Sadly, Lunar Sabbatarians not only miss the real seventh-day Sabbath each week, but they celebrate Passover well after the barley becomes ripe.