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WHAT IS THE LUNAR SABBATH TEACHING?

The lunar sabbath teaching basically teaches that the 7th day Sabbath is based upon the moon and not on a separate weekly cycle, and that the weekly sabbath occurs on the same dates every month. Even though there are differences of opinion out there as to when the new moon date is, the dates that seem to be consistent with lunar sabbath keepers for the Sabbath day are the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of each month. They believe correctly that the new moon begins a new month, as this is actually Biblical, but they also believe that the Sabbath day is not based on the original 7 day cycle that God set up at creation, but rather that the weekly cycle is based on the new moon and begins afresh at every new moon.

In this study we are going to show from the Bible that the lunar sabbath is in fact a false teaching that has no basis whatsoever upon a "Thus saith the LORD." But before we begin, I would like to share some interesting historical information concerning the lunar Sabbath. Did you know that the Babylonians kept a lunar Sabbath? That's right. Take a look at the following quote:

"In that country [Babylon], however, it was not the rest-day ending the seven-day week, owing to the Creator having rested from His work on that day, but was due to the festival of the full moon ... Here, however, Sa-bat [the Sabbath] was not applied to the seventh day by the Babylonians, but another word was used which they evidently considered more appropriate, namely 'u-hul-gallum', from the Sumerian u-hul-gala, which they translated by ilmu limnu, 'evil day.' This was the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th days of every month, so that, as the Babylonian months had 29 or 30 days each, every month consisted of three weeks of seven days each, and one of nine or ten days, according to the length of the month." (Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol.10, 1919, p.889-890 source)

So as we can see, the Babylonians also had a 'special day', but instead of basing it upon the 7 day weekly cycle from creation like the Jews did, the Babylonians based their 'special day' upon the moon. So is the lunar 'sabbath' from God or from Babylon?

BIBLICAL EVIDENCE SHOWING THE LUNAR SABBATH IS WRONG

To be able to keep the lunar sabbath, which is based upon the moon and not on the independent 7 day weekly cycle that God set up at creation, you have to skip one or two days every month, this is because there are at least 8 days between the last sabbath of the lunar calendar (29th) and the first sabbath of the next month (8th). But let us observe the first clear fact regarding the 7th day sabbath that Jehovah set up for us to keep:

Genesis 2:2-3 ...'And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.'

Exodus 20:8-11 ...'Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.'

Exodus 31:14,15,17 ...'Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore ... Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord ... for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.'

Over and over again Jehovah reminded His people that they could work SIX days, but the SEVENTH day is the holy Sabbath rest day that God blessed and sanctified at the end of creation week. This is the cycle that God set up and clearly established to be kept just as He said. So any cycle that is NOT in accordance with this very specific cycle that the LORD our God set up cannot be in accordance with His will. Now, can lunar sabbath keepers keep to this cycle? No, it's impossible, because EVERY month they have one weekly cycle that contains at least 8 days, so therefore they break the specific command and cycle of Jehovah every month. Now take a look at something else regarding this cycle:

Exodus 16:4-5,22-26 ...'Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily ... And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread. And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.'

The Israelites were to gather twice as much on the 6th day as God provided none on the 7th day Sabbath. Exodus 16:35 says that the Israelites gathered manna for 40 years! Now what if they kept the lunar sabbath and had 8 days for a week once every month? This cycle of gathering the manna would be completely messed up!

So you can see straight away there is an issue with this lunar sabbath teaching. There must be a consecutive period of 6 days in between the 7th day Sabbath, otherwise the cycle that God put in place is completely lost! Now lunar sabbath keepers will say that there is a 'transitional day' or 'non day' between the end of the month and the next sabbath that isn't reckoned in the counting of the days of the week. But they fail to show any evidence for this in the scriptures. And yet God was so specific over and over again regarding the 6 days of work and the 7th day to be the Sabbath. If there were to be days that should not be counted among the days of the week once a month, then the scriptures would be very clear on it, just as the scriptures are very clear on the 6 days of work and 7th day Sabbath of rest.

Could the weekly cycle really be based on the moon? Let's look at creation:

Genesis 1:16-19 ...'And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.'

Genesis 2:2-3 ...'And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.'

So when did God make the moon? He made it on the FOURTH DAY of creation. And what about the sabbath day? He instituted it on the SEVENTH DAY of creation. Now we know that Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day. So what was the first full day that Adam and Eve spent together? It was the seventh day sabbath. And was this sabbath day that Adam and Eve spent together determined by the moon? No, because the moon was only created 3 days prior. Ok, so what about the NEXT sabbath day that Adam and Eve observed? That was SEVEN DAYS later right? Was that one determined by the moon? Clearly not. What about the NEXT sabbath day? Determined by the moon? No!

Also, take a look at the following quote from a letter from the Greenwich Observatory in London in 1932, responding to a question about the weekly cycle:

"In the Nautical Almanac for 1931, p.740, in the last paragraph, a very learned chronologist, Dr.Fotheringham, states - 'When we come upon clear evidence, the period of seven days was reckoned independently of the month and in fact of all astronomical periods. From the Jewish church it passed into the Christian church." (Astronomer Royal, Greenwich Royal Observatory, London, 4th March, 1932 - SOURCE)

Just take that in. All observable evidence shows that the 7 day weekly cycle is independent of the monthly cycle!

"It is probably true that the Chaldeans and Egyptians did get their year in the manner indicated [observing the first rising of Sirius before the sun]; but it is very far from the truth to say that either they or any other nation got the week from the changes of the moon. There is absolutely nothing in nature to suggest the weekly cycle; and so patent is this fact that the 'Encyclopedia Britannica,' article 'Calendar,' says - "As it [the week] forms neither an aliquot part of the year nor of the lunar month, those who reject the Mosaic recital will be at a loss, as Delambre remarks, to assign to it an origin having much semblance of probability." (Signs of the Times, November 18, 1889, p.695)

Now there is an instance when Israel had to depart from their camp at Sinai to journey to Paran which shows the lunar sabbath as wrong. This is recorded in Numbers 10:11-12. We are told that the cloud was taken up from Sinai on the twentieth day of the month (vs 11) and the Israelites departed and journeyed 3 days according to verse 33. Now which day of the month would have been included in that 3 day journey of the Israelites? the 22nd of the month. A date which the lunar sabbath keepers say is the 7th day Sabbath. And yet God made the Israelites journey on this day, which is supposed to be a day of holy rest! Do you see the issue? In Numbers 15 we are told of the account of God putting a man to death for gathering sticks to make a fire on the 7th day Sabbath. And yet here in Numbers 10, we are supposed to believe that God made the whole camp of Israel journey with all their belongings on the Sabbath? I don't think so. The 22nd of each month could not be the Sabbath.

Take a look at this which also shows this lunar sabbath to be false. In Leviticus 23:15-16, we find the specific instructions for how the Feast of Weeks (also called Pentecost) is to be calculated. "And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days."

So the "7 Sabbaths", plus the "day after the last Sabbath" is to equal "50 days". Let us test both the 7 day weekly Sabbath and the Lunar sabbath against this and see which one fits:

WEEKLY 7 DAY SABBATH: "7 Sabbaths" X 7 days = 49 days. PLUS "day after last Sabbath" = 50 DAYS!

LUNAR SABBATH: At least one sabbath cycle will have 8 days, so 6 sabbaths X 7 days = 42 days + 8 days for 1 sabbath PLUS "day after last Sabbath" = 51 DAYS!

So which one fits the Biblical model? The WEEKLY 7th day Sabbath.

Do you see the clear Biblical truth here friends? The weekly 7th day Sabbath is the only one that fits. The institution of the weekly sabbath had no bearing on the moon and the moon had no bearing on the weekly sabbath. The moon was created on day four and there is no mention whatsoever that it would have any bearing on when the sabbath day would be. Instead, God simply setup a weekly seven day cycle from creation that continued. And it is this that determined the seventh day sabbath, not the cycle of the moon.

Now take a look at the following important truth concerning the sabbath day contained in the 4th commandment.

Exodus 20:8-11 ...'Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.'

Do you see what event God is pointing to in His 4th commandment? He is pointing to creation week. And He is confirming that it is this creation event from where we get the seventh day sabbath, as the weekly sabbath is a memorial of God's creation and a day that shows our allegiance to our Creator God, the one true God. And as we have already shown above, the seventh day sabbath of creation was NOT determined by the moon.

Do a search of Genesis and Exodus and you will only find one mention of the moon, and that was concerning Joseph's dream of the sun, moon and stars bowing down to him. Nothing to do with the sabbath day.

CEREMONIAL FEAST SABBATHS

Many lunar sabbath keepers are also feast keepers, and this is where the confusion lies with them. They put the 7th day Sabbath in with the yearly feasts due to what God says in Leviticus 23. They believe that BOTH the weekly Sabbath and the yearly sabbaths in Leviticus 23 are based upon the moon. But if you read Leviticus 23 properly you can see that God distinguishes the weekly 7th day Sabbath from the yearly sabbaths, look:

Leviticus 23:1-6 ...'And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings. These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.'

As you can see, the yearly feast sabbaths like Passover and Unleavened bread WERE based on the moon. But the weekly 7th day Sabbath also mentioned says nothing about it being based on the moon. Do you see this?

Leviticus 23:37-38 ...'These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: Beside the sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the Lord.'

So God is clearly telling His people that these feasts and holy days and monthly/yearly sabbaths are BESIDES (In addition to) the weekly sabbath of the Lord. Which is why in verse 3 of Leviticus 23 God confirms the weekly sabbath day, to make sure His people do not confuse the different "ceremonial sabbaths" with the main weekly sabbath of the 4th commandment.

Sabbaths of Leviticus 23:

'A Sabbath' = 'SHABBATHOWN' (Ceremonial Sabbath)     'The Sabbath of the LORD' = 'SHABBATH' (Weekly Sabbath)

Sabbath of the 4th Commandment:

'The Sabbath of the LORD' = 'SHABBATH' (Weekly Sabbath)

So as we can see from the above there were different sabbaths, with the 'sabbath of the Lord' being the same as the 4th commandment and 'a sabbath' being the ceremonial yearly sabbaths that were part of the feast days, which were observed at SPECIFIC DAYS OF THE MONTH. And here lies the confusion!

But how do we know that Saturday is the same 7th day of the week which God blessed and sanctified during creation? See our page THE SABBATH AND CALENDAR CHANGE for more on this.

Friends, this lunar sabbath teaching is a stretch at best and is just not supported by the Word of God. The sabbath will be the final test for this world in the last days and Satan knows this, so he is busy attacking the true seventh day sabbath (our Saturday) from all angles. Please seek the truth of God and live by it.