Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Stunning Historical Evidence for the Lunar Sabbath!
Scripture must remain the standard, and it declares there to be three kinds of days that never overlap. According to Ezekiel 46:1, these are New Moon days, work days and Sabbaths. On New Moon days and Sabbaths the East Gate of the Temple is open for corporate worship, but on work days, it is closed. As a result, the New Moon day refreshes each lunar month and is then followed by four cycling weeks. The modern Jewish calendar has been corrupted, and is today an altered version of its once pure and undefiled original.
by Kerrie L. French
The common premise that Saturday must be the true Sabbath of the Scriptures, because the modern Jews worship on that day, is an erroneous assumption made by all. But, in light of the fact that the Jews themselves acknowledge that their modern calendar is not the same as the one used prior to the 4th century A.D., scholars of Scripture and those seeking to be obedient Sabbath keepers, would be wise to reexamine this 1,600 year old neo-tradition as compared to this stunning historical evidence. For those who deem it imperative to worship on the precise day as the Eternal Father above receives corporate worship from all His created beings, the correct and original calendar of creation must be utilized.
The astro-luni-solar calendar mechanism in the heavens is the only calendar identified in Scripture. The LIGHTS in the heavens were established by YEHOVAH at Creation for signs, seasons (appointed set-apart days), days and years (Genesis 1:14). Following the Exodus these LIGHTS synchronized the High Priestly work first in the wilderness Sanctuary and later in the Temple at Jerusalem. They perpetually beaconed the rhythm of all the appointed set-apart days, monthly, weekly, and yearly. All other calendars have divorced aspects of these guiding LIGHTS, favoring instead the witty invention of men. Artificial time was crafted for the purpose of removing the Creator from time and man from the binding claims of their Creator. The true Sabbath can only be found by using the Creator’s true calendar in which the lunar months begin with the crescent New Moon day, with the cycle of four weeks beginning the next day.
The following is a list of great lunar Sabbath and astro-luni-solar calendar quotes. It is our prayer that you will share these with family and friends as YEHOVAH God continues to call His obedient followers out of Babylon, so that together we may walk in one accord, to the rhythm of His sacred and preordained celestial time-piece. (All emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted.)
…A month in law, is a lunar month...unless otherwise expressed…In legal proceedings, the word 'months,' means lunar months.… (Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary (of Great Britain, 1903 Edition, p. 1221)
Lunar Sabbath Quotes From the Assorted Pages of History
“The changes in the calendric position of the weekly religious rest day have been few from pre-historic times to the present day. The Sabbath which came down to the Jews from pre-historic [prior to Moses] times was the seventh day of the lunar week. The lunar week and the lunar month gave the simplest form of time division to early man...Moon and month meant the same thing. The division of the month into four weeks of seven days left the so-called epagomenal days which had to be neglected, and the weekly division begun again at the time of the next new moon. The change from the lunar week to the seven-day week running continuously through the year, while a momentous change, was unrecorded. The use of two styles of weeks seems to have existed together, and the more modern seven-day week slowly, but finally, supplanted its ancient but inexact competitor.
The lunar week was simple and serviceable....We no longer say three barley corns round and dry make one inch, but that was a measure which served our ancestors very acceptably for all practical purposes. When the continuous seven-day week was generally accepted, then it was linked with the past, as we now date events before Christ by a scale unknown to the people and historians of those times....The lunar Sabbath was succeeded by the seven-day weekly Sabbath without confusion, and the mention of the Sabbath in Exodus 31:13 and elsewhere, may be taken to refer to the lunar day. (Sunday the World’s Rest Day, “The Sabbath, the Day Which Divine Love Established and Human Love Must Preserve,” Theodore Gilman, p. 479. Published for the New York Sabbath Committee, Doubleday, Page and Company, New York, 1916)
The above quote from the unexpected book, Sunday the World’s Rest Day, is newly republished and available at Amazon.com. Also, please note that it was a result of the 14th Congress of the Lord’s Day Alliance. The lunar Sabbath was a known fact among Sunday keepers all these years. This truth did not affect them, because they have never tried to be in harmony with the true Scriptural Sabbath, as they believe they are no longer under the binding claims of the Torah law, but under “grace” and the new Christian dispensation.
The term “epagomenal,” used above, refers directly to intercalary days (Oxford English Dictionary), which are the one or two days that are not included in the lunar seven-day weeks, but are intrinsic to completing with accuracy the lunar month and astro-luni-solar year. They have absolutely no affect upon the four cycling weeks that begin after each New Moon day.
With the destruction of the Temple (A.D. 70) the Sadducees disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees. Henceforth, Jewish life was regulated by the Pharisees; the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view, and a new aspect was given to the Sanhedrin of the past. A new chain of tradition supplanted the older priestly tradition (Abot 1:1). Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all the future. (“Pharisees,” The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol 9, [1901-1906 ed.], p. 666)
Pharasaism became Talmudism...[but] the spirit of the ancient Pharisee survives unaltered. When the Jew...studies the Talmud, he is actually repeating the arguments used in the Palestinian academies....The spirit of the [Pharisees’] doctrine has remained quick and vital. (Louis Finklestein, The Pharisees: The Sociological Background of their Faith, [Jewish Publication Society of America], Vol. 4, p. 1332)
As a result, it is impossible to use the Talmud (compilation of Pharisaism’s oral traditions) to prove that the principles of the astro-lunar-solar calendar (with its New Moon and lunar Sabbath) are false. For the modern Jewish calendar has been corrupted, and is today an altered version of its once pure and undefiled original. On the fourth day of creation, the Eternal Master Designer created earth’s sun to rule alone by day to measure hours as its shadow is cast upon a sundial. But He created the moon to measure the passage of all units of time in the heavens for years, months, weeks, and calendar dates, via its brilliant (selene #4582) light display against the backdrop of the starry constellations of the Mazzeroth, by night.
With this in mind, and as each author puts their personal spin on the facts, the broader truth can be seen as all the evidence is gathered. The author above states that this new cycling week was instituted without being recorded or without confusion. This is true, that there was no confusion between the two week styles, as everyone understood Rome’s artificial cycling week was instituted to replace the lunar week, which had always been beaconed by the natural rhythms of the crescent New Moon. This modern continuous weekly cycle was then adopted by the Jews in A.D. 358 under the leadership of Hillel II to end the persecution. For this new week to take hold, and so all future generations might come to believe it had always cycled since creation and the tree, its systematic change was ultimately hushed after much debate and bloodshed during the years of the Easter Controversy.
Several customs which prevailed during the age between the Exodus of the Israelites and the resurrection of Christ had so completely changed by the seventeenth Christian century that the translators of the “Authorized Version” of the English Bible were not able to perceive some important truths taught in the Greek version of the Old Testament and the Greek New Testament. Unseen truth would not be clearly translated into the English Bible. The student who of necessity was limited in his studies to the English version would not be able to see more truth than was expressed in the English version...
Second -- Since the Jews for more than sixteen centuries have been observing a Saturday Sabbath, and since Christians have been for more than eighteen centuries having a fixed Sunday Sabbath, it is only reasonable to expect most Sabbath writers to try and interpret all Bible Sabbath teachings on the theory of fixed septenary cycles [unbroken cycles of seven days]. But the noted Rabbi Hirsch believes and teaches that “The old (Jewish) Sabbath had no connection with a fixed [cycling] week.”
Third -- The passing out of sight of the old Bible lunar calendar and the now almost universal effort to interpret the Bible upon the basis of solar calendars....
Sixth -- The losing sight of the use of uncounted days in the Bible calendar....Because of the failure to note the above mentioned difficulties it has become quite difficult so to write or teach as to be clearly understood about the Bible Sabbaths. (Sunday the World’s Rest Day, The Sabbath -- The Lord’s Day, by Rev. Samuel W. Gamble, D.D. p. 81-82. Published for the New York Sabbath Committee, Doubleday, Page and Company, New York, 1916)
...the week of seven days was connected with the lunar month, of which it is, approximately, a fourth...[for] the Hebrews the first day of the first week of the month was always reckoned as coincident with the first day of the month....At the end of four weeks an interval of one or two days might intervene before the new week could begin... (The Jewish Encyclopedia, “Week”)
The quote above from the Jewish Encyclopedia, while close, is not accurate with regards to the first day of the first week being New Moon day, itself. Scripture must remain the standard, and it declares there to be three kinds of days that never overlap. According to Ezekiel 46:1, these are New Moon days, work days and Sabbaths. On New Moon days and Sabbaths the East Gate is open for corporate worship, but on work days, it is closed. As a result, the New Moon day refreshes each lunar month and is then followed by four cycling weeks. The Jews as well as the Romans have been primarily responsible for all the lost units of our Creator’s original time system. We cannot look to them as our guide for truth, but to the prophets of old as they harmoniously present the truth in Scripture alone.
The following quote compares Roman time to lunisolar time by giving three pieces of information. First it gives the Roman date of the month, the day of the Roman cycling week, and the lunar date as counted from the New Moon. The “Nones” of November is the same as November 5, which fell on the day of Venus (Friday). It was the 24th lunar phase that corresponded with this Roman date, making it the “Second Day” after the third Sabbath of the month.
In the consulship of Claudius and Paternus, on the Nones of [5th] November, on the day of Venus [Friday], and on the 24th day of the lunar month, Leuces placed [this memorial] to her very dear daughter Severa, and to Thy Holy Spirit. She died [at the age] of 55 years, and 11 months [and] 10 days. The date of this inscription is Friday, November 5, 269 A.D. (Inscriptions Christianae Urbis Romae, E. Diehl, Vol. 1, Part 1, p. 18., No. 11; Sunday in Roman Paganism, Robert L. Odom, p. 122)
...Shabbat [weekly Sabbath] originally arose from the lunar cycle, containing four weeks ending in Sabbath, plus one or two additional unreckoned days per [lunar] month. (The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia: An Authorative and Popular Presentation of Jews and Judaism Since the Earliest Times. Volume 10 Cohen, Simon (1943 p 482-483. “Week.” In Landman, Isaac)
...The Hebrew Sabbath (i.e. Creation Sabbath) was originally a Sabbathon -- i.e. a day of propitiation and appeasement; marked by atoning rites...it was celebrated at intervals of seven days, ..corresponding with the changes in the moon’s phases.... (Encyclopaedia Biblica, 1899, p. 4180).
The Hebrew month is a lunar month and the quarter of this period -- one phase of the moon -- appears to have determined the week of seven days. (Encyclopaedia Biblica, 1899, p. 4780)
And then the moon, ever punctual to mark the times, [as] an everlasting sign: It is the moon that signals the feasts, a luminary that wanes after being full. The month derives its name from hers. She waxes wonderfully in her phases, banner of the hosts on high, shining in the vault of heaven. (Ecclesiasticus 43:6-8, c.a. 190-180 B.C.)
At first the New Moon festival was not counted among the seven days of the week; after 28 days had elapsed [7 days x 4 weeks], one or two days were intercalated as New Moon days, whereupon a new cycle of four weeks began, so that the Sabbath was a movable festival....Later the week and the Sabbath became fixed [to the Roman cycling planetary 8 week]; and this gradually resulted in taking away from the New Moon festival its popular importance.... (The Jewish Encyclopedia, “Pastoral Feast.”)
The [early] Hebrews employed lunar seven-day weeks, which ended with special observances on the seventh day, but none the less were tied to the moon's course. (Rest Days, Hutton Webster, p. 254-255)
The weeks do not continue in a regular cycle regardless of the moon. Each month has four weeks, the beginning with the New Moon. I have no doubt that this was the old Hebrew system. (Babylonian Menologies and the Semitic Calendars, p. 89)
It is powerfully urged by the believers in a primitive Sabbath, that we find from time immemorial the knowledge of a week of 7 days among all nations -- Egyptians, Arabians, Indians -- in a word, all the nations of the East, have in all ages made use of this week of 7 days, for which it is difficult to account without admitting that this knowledge was derived from the common ancestors [Adam and Eve] of the human race. Among all early nations the lunar months were the readiest large divisions of time....In order to connect the reckoning by weeks with the lunar month, we find that all ancient nations observed some peculiar solemnities to mark the day of the New Moon.
Accordingly, in the Mosaic law the same thing was also enjoined (Numbers 10:10; 28:11, etc.), though it is worthy of remark that, while particular observances are here enjoined, the idea of celebrating the New Moon in some way is alluded to as if already familiar to them. In other parts of the Bible, we find the Sabbaths and New Moons continually spoken of in conjunction; as (Isaiah 1:13, etc.) the division of time by weeks prevailed all over the East, from the earliest periods among the Assyrians, Arabs, & Egyptians. It was found among the tribes in the interior of Africa....The Peruvians counted their months by the moon, their half-months by the increase and decrease of the moon...without having any particular names for the week days. (The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia, 1904. Vol. 3, p. 1497)
The connection of the Sabbath with lunar phases, however, was (later) discarded by the Israelites.... (The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, p. 135-136)
...the Jewish festivals being regulated solely by the moon, may fall on any day of the [modern Roman] week. (Oxford English Dictionary, 1971 Edition, Vol. 2, “Pentecost”)
It is certain that the Jews celebrated the sheaf-waving on Nisan 16 and Pentecost on the fiftieth day after...without regard in either case to the day of the [modern Roman] week. (Oxford English Dictionary, 1971 Edition, Vol. 2, “Pentecost”)
The resurrection of Christ is recorded to have taken place on the second day of the Passover, being that year the first day of the week. Seven weeks after that [plus 50 days] (and so again on the first day of the week) was the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. In commemoration of this, these two Christian festivals are always held on the first day of the week (Sunday), and so in most cases do not coincide with the Jewish festivals. (Oxford English Dictionary, 1971 Edition, Vol. 2, “Pentecost”)
The Greek Church had no such facilities of examining the authentic records...till the Julian Calendar had been adopted; still the true date of the crucifixion was less disguised by the Greeks than that of the nativity, but he [Constantine] wished, almost the necessity, of so keeping Easter as to make the day of crucifixion Friday, and of the resurrection Sunday, caused differences of opinion that led to persecution and bloodshed. (Mazzaroth, The Constellations, Frances Rolleston, p. 133. Rivingtons, London, 1862)
The modern seven-day week came into use during the early imperial period, after the Julian calendar came into effect, apparently stimulated by immigration from the Roman East. For a while it coexisted alongside the old 8-day nundinal cycle, and fasti are known which show both cycles. It was finally given official status by Constantine in 321. (Roman Calendar Encyclopedia, Days of the Week)
Even after Constantine’s edict about Sunday, it took another generation or two for the seven-day week to catch on throughout the empire. The 24-hour system took longer, having to wait until the invention of the mechanical clock in the Middle Ages by monks anxious to observe with precision their canonical hours. Before this, people marked the passage of time during the night by using the stars and during the day either by eyeballing the sun or by listening to public announcements of the time. (Calendar, David Ewing Duncan, p. 47, New York, Avon Books, 1998)
A continuous seven-day cycle that runs throughout history paying no attention whatsoever to the moon and its phases is a distinctively Jewish invention [based upon principles from Babylon and Egypt]. Moreover, the dissociation of the seven-day week from nature has been one of the most significant contributions of Judaism to civilization...it facilitated the establishment of what Lewis Mumford identified as “mechanical periodicity thus essentially increasing the distance between human beings and nature.
Quasi weeks [weeks whose cycle restarts with the New Moon] and weeks [continuously cycling] actually represent two fundamentally distinct modes of temporal organization of human life, the former involving partial adaptation to nature, and the latter stressing total emancipation from it. The invention of the continuous week was therefore one of the most significant breakthroughs in human beings’ attempts to break away from being prisoners of nature [time beaconed by the sun, moon, and stars] and create a social world of their own. (The Seven Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week, Eviatar Zerubavel, New York: The Free Press, 1985. p.11)
It was only in Alexandria [Egypt] that three distinct practices that had evolved quite independently of the Chaldean planetary theory -- an astronomical practice of arranging the seven planets in a certain invariable order, a mathematical practice of subdividing the daily cycle into twenty-four hours, and an astrological theory known as the doctrine of “Chronocratores” -- were nevertheless integrated with it so as to produce the astrological seven-day week in its final form. This cycle is therefore the product of the successful Hellenistic fusion of astronomy, astrology, and mathematics, as well as the great cultural heritage of Egypt, Babylonia, and Greece. (The Seven Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week, Eviatar Zerubavel, New York: The Free Press, 1985. p.14)
The Babylonians, at a very early period, divided their months into seven-day cycles.... (Ancient History, Hutton Webster, p. 20)
The Sabbath depending, in Israel’s nomadic period, upon the observation of the phases of the moon, it could not, accordingly be a fixed day [planetary day of the modern Roman cycling week]. (The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History. Edited by Isidore Singer, Cyrus Adler. Volume 10, p. 590)
The belief, that the week has come down uninterrupted since Creation, is not an assumption shared by modern Jewish scholars who know their history. Rather, it appears they had a part to play in the change.
Judaism's Role in Changing YEHOVAH's Calendar
A continuous seven-day cycle that runs throughout history paying no attention whatsoever to the moon and its phases is a distinctly Jewish invention. Moreover, the dissociation of the seven-day week from nature has been one of the most significant contributions of Judaism to civilization. Like the invention of the mechanical clock some 1,500 years later, it facilitates the establishment of what Lewis Mumford identified as"mechanical periodicity," thus essentially increasing the distance between human beings and nature.
Quasi [lunar] weeks and [continuous] weeks actually represent two fundamentally distinct modes of temporal organization of human life, the former involving partial adaptation to nature, and the latter stressing total emancipation from it. The invention of the continuous week was therefore one of the most significant breakthroughs in human beings’ attempts to break away from being prisoners of nature [and from under the Creator’s law] and create a social world of their own. (Eviatar Zerubavel, The Seven Day Circle: the History and Meaning of the Week, The Free Press, New York, 1985, p. 11)
Most theologians and some scholars assume that mainstream Jewish society, at the time of Jesus...was practicing a fixed seven-day week which was the same as the modern fixed [cycling planetary designations] seven-day week. This is extremely doubtful. The change, from a lunar to a fixed week, was brought about by the power and influence of Rome. As long as the Nazarenes held power in Jerusalem, all Roman practices and customs, including that of the consecutive week, were held at bay. (Shawui Sabbath: Ancient Sabbath Observance)
In the years following Clement of Alexandria's time (A.D. 150-215), an ominous change started to take place that was to radically change the Christian concept of the Sabbath. Records the Encyclopedia Biblica:
“This intimate connection between the week and the month was soon dissolved. It is certain that the week soon followed a development of its own, and it became the custom -- without paying any regard to the days of the month (i.e. the luni-solar month)...so that the New Moon no longer coincided with the first day of the month."
Then, on page 4179 of the same encyclopedia, we read: "The introduction...of the custom of celebrating the Sabbath every 7th day, irrespective of the relationship of the day to the moon’s phases, led to a complete separation from the ancient view of the Sabbath...." (Encyclopaedia Biblica, 1903 p. 5290)
We shall be taken for Persians [Mithraists], perhaps....The reason for this, I suppose, is that it is known that we pray towards the east....Likewise, if we devote the day of the Sun to festivity (from a far different reason from Sun worship), we are in a second place from those who devote the day of Saturn, themselves also deviating by way of a Jewish custom of which they are ignorant. (Tertullian, Apologia)
It should be noted that the oldest dated Christian inscription to employ a planetary designation [Sunday -- Saturday, unbroken cycle of weeks] belongs to the year 269 A.D. (Inscriptiones Christianae urbis Romae, ed. De Rossi, 1861, i, No. 1)
The present Jewish calendar was fixed [to the Roman planetary weekly cycle] in the fourth century. (Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Letter by Louis Finkelstein to Dr. L. E. Froom, Feb. 20, 1939)
The week, which was based on the Mosaic Law that requires rest from labor every seventh day, was not recognized in the calendar of the ancient Greeks, and did not appear in the Roman calendar until about 400 A.D. (Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Reference Encyclopedia, 1961, Vol. 5, p. 1662 “Calendar”)
Each New Moon was celebrated with a fast. (Jewish Family Celebrations, p. 35)
...The sacred festival of the new moon, which people give notice of with trumpets, and the day of fasting, on which abstinence from all meats and drinks is enjoined.... (Philo Book 26, p. 159)
Some Dead Sea Scrolls, such as 4Q325, 4Q326, 4Q327, and 4Q394, contain fixed week calendar systems which may represent an early attempted transition from the more ancient lunar phase week toward the modern fixed week made mandatory by Rome a few centuries later. Dead Sea Scroll fragments also preserve a luni-solar calendar, along with new and dark moons which are unnecessary if they only kept the purely solar calendar of 364 days. [Author Unknown]
...There was a distinct break between the Old Testament requirements...dealing with the Sabbath worship....They wanted to show that Christianity was distinct from Judaism....The other thing that we should remember, too, is that our calendar that we follow, including Seventh-day Adventists, is not only a calendar that was devised by the Catholic Church, but also it is a calendar that’s based upon the solar year, not the lunar year and the Jewish calendar that was observed in the time of Christ follows a lunar [lunisolar] calendar....So the great irony is that even the Seventh-day Adventists themselves are not worshipping on exactly the same Sabbath day as the Jews of the time of Christ. (Patrick Madrid, Catholic Priest and conservative made the startling comment on EWTN, Global Catholic Radio Network on Jan 5, 2006 when answering a question about the Catholic Church changing the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday)
But to the seventh-day of the week He [YEHOVAH] has assigned the greatest festivals, those of the longest duration, at the periods of the equinox both vernal and autumnal in each year; appointing two festivals for these two epochs, each lasting seven days; the one which takes place in the spring being for the perfection of what is being sown, and the one which falls in autumn being a feast of thanksgiving for the bringing home of all the fruits which the trees have produced…. (F.H. Colson’s translation of Philo’s THE DECALOGUE XXX (159))
Referring to the quote above, let’s look carefully at what Philo is saying. “But to the seventh-day of the week He has assigned the greatest festivals.” In other words the greatest (longest) festivals have been assigned to the seventh-day of the week [Sabbath the 15th], which starts the festival and lasts for seven days. We know both of these seven-day feasts begin on the Sabbath the 15th. Philo goes on to say that each of these two months (1st and 7th) should receive a special honor of one sacred day of festival, for the purpose of refreshing and clearing the mind with its holiday.
Notice he did not say they would receive two sacred days of festivals, but one, the 15th. To prove the seventh-day of the week is the same as the 15th, elsewhere Philo states, "Again the beginning of this feast is appointed for the fifteenth day of the month (or seventh day of the week) on account of the reason which has already been mentioned respecting the Spring season might receive special honor of one sacred day of festival."
In other words, Philo is saying the weekly Sabbath begins these feasts, and is on the 15th. This is evidence that the Sabbaths are by the lunar calendar because there is no way the [modern] weekly Sabbath of the 15th can begin these two festivals on the 15th in both the 1st and 7th month each year. This only works with a lunar month with lunar Sabbaths and not with the Gregorian calendar with its continuous weekly cycle.
Astro-Luni-solar Calendar Quotes
The following two quotes were copied from the pages of a book removed from their binding. These were part of the Grace Amadon Collection discovered hidden in the vault at Andrews University. The name of the book was available but not the author’s name.
The month of the Jews was, as we have said, a lunar month, and extended from one appearing of the new moon to another. The time elapsing between one astronomical new moon and another consists of 29.5 days....But since the month consisted of entire days, they counted it with pretty regular alternation as 29 or 30 days. A month of 30 days was called a full month...if it had only 29 days, it was called an imperfect month....The Jewish month could never have more than 30 days, and never fewer than 29. (Chronological and Geographic Basis of the History of Jesus Christ, p. 5, Section 7)
But had the ancient Jews, and particularly at the time of Jesus, such lunar months and years with an intercalary month, as the Talmud asserts? The great majority of chronologists, amongst whom are Wurm, Ideler, Wieseler, V. Gumpach, and Winer, return an affirmative answer to this question. There have not been wanting, however, those who maintain the contrary, and claim for the Jews of the age of Jesus the reckoning by solar months and year. This view finds an advocate particularly in Seyffarth, in a treatise (Chronology Sacra, p. 43 ff.) which has the special object of vindicating the New Testament chronology of the Fathers. Among the 14 assertions of the Fathers [Amos, Matthew, Mark, and Luke], there is one to the effect that the obscuration of the sun on the day of the crucifixion of Jesus was due to an astronomical [solar] eclipse.
To maintain this position, solar months must be ascribed to the Jews; for if they reckoned by lunar months, and these months began with the new moon, the 15th Nisan must fall at the time of the full moon, in which an eclipse of the sun is impossible, since this can take place only at the time of a new moon. Seyffarth maintains that the Sanhedrin of Tiberias, which drew up the present Jewish calendar about A.D. 200, invented the lunar months and years, and got them surreptitiously introduced into the books of Jewish tradition. To this it must be objected that the Sanhedrin, if it had really practiced this deception, would assuredly have represented this newly-invented calendar as handed down in the lump by tradition. But this is not the case; on the contrary, the calendar of the modern Jews introduced by the Sanhedrin is in many respects different from that described in tradition, especially in the Mishna Rosh hashanna.... (Chronological and Geographic Basis of the History of Jesus Christ, p. 7, Section 9)
Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, and Luke 23:44 Do Not Refer to an Eclipse
The author of the above quote is correct in concluding that the darkness that occurred at the time of the Messiah's death was NOT triggered by an eclipse. Branyon May, Ph. D., makes these comments:
As we discuss the timing of the crucifixion, we need to note the particulars necessary for solar and lunar eclipses to occur. First, a solar eclipse involves the Moon passing between Earth and the Sun, casting its shadow on Earth. This means that the Moon’s phase is always a New Moon during solar eclipses. In contrast, a lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the Sun and Moon, casting its shadow across the Moon. During a lunar eclipse the Moon’s phase is always a Full Moon.
As an overview, here is the timeline for the relevant events of the crucifixion. According to Mark 15:25, Jesus was crucified at the third hour of the Jewish day or 9 a.m. which, from the context, we can understand as the initial placement of Jesus on the cross. Then at the sixth hour (12 p.m. noon) there came darkness over all the land for a duration of three hours until the ninth hour or 3 p.m. (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44). At this point, Jesus cried out three of His recorded sayings on the cross: “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34); “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” (Luke 23:46); and “It is finished” (John 19:30). At the point of Jesus’ death, the darkness appears to have ended, as each account describes the darkness lasting for three hours, then Jesus giving His life.
With the particulars of both the crucifixion timeline and the necessary timings of eclipses established, we can address whether a solar or lunar eclipse could be a possible explanation for the darkness that occurred. We can quickly rule out a lunar eclipse as the cause, since lunar eclipses do not affect the appearance of the Sun and would not have any impact during the time of Jesus’ crucifixion from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
When we consider solar eclipses, there is a definite affect on the Sun and the daylight levels as they occur. Solar eclipses, especially in the narrow path of total solar eclipses, have dramatic periods of darkness. However, we can confidently say that the darkness during Jesus’ crucifixion was not the result of a solar eclipse event. This statement can be made based on the timing particulars that the Bible defines: first, the time of the month that the Jewish Passover occurs and, second, the duration of darkness outlined by the text.
Jesus’ trial and crucifixion happened near the feast of the Passover, which occurs every year in the same month and the same day of the month. According to Leviticus 23:5, the Passover began on the evening of the 14th day of the first month. Important is the fact that the accounting of Jewish time is based on a lunar calendar, where each month follows the lunar cycle beginning on the New Moon. This connection can be seen by the Hebrew word often translated as month, chodesh, which originates from a root meaning “new.” In context, this word is either translated as “month” in regards to time, or as “New Moon” in regards to a physical description.
We can see a use of the physical “New Moon” translation in the account found in 1 Samuel 20 involving David and Jonathan: “And David said to Jonathan, ‘Indeed tomorrow is the New Moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king to eat. But let me go, that I may hide in the field until the third day at evening’” (20:5). Here we have the New Moon (chodesh) used in conjunction with a time period of waiting till the “third day” of the month. Thus since Jesus’ crucifixion happened near the middle of the month at Passover, the phase of the Moon was near a Full Moon instead of a New Moon, which is the complete opposite for a solar eclipse in apparent and physical orientation.
While the time of month for the crucifixion completely dispels the possibility of a solar eclipse, reasoning based on the darkness duration provides additional evidence for a supernatural origination. The Bible describes a three hour timeframe for the darkness (Mark 15:33). As we consider a solar eclipse, it is true that the entire event can be approximately three hours. However, this period includes the entire process from the point when the Moon begins to cover the Sun until the Moon finally completes its recession off the Sun. The partial eclipse phase of a total solar eclipse is a gradual process of slowly dimming to a point of maximum eclipse, then slowly brightening after maximum.
This gradual variation does not match the succinct description of darkness over all the land that the Bible defines. Those who have witnessed a total solar eclipse would agree that “darkness” does not characterize the Earth until the brief maximum darkness phase of the eclipse. The duration for the maximum darkness of a total eclipse, however, is only a matter of minutes, not hours. The 2017 total solar eclipse that crossed the United States only had a maximum duration of two minutes and 40.2 seconds. In fact, the maximum duration possible for any total solar eclipse is less than seven minutes.
The very fact that both the solar and lunar years have differing lengths requiring intercalation (adding extra days or months, respectively, during "leap" years) was used by Abraham to prove that nature itself was not to be worshiped, but that there was a Supreme Being superior to nature that was its Creator:
Thus his opinion was derived from the irregular phenomena that were visible both at land and sea, as well as those that happen to the sun and moon, and all the heavenly bodies, thus:– "If [said he] these bodies had power of their own, they would certainly take care of their own regular motions; but since they do not preserve such regularity, they made it plain, that in so far as they co-operate to our advantage, they do it not of their own abilities, but as they are subservient to Him that commands them; to whom alone we ought justly to offer our honor and thanksgiving. (Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, chapter VII, verse 1)
It was this very teaching which, according to Josephus, was a contributing factor in Abraham’s decision to leave Ur:
For which doctrines, when the Chaldeans and other people of Mesopotamia raised a tumult against him, he thought fit to leave that country; and at the command, and by the assistance of God, he came and lived in the land of Canaan. (Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, chapter VII, verse 1)
The following quote by Flavius Josephus may be the most important astro-luni-solar quote of all, as it provides multiple facts that pinpoint that the Scriptural month has always been lunar and that the Sabbath fell on the 15th of that first month of Nisan. While Leviticus 23:6-14 identifies that the day after Passover was the commencement of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, verse 15 punctuates that the 15th of the lunar month was the seventh-day Sabbath.
In the month of Xanthicus, which is by us called Nisan, and is the beginning of our year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries, for in this month it was that we were delivered from bondage under the Egyptians, the law ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice which I before told you we slew when we came out of Egypt, and which was called the Passover; and so we do celebrate this Passover in companies, leaving nothing of what we sacrifice till the day following. The feast of unleavened bread succeeds that of the Passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month, and continues seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread.... (Antiquity of the Jews, Flavius Josephus, Book 3, Chapter 10, No. 5)
In the mid-1st century B.C., Julius Cæsar invited Sosigenes, an Alexandrian astronomer, to advise him about the reform of the calendar, and Sosigenes decided that the only practical step was to abandon the lunar calendar altogether. Months must be arranged on a seasonal basis, and a tropical [solar] year used, as in the Egyptian calendar. (“The Julian Calendar,” Encyclopedia Britannica)
Julius Caesar's conquest of Egypt in the 1st century BC introduced this planetary week to the Roman Empire, which still used the Etruscan eight-day week. Since the astrological and Jewish weeks were both seven days long, by the 1st century AD the day of Saturn had become identified with the Jewish Sabbath. After Christianity became the state religion, the Church integrated both cycles to produce our present week, used also by Jews and Moslems. (Sarah Belle Dougherty in her book review of The Seven Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week by Eviatar Zerubavel, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1989. As published in Sunrise magazine, August/September 2003; Copyright © 2003 Theosophical University Press)
The current [Roman] calendar is not without defects, and reforms are still being proposed...the seven-day week and the different lengths of months are unsatisfactory to some. Clearly, if the calendar could have all festivals and all rest days fixed on the same dates every year, as in the original Julian calendar, this arrangement would be more convenient, and two general schemes have been put forward -- the International Fixed Calendar and the World Calendar. The International Fixed Calendar is essentially a perpetual Gregorian calendar, in which the year is divided.... (Encyclopedia Britannica, "Modern Schemes for Reform")
Month -- A measure of time corresponding to the period of revolution of the moon....The primitive calendar month of ancient nations began on the day of New Moon or the day after....Among many peoples of antiquity, however, it was from a very early period found desirable that the calendar year should contain an integral number of the smaller periods used in ordinary reckoning. Hence the true [lunar] ‘months’ were superseded by a series of twelve periods each having a fixed number of days (on the average one-twelfth of the number in the calendar year), and thus having no relation to the changes of the moon; but this artificial period continued to bear the name of ‘month.’ (The Oxford English Dictionary, 1971)
Month -- A space or period of time constituting a division of the year. Month, originally signified the time of one revolution of the moon, a lunation, or the period from one change...of the moon with the sun to another....This is the periodical [synodical] month, or as we generally call it, the lunar month. In the year there are twelve solar months, and thirteen lunar months. (American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828 edition)
In the Diaspora the New Moon came to occupy a secondary position in contrast to the Sabbath; the prohibition against work and the carrying on of commerce was lifted, and the New Moon, although still celebrated by means of increased offerings, soon was reduced to the rank of a minor of half holiday. Its importance was confined to the fact that it remained of great value and necessity for the fixing of the festivals. (Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, "New Moon," Vol. 8, p. 171)
Maimonides and most other Jewish chronologers agree that the modern Jewish calendar is based upon the "mean motions of the sun and moon, the true [calendar] having been set aside." (Maimonides, Kiddusch Ha-hodesch, Tr. Mahler, Wein, 1889)
Intercalations [of the calendar] were determined at meetings of a special commission of the Sanhedrin. But Constantius, following the tyrannous precedents of Hadrian, prohibited the holding of such meetings....How difficult the fixing of the annual calendar consequently became may be judged from an enigmatic letter addressed to Raba...and preserved in the Talmud....Almost the whole Diaspora depended for the legal observance of the feasts and fasts upon the calendar sanctioned by the Judea Sanhedrin; yet danger threatened the participants in that sanction and the messengers who communicated their decisions to distant congregations....As the religious persecutions continued, Hillel II determined to provide an authorized calendar for all time to come, though by so doing he severed the ties which united the Jews of the Diaspora to their mother country and to the patriarchate. (I. Singer and S. Mendelsohn, "Hillel II,” www.JewishEncyclopedia.com)
But What of Gentile (House of Israel) Believers?
Did this early break-off of true Nazarene[s]...also observe a Sabbath cycle?
Early historical records clearly confirm that very early Gentile Christians also kept the same [lunar] Sabbath Calendar as the...Nazarenes. This practice was first changed by [Pope] Sixtus in 126 A.D. and later officially changed by a royal Roman decree from the emperor Constantine. Observance of the Sabbath day was made illegal and observance of a "Sunday" of a FIXED WEEK was made mandatory for all except farmers. Previous to this time the ROMAN SATURDAY was the FIRST DAY OF THE ROMAN WEEK. The veneration of the Sun in the second century A.D. began to pressure Roman culture to change the first day of their week FROM SATURNDAY TO SUNDAY. (Had the Jews been observing this same Roman calendar at this early date, as some maintain, then their seventh day Sabbath would have been on FRIDAY which was the traditional seventh day of this Roman calendar during the first century A.D.). (ibid.)
In 130, Hadrian visited the ruins of Jerusalem left after the First Roman-Jewish War of 66–73. He promised to rebuild the city, but planning it as a pagan metropolis to be called Aelia Capitolina. A new pagan temple on the ruins of the Second Temple was to be dedicated to Jupiter. In addition, Hadrian abolished circumcision (brit milah), which he, as an avid Hellenist, viewed as mutilation. A Roman coin inscribed Aelia Capitolina was issued in 132. Hadrian's policies triggered the massive Jewish uprising (132–135), led by Bar Kokhba and Akiba ben Joseph.
Following the outbreak of the revolt, Hadrian called his general Sextus Julius Severus from Britain, and troops were brought from as far as the Danube. Roman losses were very heavy, and it is believed that an entire legion, the XXII Deiotariana was destroyed. Roman losses were so heavy that Hadrian's report to the Roman Senate omitted the customary salutation "I and the legions are well." Hadrian's army eventually defeated the revolt however. According to Cassius Dio, during the war 580,000 Jews were killed, 50 fortified towns and 985 villages razed.
After the end of the war, Hadrian continued the religious persecution of Jews, according to the Babylonian Talmud. He attempted to root out Judaism, which he saw as the cause of continuous rebellions, prohibited the Torah law, the Hebrew calendar and executed Judaic scholars. The sacred scroll was ceremoniously burned on the Temple Mount. At the former Temple sanctuary, he installed two statues, one of Jupiter, another of himself. In an attempt to erase any memory of Judea, he removed the name from the map and replaced it with Syria Palaestina, after the Philistines, the ancient enemies of the Jews. He re-established Jerusalem as the Roman pagan polis of Aelia Capitolina, and Jews were forbidden from entering it. (Hadrian from Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia)
This change from the luni-solar to a fixed solar calendar occurred in Rome during the repressive measures which were enacted against ALL Jewish customs...during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. With the fall of the Nazarene headquarters...at Jerusalem, this new Roman calendar quickly spread throughout 'Christendom.' This new calendar not only replaced yearly festival dates such as Passover, but it also revamped the concept of the week and its seventh day. (Iranaeus 2nd Century A.D.)
The...[lunar-solar] calendar was used by ALL the original disciples of Yeshua...This original Nazarene lunar-solar calendar was supplanted by a Roman "planetary week" and calendar in 135 C.E. -- when the "Bishops of the Circumcision" were displaced from Jerusalem. This began a three hundred year controversy concerning the TRUE CALENDAR AND CORRECT SABBATH: This [calendar] controversy arose after the exodus of the bishops of the circumcision and has continued until our time. (Epiphanius, HE4, 6, 4)
In the years following Clement of Alexandria’s time, an ominous change started to take place that was to radically change the Christian concept of the Sabbath. “This intimate connection,” records the Encyclopedia Biblica, “between the week and the month was soon dissolved. It is certain that the week soon followed a development of its own, and it became the custom – without paying any regard to the days of the month (i.e. the lunar month)." (Encyclopedia Biblica, The MacMillan Company, 1899. p. 5290)
The early Christians had at first adopted the Jewish [lunar] seven-day week with its numbered weekdays, but by the close of the third century A.D. this began to give way to the planetary week; and in the fourth and fifth centuries the pagan designations became generally accepted in the western half of Christendom. The use of the planetary names by Christians attests to the growing influence of astrological speculations introduced by converts from paganism. (Rest Days: A Study in Early Law and Morality. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1916, p. 220)
The present Jewish calendar was FIXED in the fourth century. (Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Letter by Louis Finkelstein to Dr. L. E. Froom, Feb. 20, 1939. Regarding the present Jewish calendar)
...it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul....Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way. (Life of Constantine, Eusebius, Book 3, Chapter 18, [recorded words of Constantine])
A Profession of Faith from the Church of Constantinople in the year 325 A.D. Under the Emperor Constantine
I renounce all customs, rites, legalisms. unleavened breads & sacrifices of lambs of the Hebrews, and all other feasts of the Hebrews, sacrifices, prayers, aspersions, purifications, sanctifications and propitiations and fasts, and new moons, and Sabbaths, and superstitions, and hymns and chants and observances and Synagogues, and the food and drink of The Hebrews; in one word, I renounce everything Jewish, every law, rite and custom and if afterwards I shall wish to deny and return to Jewish superstition, or shall be found eating with The Jews, or feasting with them, or secretly conversing and condemning the Christian religion instead of openly confuting them and condemning their vain faith, then let the trembling of Gehazi cleave to me, as well as the legal punishments to which I acknowledge myself liable. And may I be anathema in the world to come, and may my soul be set down with Satan and the devils. (The Conflict Of The Church And The Synagogue Athenaeum, Parks, James, New York, 1974, p. 397-398)
The second half of the above oath is as follows:
I accept all customs, rites, legalism, and feasts of the Romans, sacrifices, prayers, purifications with water, sanctifications by Pontificus Maximus 20 (high priests of Rome), propitiations, and feasts, and the New Sabbath “Sol dei” (day of the sun), all new chants and observances, and all the foods and drinks of the Romans. In other words, I absolutely accept everything Roman, every new law, rite and custom, of Rome, and the New Roman Religion. (A Profession of Faith from the Church of Constantinople in the year 325 C.E. Under the Emperor Constantine)
Under the reign of Constantius the persecutions of the Jews reached such a height that...the computation of the [lunisolar] calendar [was] forbidden under pain of severe punishment. (The Jewish Encyclopedia, “Calendar.” [Search for “Calendar.” Select “Calendar, History of.” The Quote is the last paragraph under the Talmudic Section.])
He shall insult the Most High, he shall torment/wear out the righteous ones of the Most High, and he shall attempt to change the calendar and the ordinance” (Daniel 7:25, Twentieth Century Knox translation)
According to the Jews
Declaring the new month by observation of the new moon, and the New Year by the arrival of spring, can only be done by the Sanhedrin. In the time of Hillel II [4th century A. D.], the last President of the Sanhedrin, the Romans prohibited this practice. Hillel II was therefore forced to institute his fixed calendar, thus in effect giving the Sanhedrin’s advance approval to the calendars of all future years. (The Jewish Calendar: Changing the Calendar, www.torah.org.)
The arrangement of the Jewish calendar as used in the time of Christ is no longer operative. Modern Jews are divided into two classes. The Karaite Jews, whose numbers are small, reject tradition and the Talmud, observe their feasts and festivals more nearly with those of Christ’s time as regards the true season, while the larger number of Jews follow the Rabbinical Calendar, the product of Rabbi Hillel and others about 353 A.D., which incorporates into it many of the ancient rules of calculation, but begin their year, and feasts and festivals a month earlier in the season than the Karaites as compared with our Calendar, as we have in 1844 the atonement by the Rabbinical Calendar would be September 23rd, while by the Karaites it was about that time in October.
By the Rabbinical calendar the First day of Nisan is always between March 12 and April 11, and is always one of four days, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday the first one after the new moon for that month. (Creation Centered in Christ, by H.G. Guinness, D.D., page 276. Also from Approximate Chronology, H. H. Perry, p. 21-22)
Sabbath and New Moon (Rosh Hodesh), both periodically recur in the course of the year. The New Moon is still, and the Sabbath originally was, dependent upon the lunar cycle. (Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 410)
One "proof" given to support the belief in a Saturday Sabbath is the fact that the word for the seventh-day of the week in many languages is, or bears a resemblance to, the word "Sabbath." This, too, is explained by Zerubavel:
The Jewish and astrological weeks evolved quite independently of one another. However, given the coincidence of their identical length, it was only a matter of time before some permanent correspondence between particular Jewish days and particular planetary days would be made. A permanent correspondence between the Sabbath and "the day of Saturn" was thus established...[some time] later than the first century of the present era, Jews even came to name the planet Saturn Shabtai, after the original Hebrew name of the Sabbath, Shabbath.
Moreover, as they came into closer contact with Hellenism, their conception of their holy day was evidently affected by the astrological conception of Saturn as a planet that has an overwhelming negative influence (a conception which, incidentally, is still evident even from the association of the English word "saturnine" with a gloomy disposition.) There are traditional Jewish superstitious beliefs about demons and evil spirits that hold full sway on the Sabbath, and an old Jewish legend even links the choice of "the day of Saturn" as the official Jewish rest day with the superstition that it would be an inauspicious day for doing any work anyway! (The Seven Day Circle: the History and Meaning of the Week, Eviatar Zerubavel, The Free Press, New York, 1985, p. 17)
Zerubavel clearly understands the origins of the ancient Hebrew calendar, as well as the connection to the Creator:
The dissociation of the week from a natural cycle such as the waxing and waning of the moon can be seen as part of a general movement toward introducing a supernatural deity. Not being personified as any particular natural force, the Jewish god was to be regarded as untouched by nature in any way. Accordingly, the day dedicated to this god was to be regarded as part of a divine temporal pattern that transcends even nature itself. That obviously involved dissociating the week from nature and its rhythms. Only by being based on an entirely artificial mathematical rhythm could the Sabbath observance become totally independent of the lunar or any other natural cycle. (The Seven Day Circle: the History and Meaning of the Week, Eviator Zerubavel, The Free Press, New York, 1985, p. 11)
The beginning of the month with the appearance of the new moon was -- as it is still -- of great practical importance among the Hebrews....The earliest appearance of the new moon was long ascertained by direct observation, and authoritatively settled by a commission of the Sanhedrin, and the intelligence then made known to the Jews at large, first by means of fire signals, and later on through special messengers. In the present day, and for many centuries, this very primitive manner of fixing the beginning of the month has given way to a systematic calculation of the latter's 22 duration, and the Jewish calendar is now constructed on the basis of a mean lunation of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 min., and 30 sec. (Catholic Encyclopedia, “New Moons in the Jewish Calendar.” www.New Advent.org: Catholic Encyclopedia Online. Search for “Jewish Calendar.” Scroll down under the section marked Month. Find that the Quote is the third sentence)
The first day of the lunar month was observed as a holy day....As on the Sabbath, trade and handicraft work were stopped (Amos 8:5; Ezekiel 46:3) and the temple was opened for public worship....It was an occasion for state banquets (1 Sam. 20:5-24). (Smith’s Bible Dictionary (1884): “New Moon”)
The Roman eight-day week was known as internundinum tempus or “the period between ninth-day affairs.” (This term must be understood within the context of the ancient Roman mathematical practice of inclusive counting, whereby the first day of a cycle would also be counted as the last day of the preceding cycle. The “ninth-day affair” around which this week revolved was the nundinæ, a periodic market day that was held regularly every eight days. (J. P. V. D. Balsdon, Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969), p. 59; P. Huvelin, Essai Historique sur le Droit des Marcheés et des Foires (Paris: Arthur Rousseau, 1897), p. 87; Ovid, Fasti (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1951), p. 6; Alan E. Samuel, Greek and Roman Chronology (Munich: C. H. Beck’s che Verlagbuchhandlung, 1972), p. 154)
Has Constantine's Cycling Planetary Week Always Been Used?
In spite of new evidence being revealed as to when the Sabbath was to commence from Creation to the time of the Tree, most religious authors continue to assume the cycling planetary week instituted by Constantine has always been used by the Hebrews, on the basis that it is utilized today. But is this true?
In order to assure against profanation of the Sabbath the Jews added the late Friday afternoon hours to the Sabbath. (The Jewish Festivals: History and Observance, p. 13)
If we look at the essentials of a day of rest and reflection which has a religious orientation, it is possible to justify the shifting of the Sabbath worship to Friday evening [the celebration of which was moved back to the eve of the feast] as early as the Middle Ages.... (Judaism: Between Yesterday and Tomorrow, Kung, p. 518)
By cautioning the Colossian members not to let others judge them for how they observed the festivals, New Moon celebrations and Sabbaths, Paul didn’t question whether they should be kept. The obvious implication of these verses is that these Gentile Christians were in fact observing these days, and in no way did Paul tell them to desist...the festivals, New Moons, and Sabbaths, since the calendar governing those days was determined by movements of the heavenly bodies. (Sunset to Sunset: God’s Sabbath Rest, p. 45)
Seventh-day Adventists and others have been taught as fact to believe that at the Council of Laodicea the sanctity of the Creator’s Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday. However, this was falsely construed to appear as such in the following English translation:
Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s Day they shall especially honor, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ. [Falsified representation of the Council of Laodicea, Canon 29]
NOTE: The above quote is in grave error and a cause for great misunderstanding. According to Karl J. von Hefele, a Catholic bishop, in his History of the Councils of the Church from the Original Documents, states that the word “Saturday” (dies Saturni) does not exist either in the Greek or Latin text. Rather, the word “Saturday” was supplied in the English translation in place of the word Sabbato, meaning [Hebrew] Sabbath. The following is the original text:
Quod non oportet Christianos Judaizere et otiare in Sabbato, sed operari in eodem die. Preferentes autem in veneratione Dominicum Diem si vacre voluerint, ut Christiani hoc faciat; quod si reperti fuerint Judaizere Anathema sint a Christo. (Council of Laodicea, Canon 29)
At the time the Julian calendar was being enforced upon Christians for religious purposes, no one confused the word Sabbato with dies Saturni. Simply everyone at that time knew these were two names for two different days on two distinctly different calendar models. It is only as the facts of history have been forgotten, that “Saturday” has been assumed to be the seventh-day Sabbath of Scripture and of the Israelites prior to the first century A.D. Therefore, this historic quote from the Council of Laodicea, Canon 29, referred only to the lunar Sabbath of the Hebrew calendar and not to the early Julian or later Gregorian Saturday, which keep the rhythm of the planetary cycling weeks.
Originally at creation, and passed down through the patriarchs and prophets, astro-lunisolar time-keeping was betrothed to mankind to synchronize earth with the worship rhythm of the heavens. This was the only time-system consistently kept by the Hebrew people during their times of obedience.
These...eventually led Jewish rabbis to call Saturn Shabbti, 'the star of the Sabbath.' It was not until the first century of our era, when the planetary week had become an established institution that the Jewish Sabbath seems always to have corresponded to Saturn's Day [Saturday]. (Rest Days, Hutton Webster p. 244)
Early historical records clearly confirm that very early Gentile Christians also kept the same Sabbath as the Nazarenes [Sabbato]. This practice was first changed by [Pope] Sixtus in 126 AD, and later officially changed by a royal Roman decree from the emperor Constantine. Observance of the Sabbath [Sabbato] day was made illegal and observance of a "Sunday" of a fixed [cycling planetary designated] week was made mandatory for all except farmers. Previous to this time the Roman Saturday [dies Saturni] was the first day of the Roman week. The veneration of the Sun in the second century AD began to pressure Roman culture to change the first day of their week from SaturnDay to SunDay. (Shawui Sabbath: Ancient Sabbath Observance [Scroll down to section 7: The Christian Sabbath Observance in History. The quote begins with the second sentence in this section.])
From merely the historical perspective the Creator's true "signs of the times" can be identified. The years begin in spring, instead of winter or fall. Each month is lunar and commences upon the crescent New Moon rather than the newly interpreted dark conjunction lunar phases. The week was ordained by the Creator to be counted from one to seven, and cycle only four times each lunar month, following each New Moon day. The day was to commence at sunset and the nighttime portion was divided by four watches followed by daytime that lasted for twelve hours. As a result, neither Friday, Saturday, nor Sunday can be the Creator's true seventh-day Sabbath -- except when the Sabbath occasionally falls on them.
We hope that these quotes will stimulate your thoughts and actions to seek a deeper understanding of the truths of the Most High that have been proactively hidden by the enemy of souls.
Edited by John D. Keyser.
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