Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chag Shavuot proves that the Lunar Sabbath is false

I have been debating many of the people who follow the Lunar Sabbath theory and have not gotten one piece of evidence from them to even consider the Lunar Sabbath to be true. The best argument I have seen from them so far is that of the counting of the “Omer” to the Feast of Weeks or “Chag Shavuot”. Let me explain to you how they see it, and then I will show you why their theory is totally incorrect.

The Lunar Sabbatarians count to Shavuot

They claim that in order to work out when Shavuot is, you need to observe 7 complete Sabbaths, and then the day after the 7th Sabbath, then you start counting 50 days. (and yes, they really do believe this). The only reason these people come to such a conclusion is because their false doctrine of the moon phase determining the Sabbath, does not work out according to the Scriptural requirements, so they have to create their own requirements in order to believe the lie. (which is not found in the Torah at all)

To justify this false doctrine, they even go as far as to say that Shavuot was when Mosheh came down from the mountain with the tablets where the Ten Commandments were written on by Elohim Himself. They also say this is when Aaron declared a festival on that day. All this falls in the 4th moon (or month). Keep this in mind as I will be explaining the truth about this further down in this article.

Please also note that this is one of the many views within the lunar sabbath community. There is certainly no cosistancy in this false doctrine as none of them can agree on many points, they are all trying to defend their belief without any facts. That is why they all have very different oppinions. 
As soon as you accept the true Scriptural calendar, then there are no inconsistancies or disagreements among its followers as it is very plain and easy to understand.

Now let us see what the real count to Shavuot is

To get a good idea of what and when Shavuot is, we need to look at the Hebrew meaning of the word, and also learn what Shavuot is all about. When we put these ‘clues’ together, you will see that the Lunar Sabbath is so silly and the people who follow it do not follow what the Torah of YHWH teaches, but are disobedient to the Word of YHWH.

Let us have a look at what Shavuot represents. We need to go to the Scriptures to learn about this as the Scriptures are the ultimate authority as it is the Word of the Almighty.

And from the morrow after the Sabbath (That falls within the feast of unleavened bread Matzot), from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you shall count for yourselves: seven completed Sabbaths. Until the morrow after the seventh Sabbath you count fifty days, then you shall bring a new grain offering to יהוה (YHWH)” (Lev 23:15-16)

Here we can see exactly when Shavuot is. As it clearly states that the count of fifty days will be completed at the day after the seventh Sabbath, we have to read this with a Hebrew mindset and not an English mindset, a native Hebrew will always read it this way as it is a Hebrew idiomatic phrase. We can even see this from the actual word Shavuot (Z«R§A¡[). This word is a plural word for shavua, which means “week”. It also comes from the root word “sheva” which means “seven” and “oath”. So here we can see that Shavuot comes from the word “seven” and “week” meaning that the count to Shavuot is a count of 7 weeks of 7 days each which is an oath given to us from YHWH Himself, just like the Scriptures teach us. Then the Torah goes on to teach us that Shavuot is on the day after the seventh Sabbath which MUST be the total of a 50 day count. (This is common Hebrew thought and understanding).

But let us do the maths quickly
7 days x 7 weeks = 49 days + the day after the 7th Sabbath = 50 days.

Hey, this works out 100% according to how the Torah teaches us to work out when Shavuot is, EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Now the maths for the lunar Sabbath will never work out this way.

Let us do the maths for the lunar Sabbath.

7 days x 7 weeks = 49 days + day after 7th sabbath + new moon day + conjunction day = 52 days + another 50 days = 102 days. (Even if you do not add the extra 50 days, it still does not add up to 50 days)

This just does not work out according to the requirement of the Torah. (This alone should be proof that the lunar Sabbath is totally false)

Let us look at another point of view, “In the third month after the children of Yisraĕl had come out of the land of Mitsrayim, on this day they came to the Wilderness of Sinai” (Exodus 19:1). Here we can see, if we read further, that the Ten Words (Commandments) were given during this month. Notice here that it was in the third month, that the ‘Torah’ was given to the Israelites. Here the Ten Commandments were spoken the men of Yisra’el directly from YHWH Himself. All the men of Yisra’el heard the voice of YHWH as he spoke these words to them.

Now I have had one of the lunar Sabbath followers ask me where it is written that the giving of the Torah is connected to Shavuot? Really? No wonder these people follow such silly false teachings, because they do not have any knowledge of the Torah whatsoever.

If Shavuot is not about the giving of the Torah (Ten Words) to the Israelites, then what is it about? What Jewish sect, or Torah followers do not read Exodus 19-20 on Shavuot? Even the other lunar Sabbath guys proclaim this (There is no unity within this false teaching as it is one big confusing mess).

Well, it is just a few ignorant people within the lunar Sabbath sect that believe this. The rest believe that Shavuot is calculated as 7 complete Sabbaths plus an extra 50 days. They say that Shavuot must fall in the 4th moon (or month) as that is when Mosheh came down from the mountain with the Tablets where the Ten Commandments were written on. They also say this is when Aaron declared a festival for the people of Yisra’el. But let us examine this in a little more detail.

What really happened on that day when Mosheh came down from the mountain with the Tablets of stone in his hands? And what feast did Aaron declare at that time? Once we learn these things, we can see exactly who the lunar Sabbath people are following and what feasts they keep.

We can find al these things in Sh’mot (Exodus) 32, let us read together, “And when the people saw that Mosheh was so long in coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Arise, make us mighty ones who go before us. For this Mosheh, the man who brought us up out of the land of Mitsrayim, we do not know what has become of him.” And Aaron said to them, “Take off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”
 “And all the people took off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he took this from their hand, and he formed it with an engraving tool, and made a moulded calf. And they said, “This is your mighty one, O Yisra’ĕl, that brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim!” (Exodus 32:1-4)

Here we can see that Aaron made a golden calf for the nation of Yisra’el to worship. Let us read further, And Aaron saw and built an altar before it. And Aaron called out and said, “Tomorrow is a festival to יהוה (YHWH).” And they rose early on the next day, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (Exodus 32:5-6)

Aaron went as far as to call the golden calf by the Name of YHWH, and declared a festival in honor of the golden calf. What do you think YHWH thought of this what the people had done? Let us see,And יהוה (YHWH) said to Mosheh, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Mitsrayim (Egypt) have corrupted themselves. “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a moulded calf, and have bowed themselves to it and slaughtered to it, and said, ‘This is your mighty one, O Yisra’ĕl, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim (Egypt)!” (Exodus 32:7-8)

So the people who were feasting were those that corrupted themselves and followed after things that the Almighty specifically told them not to do. YHWH even wanted to destroy them completely, but Mosheh convinced Him not to do so (Exodus 32:10-14).

Now when Mosheh came down from the mountain with the two Tablets of stone, where the Ten Commandments were written, did he give them to Yisra’el, did Yisra’el receive the Torah on this day, as the lunar Sabbath people claim? Let us see what the Torah teaches us about that, And Mosheh turned and went down from the mountain, and in his hand were the two tablets of the Witness, tablets written on both their sides, written on the one and on the other. And the tablets were the work of Elohim, and the writing was the writing of Elohim engraved on the tablets” (Exodus 32:15-16). So Mosheh did have the Tablets of the Commandments with him. Let us read further.

And it came to be, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. And Mosheh’s displeasure burned, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain” (Exodus 32:19). So as you can see, Mosheh was furious with the people and threw down the Tablets and broke them. So did Yisra’el receive the Torah or the Ten Commandments on this 4th month festival? Definitely not, and did this festival honor YHWH, the true Elohim? Definitely not, it was in honor of a pagan golden calf.

If you read on, you will see that Mosheh destroyed the golden calf, ground it up, threw it into the water and made the people drink the water. He also commanded the death of about three thousand men that day.

Now we know that Shavuot is in the 3rd month (moon), and NOT in the 4th month, so let us do the maths again. Let us say that the start of the count is from the middle of chag Matzot (the Feast of unleaven bread) the 18 Aviv (first month).

18th of the first month + 30 days = 18th of second month + 20 days = 7th or 8th of the THIRD MONTH. (30 +20 = 50)

Hey look…. Once again, we have a perfect calculation according to the requirements of the Torah for when Shavuot is. Can we get to this Torah requirement by using the lunar Sabbath calculation? Well let us do the maths and see where we land up.

18th of the first month + 30 days = 18th of second month + 22 days = 9th or 10th of the third month + 50 more days = 28th or 29th of the Fourth month or the 1st of the Fifth month (and could even be later if the conditions allow)

Oops, once again, this does not meet the Torah’s requirement at all. How can anyone who claims to follow the Torah, continue to follow the false lunar Sabbath that does not meet any of the Torah’s requirements? Only those who do not have a love for the truth will follow the lunar Sabbath.

So how is the Sabbath worked out?

The week is a continual cycle of 7 days without any interruptions like “new moon days” we can know this just by the Hebrew word for week, which is “shavua”, and its root word is “sheva” which just happens to be seven. The root word for Shabbat is also “sheva” proclaiming the 7th day of the week to be the Sabbath. “Sheva” also has the meaning of “oath” proclaiming the Sabbath to be an oath between YHWH and those who keep His 7th day Sabbath.

Now for another nail in the coffin for the lunar Sabbath

We read in Exodus 23:10-12 that the Sabbath of the land is a continual cycle of 7 years where there are 6 years of sowing and gathering the produce of the land and the 7th year is the Sabbatical (Sabbath year) where the land rests. This is the exact same model given to us for the weekly Sabbath. Now it is clear that the Sabbatical year is not governed by any moon cycle, but is governed by 1 day representing 1 year.

So if there is no new moon “year” or conjunction “year” then how is it possible that there is one for the weekly Sabbath? YHWH is constant and keeps to the same models and instruction as a remembrance of His work of Creation.

Now the Jubilee year is calculated with the same model as used for Shavuot. The day after the 7th Sabbatical year is the Jubilee which occurs every 50 years 7 x 7 years = 49 years +1 year = 50 years. Wow… The Almighty gave us such absolute evidence and cycles using the same models as the other created cycles to show us what the absolute truth is.

Let us look at some Historical Data 

Historical information can be helpful if we are trying to discern the truth of something that doesn't seem very clear to us from scripture. Although I believe the scriptures speak clearly about the seventh day Sabbath always occurring every seventh day, referencing historical works may be helpful for some who are not yet convinced. 

Lunar Sabbath keepers love to quote from a few Encyclopedic references which say that the week was originally tied to the lunar cycle. If we rely on such Encyclopedias to tell us about historical data, we might indeed wonder if the moon had something to do with setting the weeks. 

When researching this topic historically, we don't need to go any further in history than the time period that Yehoshua the Messiah was born into. We do know that He kept the Sabbath day and we know that He kept it on the same day as the rest of the Jews in His day. For example: 

So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read” (Luke 4:16)

The first century disciples also did the same:

Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures” (Acts 17:2)

So, for me the question is whether or not there are any first century eyewitnesses that may enlighten us as to whether the Jews of that time kept the Sabbath by the moon, or by a recurring seven day week. 

Can we find a clear answer to this question? Absolutely. 
To find a clear answer to this question, we will examine the Talmud, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Josephus

1. The Talmud

First of all, please understand that I do not believe in following the Talmud or looking at it as being authoritative for doctrine 

I'm not going to be using it for the purposes of telling anyone how or when to keep the Sabbath, except that we can know that the Messiah was in agreement with the weekly Sabbath of 1st century Judaism. Therefore, we will only use the Talmud to help us understand what views of 1st and 2nd century Judaism actually were. 

The Talmud is a pretty good source because although it was compiled about 130 years after the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, parts of it act as a historical reference for things that were going on when the temple was still standing. 

The Talmud is composed of three parts. There is the Mishnah, which is the central focal point of the whole Talmud. There is the Gemara, which is a commentary on the Mishnah. Then there is Rashi's commentary on both. 

The Mishnah simply records the beliefs of 1st century Judaism. It speaks often about the views of two Jewish scholars called Shammai and Hillel. They were leaders of two (often opposing) schools of thought, called "houses." Hillel and Shammai lived from c. 50 BCE to 50 CE so they were alive during Yehoshua's ministry on the earth.

The Talmud records some 300+ differences of opinion between both houses. In Judaism, the views of the house of Hillel (Beth Hillel) usually prevailed over the views of the house of Shammai (Beth Shammai). 

As you will see, the Talmud is pretty clear that the Lunar Sabbath was not observed by Beth Hillel, Beth Shammai, or any Jewish man living in the first century. 

(please keep in mind that the lunar sabbatarians very often, try use the writings of Hillel to support the false theory of the lunar Sabbath. They have to twist his writings and use them out of context in order to do so)

In our first example, we will examine a difference of opinion between Hillel and Shammai on what blessing needed to be recited if the "new moon falls on a Sabbath." 

"R. Zera replied: The New Moon is different from a festival - Since its mention is included in the benediction on the sanctity of the day in the morning and evening prayers it is also included in that of the additional prayer. But do Beth Shammai uphold the view that the mention of the New Moon is to be included? Was it not in fact taught: If a New Moon falls on a Sabbath, Beth Shammai ruled: One recites in his additional prayer eight benedictions and Beth Hillel ruled: Seven? This is indeed a difficulty." Talmud - Mas. Eiruvin 40b

Of course, if they were keeping the Lunar Sabbath, the New Moon can never fall on a Sabbath because the Lunar Sabbath is never on the first day of the month. This difference of opinion wouldn't have been recorded if they kept the Lunar Sabbath. 

Next, we will see that the Mishnah records what the first century temple priests did with the non-meat portions of the Passover Lamb:

"Mishnah. The bones, and the sinews, and the nothar of the paschal lamb are to be burnt on the sixteenth. If the sixteenth falls on the Sabbath, they are to be burnt on the seventeenth, because they do not override either the Sabbath or the festival." Talmud - Pesachim 83a

With the Lunar Sabbath, there is no such thing as the sixteenth day of the month falling on the Sabbath. These are not men who are trying to figure out how to fit a weekly Sabbath into Babylonian life, it is a reference to the acts of first century priests who certainly did not keep the Lunar Sabbath. These are the practices observed during the temple era when Yehoshua and His disciples lived. 

The Mishnah also recorded the following rule regarding the meal offerings:

"Mishnah. A man may offer a meal-offering consisting of sixty tenths and bring them in one vessel if a man said, I take upon myself to offer sixty tenths, he may bring them in one vessel. But if he said, I take upon myself to offer sixty-one tenths, he must bring sixty in one vessel and the one in another vessel; for since the congregation bring on the first day of the feast of tabernacles when it falls on a Sabbath sixty-one tenths as a meal-offering, it is enough for an individual that his meal-offering be less by one tenth than that of the congregation." Talmud - Menachoth 103b

Obviously, this is a record of what went on while the temple was still standing because after that time, there would be no place to take it. With a Lunar Sabbath, there is never a time when the first day of the feast of Tabernacles falls on any day other than the Sabbath (15th day of the seventh month). 

Obviously, the recorded practices of first century Judaism while the temple still stood indicate that they did not keep a Lunar Sabbath. They kept the Sabbath on a recurring, seven day week just as it is given in Genesis chapter 1, independent of the moon cycle. Therefore, since Yehoshua kept the Sabbath along with the rest of the Jews of that period, He did not participate in a Lunar Sabbath, a doctrine that doesn't appear to exist in Judaism at that time.

I should also mention that if you ever read the Talmud in depth, you will come away with one clear impression: They debated about almost everything. Something as major as a change in when the Sabbath is observed ought to have been at least debated somewhere. After all, they debated every little fine point of the law! The lack of such a debate speaks volumes.
2. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Josephus

The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered by scholars to be authored by the Essenes, a sect in first century Judaism. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, there are a number of extra-biblical scrolls which appear to shed light on what this sect believed and practiced. Understanding what they believed can be helpful in determining whether or not the Lunar Sabbath was being observed by mainstream Judaism of that time.

It is generally undisputed (even by Lunar Sabbatarians) that the authors of these scrolls did not keep a Lunar Sabbath. Rather, the Calendrical scroll shows that they observed a recurring seven day weekly cycle, independent of the moon phases. I know of no one who disputes this. The Calendrical Scroll and the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice confirms this.

Of course, Lunar Sabbatarians generally will teach that this Jewish sect was wrong about the Sabbath.

But in the book of Josephus, he speaks much about the Essenes. Josephus was a first century Jewish historian who wrote much about life in Judea during the first century. He goes into great detail as to how practices of the Essenes were different than others. He mentions everything from how the Essenes don't carry anything with them when they travel, to how they regard oil to be defilement. In Wars of the Jews 2:119-161, Josephus speaks of them in no less than 2000 words, describing over 100 characteristics of their way of life. 

So did Josephus mention that they kept the Sabbath on a day that was different than the rest of Judaism?

… Moreover, they are stricter than any other of the Jews in resting from their labors on the seventh day; for they not only get their food ready the day before, that they may not be obliged to kindle a fire on that day, but they will not move any vessel out of its place, nor go to stool thereon” (Wars of the Jews 2:147)

In this, Josephus even goes so far as to say that the Essenes are "stricter than any other of the Jews in resting from their labors on the seventh day." Does it sound like there was any disagreement as to when the Sabbath was? Wouldn't it seem strange that Josephus would mention that the Essenes were stricter in their resting from labors on the Sabbath but not bother to mention that the Essenes held the Sabbath on a totally different day than the other Jews of that period? 

The fact is, if the Essenes were keeping a different day than the rest of Judaism, Josephus wouldn't have been able to say that they were even resting on the seventh day to begin with. He would have to say they were typically resting on some other day. 

There is no record in the Dead Sea Scrolls of the Essenes disagreeing with other groups as to when the Sabbath was. In fact, there is no historical record of any Jewish sects disagreeing with each other on when the Sabbath was.  

In another interesting note, Josephus speaks of one of the large towers that were built in Jerusalem:

and the last was erected above the top of the Pastophoria, where one of the priests stood of course, and gave a signal beforehand with a trumpet, at the beginning of every seventh day, in the evening twilight, as also at the evening when that day was finished, as giving notice to the people when they were to stop work, and when they were to go to work again” (Wars of the Jews 4:582)

So his report is that a trumpet was blown at the beginning of every seventh day, to mark when the people should stop working, and begin working. As an interesting side note, archaeological finds concur with Josephus' comments about the place of trumpeting:

"When we excavated the beautifully paved Herodian street adjacent to the southern wall and near the southwestern corner of the Enclosure Wall, we found a particularly large ashlar block. On the inside was a niche where a man might stand, especially if the ashlar were joined to another which would enlarge the niche.
On the outside was a carefully and elegantly incised Hebrew inscription: LBYT HTKY ’H LHH [RYZ]; “To the place of Trumpeting to (declare).” If the restoration of the world “declare” is correct, the rest of the missing part of the inscription probably went on to tell us more about the declaring of the beginning and the end of the Sabbath.
The stone had been toppled during the Roman destruction of the Temple onto the street below where it had lain for nearly two thousand years until we uncovered it.
It must have originally come from the pinnacle of the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount. From a spot on top of the Temple chambers a priest would blow a trumpet on Sabbath Eve, to announce the arrival of the Sabbath and the cessation of all labour, and to announce, on the following evening, the departure of the Sabbath and the resumption of all labor.
The entire city was visible from this spot on the southwest corner of the Temple Mount; the clarion call of the trumpet would reach the farthest markets of the city. Such a scene is recounted by Josephus in his work, The Jewish War. (IV, 582)." Editor, H. S. 2004; 2004. BAR 06:04 (July/Aug 1980)
” Biblical Archaeology Society

Josephus also records that Agatharchides, a 2nd century BCE Greek Historian, wrote something quite interesting about Ptolemy's defeat of Jerusalem:

"When Agatharchides had premised this story, and had jested upon Stratonice for her superstition, he gives a like example of what was reported concerning us, and writes thus:--
209 ``There are a people called Jews, and dwell in a city the strongest of all other cities, which the inhabitants call Jerusalem, and are accustomed to rest on every seventh day; on which times they make no use of their arms, nor meddle with husbandry, nor take care of any affairs of life, but spread out their hands in their holy places, and pray till the evening.
210 Now it came to pass, that when Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, came into this city with his army, that these men, in observing this mad custom of theirs, instead of guarding the city, suffered their country to submit itself to a bitter lord; and their law was openly proven to have commanded a foolish practice
" (Against Apion 1:208)

Ptolemy was the General of Alexander the Great, who took over Jerusalem in 332 BCE. We see that the Jews would not defend themselves or take up arms on the Sabbath, which was "every seventh day." 

If I were to describe the Sabbath keeping practices of Lunar Sabbatarians, I certainly wouldn't describe their Sabbath keeping as something they did "every seventh day." Rather, I would mention that they only keep a Sabbath on certain days of the month. Therefore, it's quite evident that Josephus was describing the practice laid out for us "in the beginning" when Elohim created the first week and that is to rest every seventh day, without moon interruptions.

There is no indication whatsoever in the entire Scriptures that the week is not a continual cycle of seven days, and every appointed time works out 100% according to the Torah using the continual cycle of seven days.

If you follow the lunar Sabbath, then you are not keeping YHWH’s Sabbath and therefore you are not one of His people. The Sabbath is a sign between the Almighty and His people.

In fact, if you follow the lunar Sabbath, you are worshiping the golden calf, and just as Mosheh broke the Tablets of the Ten Commandments because of idolatry, so too are the lunar Sabbath people breaking the Torah of YHWH by their idolatrous festivals. You see, the festival that the lunar Sabbath people celebrate is the festival that Aaron declared for the golden calf in the 4th month (moon), and not the festival of Shavuot.

Whoever teaches that the festival in the 4th month is Shavuot is totally ignorant of the Torah or is just a straight out liar seeking a following. These people are not to be trusted as you can see for yourself that the Torah proves them to be liars.

I will continue to say that the lunar Sabbath teachers are idiots and liars and do not know the Torah of YHWH and should have their mouths shut. And all those who follow these people are those who do not study the Torah for themselves.

To truly have a relationship with the Almighty, you cannot follow the lunar Sabbath as it is breaking His Torah and following after other mighty ones.

You can read more about the lunar Sabbath on the following two links:

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