Three Days Journey
The Lunar Sabbath doctrine always has the Sabbath falling on the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th days of a lunar month. If the Sabbath were on the 22nd day of the month, the children of Israel would have been traveling on the Sabbath:
Num 10:11-12 - Now it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle of the Testimony.
12 And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai on their journeys; then the cloud settled down in the Wilderness of Paran.
33 - So they departed from the mountain of Yahweh on a journey of three days; and the ark of the covenant of Yahweh went before them for the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them.
Since they began their journey on the 20th, they would have journeyed on the 20th, 21st and 22nd days...seeking a resting place. No rest was found until the 23rd day of the lunar month. Therefore, these verses easily disprove the Lunar Sabbath doctrine. While some have suggested that the "journey of three days" is simply a measurement of distance, the context has to do with with how many days they traveled, not the distance from one place to another. Besides, if they were searching out a resting place and had to journey for 3 days until they found it, how is it that anyone could say they found a place to rest (keeping a Sabbath) before the 3 days had expired?
Count to Pentecost
Another pretty obvious problem with the Lunar Sabbath is how it contradicts how the Feast of Weeks is commanded to be observed. We are told to count 7 Sabbaths from the Sabbath that occurs during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This would consist of 49 days. Then it says that we would arrive at 50 days if we count to the day after the seventh Sabbath:
Leviticus 23:15-16 And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed.
16 'Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to Yahweh.
Let's now look and see if this fits as a possibility for a Lunar Sabbath keeper. The small numbers will indicate the counting of 50 days from the day after the Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread:
Abib (First Month)
<-- 1st day of feast
As you can see in the above calendar, the Feast of Weeks does not fit at all into the Lunar Sabbath model. In scripture, Yahweh said that when we count 50 days, we will count "to the day after the seventh Sabbath." In the above Lunar Sabbath calendar, it is impossible for the 50th day to be "the day after the seventh Sabbath." In fact, Pentecost/Shavuot can never be "the day after the seventh Sabbath" if we keep Lunar Sabbaths. This is because in the 7 week time period they are going to run into the end of the 1st month, which will include extra "new moon days." If you account for those days, you will come up with more than 50 days needed for Pentecost/Shavuot to arrive on "the day of the 7th Sabbath.
Thus, Lunar Sabbath keeping again contradicts the scriptures.
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.
But the truth is, most of those references are very old and are relying theories that have their basis in the idea that the bible was not authored and inspired by Yahweh.
Rather, such articles are usually written by people who have the same historical data we do, but they generally don't even believe in the scriptures, and view Yahweh to be just another one of those "tribal war gods." Because they don't believe in the scriptures, they make statements like the Sabbath was originally tied to the moon. This is due to an assumption that the children of Israel picked up Sabbath keeping from being in Babylon, or some other pagan culture that may have used the moon in setting monthly observances.
When researching this topic historically, we don't need to go any further in history than the time period that Yahushua 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:
Luke 4:16 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.
The first century disciples also did the same:
Acts 17:2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
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, Josephus and various Roman Historians and writers of that period.
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 me how or when to keep the Sabbath, except that I know 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 Yahushua'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.
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 Yahushua 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 Yahushua 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?
Wars of the Jews 2:147 ... 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.
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:
Wars of the Jews 4:582 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.
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:
Against Apion 1:208 "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"
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.
3. Roman Historians and Writers
There seems to be a trend among Lunar Sabbath keepers to refer to people like me who keep a recurring weekly Sabbath as "Satyr-day keepers" -- as if we are following the a pagan Roman week rather than the week that they believe to be in the scriptures.
The truth is that Jews didn't want the holy Sabbath to be associated with "Saturn," an idol that had nothing to do with Judaism. The name "Saturday/Day of Saturn" originated with the pagans, not with the Jews. The Jews repeatedly and unequivocally refer to the seventh day of the week as "the Sabbath."
However, when it comes to determining whether or not the Jews of the first century kept the Sabbath using the Lunar Sabbath or, as I believe, a recurring weekly Sabbath, examining the records of Roman historians and other writers can be helpful. By the admission of Lunar Sabbath keepers, and clear historical record, the Romans did not follow the moon phases when determining the weeks, or even the months for that matter.
For this reason, we can look into the writings of Roman historians and other writers to see if the Romans associated the Jewish Sabbath with their "Saturday/Day of Saturn." If they did associate the Sabbath with their Day of Saturn in the first century or before, this would be undeniable evidence that the Jewish week and the Roman week were both kept on the same recurring weekly cycle.
As we will see in this section, there is no doubt that Roman historians and other writers explicitly and repeatedly consider the timing of Jewish Sabbath keeping to be linked with the seventh day of the Roman week, which was a repeating seven day cycle, independent of the moon phases.
70 - 84 CE (AD)
Frontinus, a Roman Soldier who lived from c. 40 CE to 103 CE, wrote book on military strategy called Strategematicon in 84 A.D. In it, he writes:
"The deified Augustus Vespasian attacked the Jews on the day of Saturn, a day on which it is sinful for them to do any business." Frontinus Stratagem 2.1.17.
The original Latin version of this book has "Saturnis" for Saturn, confirming that the Romans associated the Sabbath day with their "day of Saturn." It is this association that resulted in the 7th day of the modern week being called "Satur-day."
Since this book was written a mere 14 years after Vespasian's (Titus') destruction of Jerusalem, this is this is obviously very strong historical evidence directly from a first century eyewitness, tying in the Sabbath with "Saturn's day (Saturday)."
63 BCE - 229 CE
Cassius Dio, a Roman Historian who lived from ca. 155 to 229 CE, using the historical annals of the Roman empire, wrote about 3 battles which the Roman empire had with the Jews.
The first battle was during a time when the Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, two brothers who were the offspring of the Maccabees, were engaged in a dispute over who would rule. The Romans, through the actions of Pompey, came in and settled the dispute, siding with Hyrcanus. While speaking of Pompey's battle, the Sabbath is mentioned.
The setting is 63 BCE:
"Most of the city, to be sure, he took without any trouble, as he was received by the party of Hyrcanus; but the temple itself, which the other party had occupied, he captured only with difficulty.
For it was on high ground and was fortified by a wall of its own, and if they had continued defending it on all days alike, he could not have got possession of it.
As it was, they made an excavation of what are called the days of Saturn, and by doing no work at all on those days afforded the Romans an opportunity in this interval to batter down the wall.
The latter, on learning of this superstitious awe of theirs, made no serious attempts the rest of the time, but on those days, when they came round in succession, assaulted most vigorously.
Thus the defenders were captured on the day of Saturn, without making any defense, and all the wealth was plundered.
The kingdom was given to Hyrcanus, and Aristobulus was carried away." Cassius Dio Roman History 37.16.1-4
So the Romans took advantage of the fact that the Jews would not work on the Sabbath. When was the Sabbath? Again, the weekly Sabbath coincides with the Roman "days of Saturn."
The second battle listed by Cassius Dio occurred in 36 BCE, is the one that resulted in the very first King Herod coming to power:
"The Jews, indeed, had done much injury to the Romans, but they suffered far more themselves.
Note that Cassius Dio reports the Jews as keeping "customary rites" at the temple on "the day even then called Day of Saturn." This indicates that the Sabbath wasn't only called the "Day of Saturn" during his lifetime, but it was called the "Day of Saturn" back in 36 BCE, well before Yahushua was born in Bethlehem.
The first of them to be captured were those who were fighting for the precinct of their god, and then the rest on the day even then called the day of Saturn.
And so excessive were they in their devotion to religion that the first set of prisoners, those who had been captured along with the temple, obtained leave from Sosius, when the day of Saturn came round again, and went up into the temple and there performed all the customary rites, together with the rest of the people.
These people Antony entrusted to a certain Herod to govern; but Antigonus he bound to a cross and flogged,— a punishment no other king had suffered at the hands of the Romans,— and afterwards slew him." Cassius Dio Roman History 49.22.4-6
Next, he records that the 70 CE Jerusalem destruction was on the Sabbath, which he once again calls the "day of Saturn:"
70 - 229 CE
Thus was Jerusalem destroyed on the very day of Saturn, the day which even now the Jews reverence most.
So his report is that the Jews kept the Sabbath on the "day of Saturn" from 63 BCE up until his day, no later than 229 CE. His report also agrees with Frontinus' account of the 70 CE battle.
From that time forth it was ordered that the Jews who continued to observe their ancestral customs should pay an annual tribute of two denarii to Jupiter Capitoline.
In consequence of this success both generals received the title of imperator, but neither got that of Judaïcus, although all the other honours that were fitting on the occasion of so magnificent a victory, including triumphal arches, were voted to them. Cassius Dio Roman History 65.7.2
c. 100 CE
The Historian Cornelius Tacitus (ca. 56CE – ca. 117CE), after suggesting that Jews kept the Sabbath out of laziness, also associated the Sabbath with the Roman idol, Saturn:
They are said to have devoted the seventh day to rest, because that day brought an end to their troubles. Later, finding idleness alluring, they gave up the seventh year as well to sloth.
Others maintain that they do this in honor of Saturn; either because their religious principles are derived from the Idaei, who are supposed to have been driven out with Saturn and become the ancestors of the Jewish people; or else because, of the seven constellations which govern the lives of men, the star of Saturn moves in the topmost orbit and exercises peculiar influence, and also because most of the heavenly bodies move round their courses in multiples of seven. From The Histories, Book V
Again, the fact that a pagan associated Sabbath keeping with Saturn demonstrates that the Roman week's day of Saturn (Satur-day) was concurrent with what Yahweh calls the Sabbath day. Tacitus is an eyewitness from the first century who has no "axe to grind" in regards to when the Sabbath should be observed. He wrote this a mere 30 years after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.
28 BCE to 1 BCE
Tibullus, a Latin Poet who lived from 54 BCE - 19 BCE, references the Sabbath in one of his Elegies. The Poet is quoted by J. Hugh Michael in his paper entitled "The Jewish Sabbath in the Latin Classical Writers." In this Journal article, he says:
"Tibullus, again, gives us a glimpse of the influence of the Sabbath on the Romans. The Poet, sick in a foreign land, complains of his loneliness; neither mother nor sister has he there to nurse him; nor is Delia with him--she who had inquired of all the gods before permitting him to leave the city. Says Tibillus:
All promised a return; yet did nothing stay her from looking back in tears and terror on my journey. Yea, even I her comforter, after I had given my parting charge, sought still in my disquiet for reasons to linger and delay. Either birds or words of evil omen were my pretexts, or there was the holy day of Saturn to detain me. (Book I, Eleg. iii 13-18 in Postgate's translation in the Loeb Classics.)
The day of which the poet speaks is of course the Saturday, or, as Postgate puts it, "the Jewish Sabbath, on which no work was to be undertaken," and the implication is clear that unwillingness to set off on a journey on the Sabbath day was no unusual thing among the inhabitants of Rome, for Tibullus is enumerating the common reasons for the postponement of journeys of which he was only too ready to avail himself." The Jewish Sabbath in the Latin Classical Writers. J. Hugh Michael Victoria College, Toronto, Canada. The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 40, No. 2. (Jan., 1924), pp. 117-124.
It is interesting that Roman's would have any concern at all about traveling on the Sabbath. J. Hugh Michael references another writing by the Poet Ovid, who lived from 43 BCE to 17 CE:
Still more impressive is the witness of Ovid. In the Ars Amatoria he instructs the young Roman who is desirous of finding an object for his affections how he should set about his search.
The quest need not take him far a field: there is no lack of suitable damsels in Rome.
The poet even specifies the parts of Rome where the quest of the amorous youth is most likely to be crowned with success: he should not neglect '(Adonis lamented of Venus, or the seventh day observed as holy by the Syrian Jew."
The first part of this direction can only mean that the youth should visit the Temple of Venus when her grief for Adonis was commemorated on the anniversary of his death.
Similarly the second part must mean that he should attend the Sabbath services held in the Jewish synagogues.
Is it possible to attach any other meaning to the advice that the youth should not avoid the seventh day observed by the Syrian Jew?
And what meaning is there in the counsel unless Roman maidens were wont to attend those services?
It is not easy to think that it was the poet's intention that the young Roman should become enamored of a Jewess! The Jewish Sabbath in the Latin Classical Writers. J. Hugh Michael Victoria College, Toronto, Canada. The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 40, No. 2. (Jan., 1924), pp. 117-124
The work that J. Hugh Michael references, Ars Amatoria, was written in approximately 1 BCE. Thus, it is evident that even the Romans were associating the seventh day of their Roman week with the Sabbath. It is also historical evidence that they were observing a 7 day week at that time. But was Sabbath keeping really this tied into their culture?
The Sabbath does appear to be closely entwined to the weekly cycle of the first century Romans. This is evidenced by the writings of Suetonius. Suetonius (ca. 69CE - 130CE) was a Roman historian who wrote "Lives of twelve Caesars" in 119 CE. While describing the life of Tiberius Caesar (14 - 37 CE), he wrote::
"The grammarian Diogenes, who used to lecture every Sabbath at Rhodes, would not admit Tiberius when he came to hear him on a different day, but sent a message by a common slave of his, putting him off to the seventh day. When this man waited before the Emperor's door at Rome to pay his respects, Tiberius took no further revenge than to bid him return seven years later." Suetonius The Life of Tiberius 32.2
Rhodes was a major schooling center for Roman families. It's interesting that the seventh day is referred to as the "Sabbath" (Latin: sabbatis) in Roman literature, especially when it is written by a pagan historian who was even the Roman Emperor's secretary for a time (Wikipedia entry on Suetonius).
It appears that J. Hugh Michael's references to the Roman poets, as well as this reference from Suetonius, is a strong indication that the seventh day Sabbath had become more tied into Roman society than most people realize. Possibly this is one of the reasons Josephus said:
"The masses have long since shown a keen desire to adopt our religious observances; and there is not one city, Greek or barbarian, nor a single nation, to which our custom of abstaining from work on the seventh day has not spread and where our fasts and the lighting of lamps and many of our prohibitions in the matter of food are not observed. Apion 2:282-283
In consideration of these things, it appears to me that the Romans picked up the recurring seven day week from the Jews, not the other way around. For 5 centuries or longer the Romans had kept an 8 day week with the days being named by the letters of the alphabet A through H. They did not keep a seven day week until they came into more contact with Sabbath keeping Jews in the early centuries BCE.
The fact that they named the days of the week after various planetary idols doesn't prove that they originated the recurring 7 day week. The naming of the days after planetary idols appears to have originated with either the Babylonians or the Hindu civilization, not the Romans.
So if you are a Lunar Sabbath keeper, the obvious question for you is, "If the Jews in the first century kept the Lunar Sabbath, and only later adopted what you call the 'Roman week,' why do the first century Romans keep saying the Jewish Sabbath is on their "day of Saturn (Saturday)?" The obvious answer to the obvious question is that the first century Jews, including Yahushua the Messiah and His disciples, kept the same recurring seven day week as the Romans. It is historical fact that the same week and day sequence exists to this day and has not changed. Yahweh has preserved His holy Sabbath!
Historically, Lunar Sabbath keepers believe that the Lunar Sabbath was observed by 1st century Judaism, but was lost some time after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. But even if one rejects all the evidence to the contrary, it would seem quite impossible for every Sabbath keeper scattered all throughout the world to simultaneously drop a supposed "Lunar Sabbath," all without a trace of evidence of such a dramatic change. The clear historical record is that the Jews of the first century kept the Sabbath just as we do, on a recurring seven day week.
Scripturally, you can look from Genesis to Revelation, but you will not find a single commandment to keep the "Lunar Sabbath." Just as Yahweh has ensured that His inspired word was not lost in antiquity, He also protected His holy Sabbath. Adam kept it, Noah kept it, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob kept it. Joshua kept it, the righteous judges and kings kept it. The prophets of Yahweh kept it, the returning exiles who were very meticulous about the Sabbath kept it, and we know that Yahushua and His disciples kept it, proving that Yahweh preserved His Sabbath up until the 1st century CE. The same is true today. Yahweh has preserved His word, His Name, and His Sabbath for us today. Let's forsake any teachings that would draw anyone away from the example He set in Genesis chapter 1 and 2.
Questions and Answers about the Lunar Sabbath
1) Please explain Ezekiel 46:1 - how can the gate be opened and closed at the same time?
This is grounded in the premise that there must always be six consecutive working days without interruption. But whether you keep the Lunar Sabbath or weekly recurring Sabbath, the six working days will be interrupted by the feasts like the last day of Unleavened Bread, which falls on the 21st day of the 1st month and the Day of Atonement, which falls on the 10th day of the 7th month.
The point was that the gates would be open when people gathered for worship. The Sabbath and New Moon are the regular exceptions to the gate being closed, but there are other exceptions regardless of whether or not you believe in a recurring weekly Sabbath. Thus, Ezek. 46 proves nothing either way.
2) How does the prophecy in Lam. 2:6 apply to the Sabbath and Feasts of the Yahudim?
They were forgotten in "Tsion" because they were carried away into captivity, the very thing that Lamentations is mourning about.
3) Why couldn’t they wait for the Sabbath and New Moons to be over in Amos 8:5 if we are free to buy and sell on the new moons?
Amos would have been referring to the new moon of the 7th new moon of the year, which is the Feast of Trumpets. This is the only new moon in scripture where work is expressly forbidden so Amos would be referring to that.
4) Explain the offerings for daily, Sabbaths, new moons; Num. 28:4-15; why are there no provisions for new moon offerings that fall on the Sabbath or Sabbath offerings that fall on a new moon?
There didn't need to be. One would just perform whatever offerings were required for the kind of day it was.
5) Psalm 81:3 - please explain. In comparison with Genesis and they are for signs. Moedim. Is the full moon on the festival day and if it is how do you get to the full moon in 15 days starting with the crescent moon?
The full moon will occur during the 15th day of the month if we understand the crescent to be the new moon.
Go to http://www.eliyah.com/moon.html and for Ava, Missouri look at the moon phase for the night of 1/19/07 which gives us a new moon for 1/20/07. Now do the same for 2/2/07. That night the moon is at 100% illumination. I have noticed this a number of times during my own keeping of the feasts.
Now go and look at the Astronomical new moon for 3/18/07. Notice that it's at 9:44pm so that puts the conjunction keeper's new moon day on 3/19/07. Now look up the data for 4/1/07 to see what the moon will look like on the night which begins 4/2/07, the conjunction keeper's 15th day of the month (and Feast of Unleavened Bread actually). Notice it's at 96% illumination, not quite a full moon yet.
6) Please explain Amos 5:25-27 - who is Sikkuth and Kiyyun and what exactly is this astral mighty one (star g*d) and does it correlate to satyr-day?
Kiyyun was a Babylonian idol. Didn't they keep a Lunar week? In my mind, this is not relevant to anything. The Romans happened to call the seventh day of the week the "Day of Saturn," but the Jews always called it "Shabbat."
7) When Yahweh commanded them to march around the walls of Jericho for seven days, wouldn't that have been violating the Sabbath?
No. The thing to remember about ancient cities in the land of Israel is that they generally covered a relatively small piece of land. Ancient Davidic Jerusalem was only about 12 acres in size and had a population of about 2000. That increased to about 32 acres in size under Solomon's rule with a population of about 5000. Archaeological finds do indicate that Jericho was fairly small in size:
"Archaeological digs indicate the walls of ancient Jericho enclosed an area about 5 to 6 acres in size." (John Garstang, “The Walls of Jericho. The Marston-Melchett Expedition of 1931,” PEFQS 1931, p. 186).
In light of this, a person walking around the walls of Jericho would need to walk about 700 yards max. The traditional "Sabbath day's journey" mentioned in Acts 1:12 is about 1000-1200 yards.