Does the Moon Regulate the Weekly Sabbaths?
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Does the Moon Regulate the Weekly Sabbaths?

Does the Moon Regulate the Weekly Sabbaths?

It is argued by the lunar Sabbatarians that the weekly Sabbath is regulated by the moon. They compare a few texts and come to this conclusion. Let us investigate their view.

From Scripture we find that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the Creator’s week and that there is a luminary that regulates the appointed times, including the Sabbath (Genesis 1:14, Psalm 104:19, Leviticus 23:1-3). (Troy Miller, The Moon Regulates the Weekly Sabbath, p. 2; emphasis in original; accessed 11-4-13 at www.creationcalendar.com under the link entitled “Proof from Genesis One that the Sabbath is regulated by the moon!”)

Let us look at those texts and see what connections they are making.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. (Genesis 1:14)

He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. (Psalm 104:19)

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:1-3)

Yes, the word seasons in Genesis 1:14 and in Psalm 104:19 and the word feasts in Leviticus 23:1-3 are translations of the same Hebrew word mow’ed.

And mow’ed means,

“an appointment, i.e. a fixed time or season; specifically a festival . . . an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation . . . ” (James Strong, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, #4150)

Their conclusion is simply this: Based on Psalm 104:19, the moon is appointed to regulate the seasons (mow’ed), and the Sabbath is also a feast (mow’ed), so the moon regulates the seventh-day Sabbath.

Well, the word mow’ed is also used for different purposes and not just for the appointed feasts. In the book of Jeremiah we see the prophet using the word mow’ed in reference to the timing of a bird’s travel:

Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7)

The Hebrew word translated appointed times is mow’ed. It has nothing to do with God’s sacred feasts. Mow’ed is “her appointed time.”

In the book of Judges we see the word mow’ed used as a sign or signal:

Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the liers in wait, that they should make a great flame with smoke rise up out of the city. (Judges 20:38)

The Hebrew word translated appointed sign is mow’ed and has nothing to do with the moon regulating it!

In the book of Daniel, the word mow’ed is used in prophetic language:

And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)

The Hebrew expression translated time, times is mow’ed mow’adim, and it has nothing to do with the sacred feasts. The total is three and one half years, and years are not regulated by the moon, but by the sun!

Just because mow’ed is used in Genesis 1:14, in Psalm 104:19, and in Leviticus 23:1-3, concluding dogmatically that the moon regulates the weekly Sabbath because the Sabbath is also called a feast, is not a sound method of interpretation, unless all other texts say the same thing.

Illustration: “Son of man”

Let me illustrate: Jesus is called “Son of man” more than seventy-five times in the Bible. Here’s an example:

And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. (Luke 6:5)

The prophet Ezekiel, too, is addressed “son of man” more than seventy-five times. Here’s an example:

But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. (Ezekiel 2:8)

Because Jesus, who is called “Son of man,” is the “Lord of the Sabbath,” do we conclude that prophet Ezekiel, who is also referred to as the “son of man,” is also “the Lord of the Sabbath”? Just because the same title is used it doesn’t mean it refers to the same person. The context has to be checked.

The “son of man” in the book of Ezekiel was just human; the “son of man” in the gospels is human and divine. To say both are the same is denying the other passages of scripture and is unsound interpretation.

Two Sets of Feasts

In the same way, though the seventh-day Sabbath is called a “feast,” God clearly differentiates between this feast and the other feasts.

Notice carefully that there are two lists of feasts in Leviticus 23. In the first list only the weekly Sabbath is mentioned:

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:1-3)

Now under the second list of feasts, the rest of the feasts are given:

These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. (Leviticus 23:4-6)

Why would God give two lists of feasts if all are of the same category? Please notice that the feasts in the second list are connected with the month (or moon), but not the feast in the first list!

Feasts in the second list

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. (Leviticus 23:5)

And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread. (Leviticus 23:6)

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets (Leviticus 23:24)

Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement (Leviticus 23:27)

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34)

The feast in the first list:

Now notice the only feast in the first list has nothing to do with months (moons) at all:

Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:3)

The six working days revolve around the seventh-day Sabbath. There is no moon involved to regulate, control, or reset it!

Though some of the yearly feast days are called Sabbaths, just like the seventh-day Sabbaths, there is a huge difference between them both.

  1. It was only on the weekly Sabbath that God personally rested!
  2. The seventh-day weekly Sabbath is the only Sabbath that is part of the creation record.
  3. The other Sabbath feasts came two thousand five hundred years later.
  4. The seventh-day weekly Sabbath is also the only Sabbath that is part of the eternal Ten Commandment law.

Lest people do not differentiate the two sets of feasts, the two kinds of Sabbaths, at the end of the lists of feasts God emphasizes the difference:

These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations . . . Beside the sabbaths of the LORD. (Leviticus 23:37, 38)

So mixing both of the kinds of feasts, both of the kinds of Sabbath, is bluntly rejecting the counsel of the Lord Himself!

God has seen people doing this and has warned us against “handling the word of God deceitfully” (2 Corinthians 4:2).

Having seen how they have misinterpreted the word mow’ed in Leviticus 23, we will now see what they say about the first Sabbath on planet earth.

The First Sabbath

From the Genesis account of creation, we see that the moon was made on the fourth day, and the Sabbath rest on the seventh day. Even a child who knows how to read can understand it plainly.

Now according to their theory, the first Sabbath is on the eighth day of the new moon. Even if God created a new moon on the fourth day, there are only three days between them.

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. . . .And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Genesis 1:16, 19)

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

To come out of this terrible mess that the lunar Sabbatarians face in the very first chapter of the Bible, the very foundational Sabbath of the Bible, they have interpreted scripture in the most irrational way. The psalmist says,

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)

The lunar Sabbatarians say that the moon was created (along with the sun and the stars), not on the fourth day but a day before the first day count began. That way it fits their theory that the Sabbath comes the eighth day from the new moon. There is nothing said in the Bible about this. This is what they imagine. And they are doing their level best to make a new moon earlier than God made it!

What do they have to say about the scripture that clearly says that the sun and the moon were created on day four?

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night . . . And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Genesis 1:16, 19)

. (Miller, The Moon Regulates the Weekly Sabbath, p. 8; emphasis in original; accessed 11-5-13 at http://creation calendar.com/files/7-MoonRegulates The Sabbath-SDA.pdf [this article has been uploaded in reverse order so that the first page of the article appears last])

Though they state both meanings are possible, they hold on to only one of the meanings, as if the other meaning is impossible.

In fact, in the creation account, the word “made” has only one meaning. It is synonymous with the word created.

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

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. (Genesis 2:4)

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him (Genesis 5:1)

If they stress that the word created always comes before the word made, as in the above texts, then the order of the two words in the formation of man destroys their interpretation that made means advance upon and created means to start from scratch! Notice the word make (asah) comes before the word created (bara). Logically speaking, according to their interpretations of those words, “created” should come first and “make” come second. Carefully observe the words make and created in the text below.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image. (Genesis 1:26, 27)

Was God advancing upon (appointing man his work), before creating him?

As proved earlier, the words made and created are synonyms, in the creation account. They have the same meaning, and not as the lunar Sabbatarians claim.

So God didn’t advance upon the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day, but God on the fourth day created them and appointed them their work.

Doesn’t it sound absurd and irrational that God creates them on a particular day, and then God comes back to them four or five days later and then appoints them their work? Why, Did God forget to tell them their jobs?

God created and made man on the sixth day. God created and appointed his work on the same day. Again you see how irrational and unsound they are in their interpretation of scripture.

We shall still proceed to see what they say about the creation of the moon and when it was.

Eight “days” after the initial creation event (Genesis 1:1) Yah ordained the first Sabbath. Which was indeed the 7th day of the week, but it was the 8th period or cycle from the initial creation event in Genesis 1:1, again proving that the new moon is not a week day. (Miller, Ibid., p. 10; emphasis in original)

The evidence from Scripture reveals that the sun was ignited on DAY ONE!

Friends, YHVH created the heaven and the earth on this un-numbered creation event that took place before the “first day”. Earth was without form and void. Evidently the other heavenly bodies must not have been in much better shape. On this un-numbered creation event Yah put into place all the material He would need, then He advanced upon this material for six days before He rested. (Ibid., p. 7; emphasis in original)

What does Genesis 1:1, 2 say?

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. (Genesis 1:1, 2)

For the lunar Sabbatarians, the “in the beginning” creation of “heaven and the earth” was the day one of creation, when God created every raw material in the “darkness.” Since the sun, moon and stars are in the heaven, they say they were created at that time, but they were not ignited because it was “darkness” everywhere. Let’s read what they say.

Here’s the scenario: YHVH created the earth and other celestial bodies at a certain point in time. He doesn’t call it a day because the time piece that regulates the day was not yet ordained as such. Then on day one, YHVH lights the sun creating light and, of course, day and night as a result. If the earth and sun were created during the initial event, it is plausible that the planets, moons, etc., were created at the same time as well. We are not wresting Scripture when we make this statement because the underlying Hebrew could have been (and we are suggesting—should have been) translated in this way. (Ibid., p. 8)

One more statement from them, before we prove them wrong:

So as strange as it sounds, it appears that the other heavenly bodies were created at the same moment that this blob of earth was initially created. This is made evident by the phrase: In the beginning, Elohim made the heaven and the earth. So YHVH lit the sun on the first day of creation therefore creating light (and Day and Night as a result). The proof for such an odd statement is found in the language used in the fourth day creation account . . . (Ibid.; emphasis in original)

It sounds strange not only to us, but also to them! It is an “odd statement” by their own confession. Yet they want to believe this “odd statement” of theirs and the “strange as it sounds” doctrine! And surprisingly there are many who believe they are right without examining them properly.

They place the moon (the dark moon) a day before God said “let there be light.” Thus they have eight days from the “darkness” of the moon until the first Sabbath.

Some other group of people say the darkness in Genesis 1:2 was Satan, the prince of darkness, the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2.), as air is also referred to as heaven.

These are all mere speculations. The darkness was neither the new moon darkness nor the devil’s presence. We don’t imagine what truth is; truth declares itself plainly!

Let us assume that God created the sun, moon and stars in the Genesis 1:2 period of time. Now look at the conclusion in Genesis 2:1-3:

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:1-3)

Is Genesis 1:1, 2 God’s act of creation, just like the other accounts of creation in that chapter? Yes, of course. God says everything He finished creating and making in six days and says He rested on the seventh day, and that includes Genesis 1:1, 2, in the six days of the creation work week!

Look at the declaration of the law at Sinai and what God says about the creation work and rest:

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:11)

Again, isn’t Genesis 1:1, 2 a part of God’s creation act? Then it all happened only in six days. There is no extra day for the lunar Sabbatarians to place their new moon in the orbit of heaven. Sad to say, it is only seen in the orbit of their own minds!

If there is no gap between Geneses 1:1, 2, and the rest of the chapter, then it all took place in six days, and their hypothesis falls apart!

If there is a gap between Genesis 1:1-2 and Genesis 1:3 onwards, then placing the dark moon in that first period means the dark moon was there not eight days before the Sabbath, but for the long period of time called “in the beginning.” That means, there were possibly millions of dark moon days/periods before the first Sabbath was made. It does not fit the lunar calendar to have more than one new moon in the beginning of the month!

Also they state that Sabbath comes on the eighth day after the sighting of the crescent moon.

Biblically, the “new moon” was the first visible crescent seen in the Western sky after sunset . . . (Crescent Moon Sighting Instruction, www.worldslastchance.com; article no longer available, but the quotation is available on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/per malink.php?story_fbid=199053880132205&id=132685966794289; accessed 11-5-13)

First of all who could sight the moon in that pitch darkness? So the first Sabbath itself is faulty!

The moon is not a self-generating source of light; it only reflects the light of the sun. The moon can start its function of being a reflection of light only after the sun is lit and not before. If the sun was lit on day one as they claim, then the moon starts its function as a luminary in the sky not before day one.

And since it was pitch darkness in Genesis 1:2, and if there were a moon hanging up there, it was definitely not a crescent new moon but the dark moon or astronomical new moon, the new moon at conjunction with the sun. And that will again blow up their theory! Their Sabbaths are counted from crescent moon and not dark moon.

They try to say the position of the moon in the orbit was perfectly placed so that the first Sabbath came exactly on the eighth day, based on the crescent moon.

The position of the moon in the sky is immaterial to the arrival of the new moon. If the position is what matters, then the conjunction of the moon should be taken and not the crescent moon, and the position of the crescent new moon is not uniform.

Moon for Signs

One more point that they emphasize to prove that the moon regulates the Sabbath is the word sign in Genesis 1:14:

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. (Genesis 1:14)

The Hebrew word translated as signs is ôwth (Strong’s H#226) and means signal or beacon—like the lights of a radio tower or a lighthouse. These lights turn on and off just like the moon, which just happens to enter a different phase approximately every 7 days. (Miller, Ibid., p. 9; emphasis in original)

Need more evidence? Read Ezekiel 20:12 and 20:20. These are two witnesses. The Sabbath is a sign between YHVH and His people. That word sign [ôwth] is the identical Hebrew word used in Genesis1:14 (signs, seasons, days and years). Ibid., p. 10; emphasis in original)

Because the word sign is used in Genesis 1:14 in regard to the moon, to conclude it regulates the Sabbath because the same word sign is used for the Sabbath is not the method to interpret scripture. If it were, what would they make of these texts?

And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. (Genesis 17:11)

The word token is the same Hebrew word ôwth used as sign in Genesis 1:14. So is circumcision also regulated by the moon?

And again,

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 7:3)

Were the miracles and the plagues which were called signs (ôwth) controlled by the phases of the moon?

One more,

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Was that great sign (ôwth) of Jesus’ birth determined by the movements of the moon?

They tried their best to twist what they could in the creation account, but they could not twist everything. They stand exposed. Lies can appear to be the truth, but upon close examination will fail the test!

The Bible says that the moon rules the night, and not the day: “And the lesser light to rule the night” (Genesis 1:16). The lunar Sabbatarians say that the holy hours of the Sabbath are only from sunrise to sunset and not during the dark hours. How do they say then that the moon rules and regulates the Sabbath day if it rules at night and the Sabbath is only daylight part? It sounds very absurd to anyone who thinks.

Yes, we agree that the yearly feasts and yearly Sabbaths which are on fixed dates of the year were regulated by the moon, but never the weekly Sabbath! The week count started before the moon was created on the fourth day, and it is independent thereof.

Only Two Phases of the Moon

The lunar Sabbatarians keep emphasizing that there are four distinct phases of the moon, as we see by Vornholt and Vornholt-Jones’s inclusion of a quotation from Emil G. Hirsch’s article in the online Jewish Encyclopedia entitled “Week: Connection with Lunar Phases” in their article entitled “Time by Design”:

“…dividing the interval between the successive new moons into four groups of seven days each.” (eLaine Vornholt, Laura Lee Vornholt-Jones, “Time by Design,” p. 5; quoting Emil G. Hirsch and accessed at http://www.jewishencyclo pedia.com/articles/14813-week)

Here’s another statement from another source:

These lights turn on and off just like the moon, which just happens to enter a different phase approximately every 7 days. (Troy Miller, “The Moon Regulates the Weekly Sabbath As proved by the Creation account found in Genesis 1,” p. 8; accessed 12-8-13 at www.creationcale ndar.com,“The Moon Regulates the Weekly Sabbath.” http://www.google.com /url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CDEQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.creationcalendar.com%2FCalendarIssue%2F07-MoonRegula tesTheSabbath.doc&ei=WhKlUqbbBY_1oATQoILoBg&usg=AFQjCNHBmx0GWKbYOxQH95Hc4dXd0EANBQ&sig2=1Y0B1PD_PoMOxPnaReOzDg)

According to them the moon enters a “different phase approximately every 7 days.” The Sabbath is not approximately every seven days—it is exactly every seven days. So the phases of the moon cannot guide it!

If the days from one new moon to next new moon were perfectly divisible by seven, then we could probably think about it, but it takes about twenty-nine and one half days to complete its cycle. So that is one and a half days more than what they would like. I believe God purposely made it this way so that it would not be very easy to come up with a false theory, and yet people believe! How true is the statement of the apostle in this case:

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth . . . (2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12)

But the Bible only talks about two phases of the moon and not four, as the lunar Sabbatarians would have loved. The two phases are the new moon and the full moon.

Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. (Psalm 81:3 RSV)

The gap between the new moon and the full moon is approximately fifteen days. These are the only two phases to the moon the Bible mentions. If there are four phases, as they say, then what about the quarter moon and the three-quarters moon? We could have many phases, not just four. Every day is a new phase.

If the weekly Sabbath was to be regulated by the moon phases, where are the four phases mentioned in the sacred scriptures? Stick to the Bible—there are only two phases! The two phases comes approximately every fifteen days, and the Sabbath comes every seven days!

If the four phases of the moon were to be the correct way of identifying the weekly Sabbath, then God missed the best opportunity to teach an entire nation this secret for forty years! If that were the case, God should have told them just look up at the sky and watch the phases of the moon, and you will, for sure, know which day is the Sabbath, week after week!

God did not use the moon to identify the Sabbaths, but he used manna! Why? Because with the moon you can’t identify the Sabbath! If it were possible, God would have done it.

And the manna came during the day, when the moon is hardly ever seen!

Evidence from Other Sources

In close to one hundred fifty ancient and modern world languages, the Gregorian Saturday is called Sabbath.

Also the Jews who were dispersed all over the world at various invasions—Assyrian, Babylonian, Roman, etc.—kept and are still keeping the Gregorian Saturday as the Sabbath. This uniformity would not possible if it were not the true Sabbath that has come down.

Even the Muslims, who follow an exclusively lunar calendar, have their feasts based on the phases of the moon, but their worship day, the sixth day of the week, is independent of the moon phases. It is continuous cycle of seven even for them!

The pen of inspiration confirms the weeks and the Sabbaths have come down from creation to the end of time as “successive”:

Like the Sabbath, the week originated at creation, and it has been preserved and brought down to us through Bible history. God Himself measured off the first week as a sample for successive weeks to the close of time. Like every other, it consisted of seven literal days. Six days were employed in the work of creation; upon the seventh, God rested, and He then blessed this day and set it apart as a day of rest for man. (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 111)

According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, successive means “uninterrupted course.”

If Ellen White meant, as they say, future weeks, she should have used the phrase succeeding weeks, not “successive weeks.”

Successive weeks and Sabbaths mean the weeks and Sabbaths have never been interrupted in their cycle of seven from creation week till now!

The seventh-day weekly Sabbath is never regulated by the phases of the moon.

 


 

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Pastor Michael Pedrin Preaching