4 Angels Publications
    FAQ   |  About Us


Biblical & Historical Proof for lunar Sabbath

Yes, the week as a unit of time, consisting of 7 days has been preserved since Creation and that is a miracle. Differing calendars sometimes had 8 and 10 day weeks, depending upon how far apart their market days were. The very word week means "seven."

However, do not confuse "week" with "weekly cycle". A continuous cycle of weeks has not been preserved since Creation and did not emerge as a part of calendation methods until over 3,000 years after Creation.

No. The Jews themselves set aside their original calendar under intense persecution by the growing power of the papal church. This eventually led to a schism in Judaism. Those who wanted the change followed calendation principles set down by Hillel II and tied their calendar to the spring equinox. This was the rabbinical sect which predominates today. In 1844, their Day of Atonement was Sept. 23.

The Karaites (also known as Caraites) were an opposing sect who denounced the Talmud and the oral traditions, insisting upon a return to a strict keeping of the mosaic law. "A fundamental part of [their] reform was the abandonment of the fixed rabbinical calendar as contrary to the Mosaic regulations, together with reinstatement of the original form of luni-solar calendation" (L. E. Froom, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1948, Vol. II, 197-198.)

The Millerites learned from the Karaites the original form of calendation and used that to find the true Day of Atonement in 1844: October 22.

A continuous weekly cycle started among the pagans in 800 B.C.

This does not prove the lunar Sabbaths wrong, but based on an assumption many people make, it is clear why there would be honest confusion over this passage.

A quick review of the Lev. 23, however, reveals the mistake. Feast of Tabernacles lasted for seven days. "The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD." Lev. 23:34. A feast that lasts for seven days and starts on the 15th (a Sabbath) would indeed make the "last day, the great day" of the feast fall on the Preparation Day (the sixth day of the week) with the very next day (John 8:2) a seventh-day Sabbath - just like John says it is.

The mistake stems from the fact that most people are confused with the wording of Lev. 23:36. That verse says that on the 8th day there shall be a holy convocation to the Lord. Do not let that confuse you because in both verse 34 and in verse 36 it states that the feast of tabernacles is for only seven days: "Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein." But, remember, it starts on the 15th so the 21st (the last, the great day of the feast) would be Preparation Day and the next day would be the seventh-day Sabbath which, of course, is a holy convocation.

This sounds like a reasonable question, but is it safe? Is it following the inspired Word to hang all of one's theology on a single text? Is. 28:13 tells us: "But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little . . . ." This is a most important Biblical principle.

Can you prove from scripture an eternally burning hell? Yes, you can - and many churches do. However, it contradicts even more texts that clearly state that there cannot be any such thing. Texts such as Eccl. 9:5: "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."

When a single text is taken from scripture, and an entire theology is extrapolated from that one text, it is much easier to drift into error. Truth will always go with the weight of evidence and we should not be afraid to trust God to keep us safe as we investigate new ideas with an open mind.

Ellen White & Seventh-day Adventist Teachings

This is an excellent question.

Did Ellen White believe in a successive weekly cycle? Yes, she did. However, she was always adamant that she was the lesser light, to point to the greater light, the Bible, and that personal preconceived ideas must be subordinate to advancing light.

Let us look at the quote itself because contained within it is the key to a proper interpretation OF the quote:

I was then carried back to the creation, and was shown that the first week, in which God performed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day, was just like every other week. The great God, in his days of creation and day of rest, measured off the first cycle as a sample for successive weeks till the close of time. "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created." God gives us the productions of his work at the close of each literal day. Each day was accounted of him a generation, because every day he generated or produced some new portion of his work. On the seventh day of the first week God rested from his work, and then blessed the day of his rest, and set it apart for the use of man. The weekly cycle of seven literal days, six for labor and the seventh for rest, which has been preserved and brought down through Bible history, originated in the great facts of the first seven days. (1SP 85)

The whole thrust of this quote is that the week, as an individual unit of time, originally was composed of but seven days and these were literal days - not long, indeterminate time periods as some people were beginning to say during her day, with the rise in popularity of the theories of evolution. The Week, she is saying, was originally seven days long and was to always be seven days long.

Throughout history, there have been weeks of varied length. The very first continuous weekly cycle had a "week" of ten days (Egyptian and Aztec). Other weeks have been 8-days long (Roman Republic, early Julian), and 5 days long. More recently, during the French Revolution there was a short time period, beginning in April of 1798 (an interesting year for that is when the beast - the geo-political power that legislated the calendar change - received its deadly wound) there was an 8 day week. The French threw out all together the pope's calendar. This is the real deadly wound, because on an 8-day week, the foundation for Sunday exaltation (the supposed resurrection of Christ on Sunday) ceases to exist.

More recently still, the Soviet Union in the early 30s imposed a 6-day week!

She does use the term "weekly cycle". However, notice that in the immediate context of the very same sentence within which she uses the term, she also states the real thrust of what she is saying:

  1. The week is seven literal days: "seven literal days, six for labor and the seventh for rest".
  2. The cycle "has been preserved and brought down through Bible history"!
  3. The week "originated in the great facts of the first seven days". Clearly, seven literal days, not a weekly cycle is here being references.

The luni-solar calendar has a seven-day weekly cycle. It restarts at each new moon, but it is a seven-day cycle - not eight or ten days in length. Furthermore, notice that the seven day cycle has been "preserved and brought down through Bible History"! Bible history is what reveals the fact that the Biblical calendar was luni-solar and the moon was created to regulate worship times! (See Ps. 104:19.)

The term "Bible history" can apply to both scripture as well as extra-biblical sources relating to the history of the time period. The Millerites had no problem going to extra-biblical, historical sources to "fill-in-the-gaps" of their knowledge in areas in which the Bible was silent. In fact, their favorite person from whom to quote (Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) was not even a Christian. There is even one source that describes Gibbons as an atheist! It is the history, both preserved in the Bible as well as extra-biblical sources, that prove that the Biblical week was indeed seven-days long, and that its cycle, preserved in the Bible and history, restarted at each new moon.

Good question! It reminds me of a similar question once put to William Miller. He was asked, "What would it take to get you to admit that you are wrong about Daniel and the 2300 day prophecy?"

William Miller's answer is mine: "Give me a better explanation." There are huge problems in calendation chronology and history. The Julian week at the time of Christ had an eight day week. Super-imposing our modern, seven-day week onto dates from the time of Christ do not prove anything, because there was no such thing as a Saturday or Sunday in the Julian calendar of the life of Christ. The only way I know to reconcile what the Bible says with the facts of history and astronomy is to conclude that the weekly cycle on the Biblical calendar was not a continuous weekly cycle. If I am wrong, than give me a better explanation that will reconcile all of the problems without contradicting the established facts.

Grace Amadon Collection

To our knowledge the Research Committee never officially made a statement that the Biblical Sabbath was determined by the moon. However, evidence that most, if not all, of the committee members saw that the Biblical Sabbath could not have been the modern Saturday is very apparent. Throughout the collection, there are numerous references to "the problem of the crucifixion", "the problem of the date of the crucifixion" and "the crucifixion date problem."

What problem? The problem that when you superimpose a luni-solar calendar on top of the Julian calendar for AD 31, you do not and you can not have a Friday crucixion. There was no controversy in the Research Committee over which calendar the Millerites used for establishing October 22 as Day of Atonement for 1844. All were agreed that the Millerites used the original, Biblical calendar: the luni-solar calendar. The Committee, like the Millerites before them, knew that the Jews in 1844 did not keep Day of Atonement on October 22, but they, like the Millerites before them, knew that the Jews use a modern, altered calendar.

The problem of the crucifixion date that is referred to throughout the Grace Amadon Collection is that the prophecies of Daniel pinpoint AD 31 as the crucifixion year. The problem arises from the fact that when the new moon for Nisan is found (which is easily done because the moon is so predictable) and you count up 14 days to the Passover/crucifixion you do not have Friday. Whether one uses the barley harvest law of Moses or not, you still cannot have Nisan 14 fall on Friday in AD 31. This is the "problem of the crucifixion" that is continually referenced throughout the Amadon Collection.

Furthermore, in their study, they accumulated the writings of many astronomers and every last one of them, to a man, from Sir Issac Newton, to Schoch, to Gerhardt and more, every one of them agreed that AD 31 could not have been the year of the crucifixion because of the sheer impossibility of a Friday crucifixion that year. The Committee knew this - they were the ones collecting the information of astronomers and chronologers from around the world! However, they were really stuck. John 19:31 as well as Ellen White both confirm that Christ was crucified on Passover, on the sixth day of the week. As people who believe in the 2300 day/year prophecy of Daniel 8:14 beginning in 457 BC, there is no other possible year for the crucifixion, unless you are willing to give up 457 BC, October 22, 1844, (the ending date of the prophecy) and thus, Ellen White as well.

M. L. Andreasen certainly saw the implications. In his letter to Grace Amadon he argued against endorsing a calendar where the Sabbath "floated" through the modern week. You can read either the original or the retyped version here. In the letter he states, "If in the new calendar scheme we are considering adopting . . . " What calendar scheme? The original luni-solar calendar that was figured off of observation of the new moon. Andreasen clearly grasped the implications and saw that, just as there is a date line arbitrarily set in the middle of the ocean, the moon has a date line as well which would mean that occassionally, differing parts of even the US would be observing different days by the pagan calendar, although the same day by God's calendar. Andreasen was not saying that the Committee's understanding of the Biblical calendar with its "floating" Sabbath was wrong. He was opposed because of the confusion that would result if they adopted God's calendar!

The reason Seventh-day Adventists today worship on the pagan Saturday rather than by the Biblical calendar is because the committee decided that the Biblical calendar would be too confusing for the church members! In the words of Andreasen, "just as the people get used to a certain arrangement, the day is changed again. Such is more than the common people can understand and if we go to the people now with such a proposition, we must expect that confusion will result." Basically, hoi polloi were too slow of understanding, too dull of intellect to grasp the Biblical calendar, it was, to all intents and purposes, reburied. Andreasen's recommendation was that the committee make a preliminary report to GC president, J. L. McElhaney, and see what "fire" the report drew then, as necessary, they could adapt the final report based off of that "fire."

That is not being intellectually honest. Where is the integrity in denying advancing light to the church because the leaders think the "common people" cannot grasp it?

I understand your concern and it seems logical. However, the argument that the lunar Sabbaths must be wrong because it was unknown in 1888 would seem to suggest that there cannot be any new light that requires greater obedience after 1888. This is a contradiction of the Spirit of Prophecy: "We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed." (R&H, July 26, 1892.) There are many, many quotes in the writings of Ellen White which indicate that the church was to expect increased light - including a fuller understanding of the Sabbath, before the end. To say that any doctrinal understanding in advance of where the Seventh-day Adventist church was at in 1888 must, categorically, be wrong, is to deny all of Ellen White's statements after that time, that there was more light to come.

Technical Questions (Calendation Principles)

The months started when the new moon could be observed.

Many very sincere lunar-Sabbath keepers keep the black days (the conjunction) as the New Moon and declare the first work day to be the day following the first visible appearance of the moon. This is convenient because when you do it that way, each new quarter of the moon lines up perfectly with a seventh-day Sabbath.

However, keeping the New Moon by conjunction is a new development. This is not how it was done in Bible times.

The Jews, Arabs, Chaldeans, and Damacenes all had the same custom in reference to the beginning of their months - they all started the new month with the first appearance of the new moon after conjunction" (Grace Amadon, "Report of Committee on Historical Basis, Involvement, and Validity of the October 22, 1844 Position, Part V," Box 2, Folder 4, Grace Amadon Collection, Center for Adventist Research, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.)

There is abundant research showing that all the ancient calendars were based off of the lunar or luni-solar cycle and the months began on the day following the first appearance of the new moon.

For the Jews did not anticipate, but postpone their months; . . .[months did] not [begin] a day sooner, lest they should celebrate the new moon before there was any" (Sir Isaac Newton, Observations upon the Prophecies, London, 1733, p. 161 as quoted in "Brief Review of the New Views Regarding Millerite Chronology", ibid.)

The Millerites went by observation as well. The following quote by Prideaux was printed several times by the Millerites:

None of them [months] had fewer than 29 days, and therefore they never looked for the new moon before the night following the 29th day; and, if they then saw it, the next day was the first day of the following month" (Prideaux, History of the Jews, Vol. 1, p. 51; printed in "Signs of the Times," Dec. 5, 1843, p. 155, col. 1; as quoted in ibid.)

No, the work week was never longer than six days. At the end of each lunation, as the month transitions from the old to the new, one of two things happen: 1) either you have a seventh-day Sabbath immediately followed by New Moon; or, 2) you have the seventh-day Sabbath, followed by a work day, followed by New Moon. Anciently, the New Moons were kept as Sabbaths.

Yes, or you would end up with a work week that exceeded six working days. According to the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia:

The New Moon is still, and the Sabbath originally was, dependent upon the lunar cycle . . . Originally the New Moon was celebrated in the same way as the Sabbath; gradually it became less important while the Sabbath became more and more a day of religion and humanity, of religious meditation and instruction, of peace and delight of the soul (p. 410) See original here.

The New Moons were linked with Sabbaths as a special class of holy days. They were days of rejoicing and feasting with even more sacrifices preformed on New Moon then were offered on the seventh-day Sabbath. Like the seventh-day Sabbath, the New Moons were to be days of rest with no buying and selling. (See Amos 8:5.) Those who keep the seventh-day Sabbath have long used Isaiah 66:23 as proof that the seventh-day Sabbath will still be kept throughout eternity: "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD."

The question is then asked, "If we're going to be keeping the seventh-day Sabbath throughout eternity, shouldn't we be keeping it now?" This text reveals that the calendar by which we will be keeping the seventh-day Sabbath is one on which the New Moons are also observed as worship days. If we will come to worship the Lord on New Moons throughout eternity, should we not come to worship Him on those special days now as well?

Sabbatarians have always insisted to Sunday keepers that the precise day most certainly is important because the seal of God is in the Sabbath - it is a sign between Him and His people forever (see Exodus 31:12-17). It would be very inconsistent of us to now shrug our shoulders and aver, "The pagan/papal seventh day is good enough!"

Either it is important to keep the correct day (the Sabbath of the Lord thy God) or it is not. If it is not, then Sunday is as good as Saturday.

God's people today need to follow the example of His people in earlier times when they used His calendar. While it is true that sometimes the pagan months were very long, the Hebrew months were never longer than 30 days and never shorter than 29 days. If no new moon was observed the night of the 30th, the new month began the next day anyway.

'When they saw the new moon, then they began their months, which sometimes consisted of 29 days, and sometimes of 30, according as the new moon did sooner or later appear. The reason of this was, because the synodical course of the moon (that is, from new moon to new moon) being twenty-nine days and a half, the half day, which a month of 29 days falls short of, was made up by adding it to the next month, which made it consist of 30 days; so that their months consisted of 29 and 30 days alternatively. None of them had fewer than 29 days, and therefore they never looked for the new moon before the night following the 29th day; and, if they then saw it, the next day was the first day of the following month. Neither had any of their months more than 30 days, and therefore they never looked for the new moon after the night following the 30th day!' (Prideaux, History of the Jews, Vol. 1, page 51, as quoted in "Signs of the Times," Dec. 5, 1843, taken from "Millerite Understanding of Moon's Translation Period," paragraph 2, Archives & Statistics Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, Maryland.)

Before beginning any study, the most important thing is to pray and ask God to reveal to you what is truth. Then determine to obey if it is true. Take an open mind to your study and trust God to keep you and lead you into all truth just as He has promised.

It is also important that you study this topic out for yourself. You can read The Great Calendar Controversy to become acquainted with the issues, but that is not enough. Each person should conduct his or her own independent study. This is important because if all you read is other people's studies, you will be swayed by their opinions.

Do not take anyone's word for the truth - not your pastor, your spouse, and not ours. If one person's word is enough to convince you, than someone more eloquent can later convince you otherwise. Independent study is essential in order to allow the Holy Spirit time to settle you into the truth.

If you Google "lunar Sabbaths", "luni-solar calendar", or "Mosaic calendar" you will find a lot of articles, both for and against, the luni-solar Sabbaths. Many of them have a tremendous amount of good research and interesting historical documentation. Some websites even list all of the texts that give a date for the Sabbath and show how every single time the date is either the 8th, 15th or 22nd of the month.

However, do not stop there. Google "calendar history", "planetary week", "World Calendar Organization" and "horology" (the study of hours) and you will then be in a position to make your own decisions, influenced by the Holy Spirit, as to what is truth.

It is a matter of life or death for every soul as to whether or not what they believe is the truth. For this reason we encourage everyone to go and study this whole topic out for themselves. Our book, The Great Calendar Controversy, is merely intended to acquaint people with the far reaching issues involved and to share what we believe to be the correct conclusions. Study for yourself! And may God bless you as you do.

"Translation" is simply the astronomical term for the day that occurs between conjunction (the black moon) and the first visible crescent. There are some lunar Sabbath keepers who observe it as an extended-Sabbath: both translation day and New Moon day are kept as sabbaths. I can certainly see why this would be done. However, all of the days of worship are spelled out in the Bible. These are Sabbaths, New Moons and the annual sabbaths. If the translation day were a day of rest, this would be spelled out as well. Since it is not, it can safely be assumed that translation was a work day.

The references given used shalam (#7999) for the phrase was cast down in Daniel 8:11, rather than shalakh (#7993.) They were:

  1. The Hebrew-Greek-English Interlinear Bible (Coded with Strong's Reference Numbers)
  2. The Hebrew-Greek Key-Word Study Bible, King James Version

A completely different method of calendation is hard to understand at first. However, it should not be used as a litmus test for rejecting truths that strain the mental capacity, either. We can bring our highest mental powers to study on truth and strain our brains to the utmost, but there will always be more beyond. Why? Because truth is an advancing truth! King David exulted: "I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad. O how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the day." David realized that there were depths to God's truths on which he could meditate all the day and never reach the end.

Last summer, there was a story in the California news services you might find interesting. A study was done in which a riddle was posed to graduating seniors at Harvard. It was claimed that less than 10% of the Harvard students were able to solve the riddle. The same riddle was asked of Kindergartners. Over 80% of kindergartners solved the riddle.

Can you solve it? It goes:

What is greater than God, more evil than the devil, the rich need it, the poor have it, and if you eat it you'll die?

I could not solve the riddle. Neither could my spouse, so I asked my kids. My 14-year old could not get it; my 12-year old could not get it; my 7-year old could not get it. My 4-year old got it easily. Jesus Himself referred to wisdom that is hidden from the wise and revealed to babes.

The answer to the riddle is: nothing. Nothing is greater than God or more evil than the devil; the rich need nothing, the poor have nothing, but if you eat nothing, you will die. Simple, right? Why was no adult of my acquaintance able to answer that riddle, but my 4-year old could? Truth must not be "bound-about" by limited ideas of what constitutes truth.

We do not know why e-Sword gives #5493 as the correct word for the English phrase "was taken away." The two words in Hebrew are completely different. All of the sources we have give #7311 (presumptuously promote) as the correct Hebrew word. These sources are:

  1. Hebrew-Greek-English Interlinear Bible, ed. Jay P. Green
  2. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
  3. Key-Word Study Bible, KJV, "Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary"

It is true that there are some historical references which refer to the Jews worshipping on Saturn's day (Saturday). However, this in no way disproves the truth of the lunar Sabbath. You can also find references to worship of Saturn in the Bible! However, this was always when Israel was in apostasy.

If you will notice, the context of the historical statements are when the Israelites enemies would attack them on Saturn's day because it was their Sabbath and they knew that they would not fight them. Each and every time, there was a great slaughter because the Jews would not fight on their Sabbath. This in itself is circumstantial evidence that it was not the true Sabbath. God has promised them that if they would stay faithful to Him, He would fight for them.

One example is the words of Dion Cassius where he states that Jerusalem was taken "on Saturn's day" and combine it with the words of Josephus who, referring to the same event, states: "on the third month, on the day of the fast, upon the hundred and seventy-ninth Olympiad, when Caius Antonius and Marcus Tullius Cicero were consuls" (Antiquities, B. XIV. C. IV.)

Saturday does indeed occasionally fall upon the true seventh-day Sabbath and it would be interesting to calculate the phases of the moon for that lunation to see if such was occurring. However, a more likely scenario was that it was indeed on Saturn's day and in their apostasy, God could not protect them.

The earliest recorded incident of rebellion over Saturn worship was that of the golden calf at Mount Sinai.

The ordinary way in which the favourite Egyptian divinity Osiris was mystically represented was under the form of a young bull or calf - the calf Apis - from which the golden calf of the Israelites was borrowed. There was a reason why that calf should not commonly appear in the appropriate symbols of the god he represented, for that calf represented the divinity in the character of Saturn, "The HIDDEN one," "Apis" being only another name for Saturn" (A. Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 45, all emphasis original.)

Amos 5:25-27 refers to this rebellion using the word Chiun which is "another name for the god Saturn" (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.) In Stephen's defense before the Sanhedrin, just before he was stoned, he referred to this same apostasy using the Greek equivalent of Chiun which was Remphan (Acts 7:38-42).

I Kings 12:26-33 records Jeroboam's apostasy of returning to Saturn worship.

The worship of Saturn on his day reaches back to Nimrod (see Hislop's The Two Babylons). However, Saturday, as a day in a seven-day week within the Julian calendar, did not even enter the calendar until the rise of the cult of Mithras in pagan Rome in the first few centuries AD. While the Julian calendar originally had an 8-day week, when it adopted the Persian 7-day planetary week, that week began on Saturn's day (See R. L. Odom, How Did Sunday Get Its Name? and Sunday Sacredness in Roman Paganism.)

Therefore, to extrapolate from Roman historical references to a Jewish observance of Saturday proves only that the Jews were in apostasy at that time which, in turn, explains why their enemies could conquer them.

In the time of Christ, there were only two calendars in use: the pagan, solar calendar established by a Roman emperor, and the Jewish luni-solar calendar established by God at Creation. Which one do you think Jesus used?

Saturn's day was originally the first day of the pagan, planetary week.

"The Jews, Arabs, Chaldeans, and Damacenes all had the same custom in reference to the beginning of their months - they started the new month with the first appearance of the new moon after conjunction" (G. Amadon, "Final Report," Part V, p. 9.)