Lunar Shabbat challenge

World’s Last Chance has a nice little challenge for all Shabbat keepers. They write “WLC is offering a world wide public confession and apology for adopting the wrong Sabbath day once anyone has been able to demonstrate from the Scriptures that the true seventh-day Sabbath has ever been recorded in the Bible to have fallen on any other dates than those listed above.” By those days they meen the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of the month. Yes, this is also known as Lunar Sabbath. And their sole argument is, that in the Bible the Shabbat always falls on those days. Actually that does not matter at all, even if the Shabbat fell on those days a hundred times in the Bible, it would not matter, because in the fourth commandment we are told very clearly to keep holy the seventh day of the week. On average the Shabbat will fall on those days every seventh month, so it’s not even that big of a miracle if the Shabbat always falls on those days in the Bible.

I will take up the challenge though. On their website they claim that the resurrection was on the 16th of Nisan and thus the Shabbat was on the 15th, again, nicely in line with their pattern. It’s nice that at least someone has noticed, that Christ rose from the dead on first fruits. In Lev. 23:11 we are told that first fruits is on the day after the Shabbat, but the Pharisees reckon the Shabbat day here means the Shabbat of Nisan 15th, while the Sadducees figure it is the day after the weekly Shabbat. Well, since Paul in 1. Corinthians 15:20 calls Christ the first fruits of resurrection, I’ll go with the Sadducees on this one and say that the first fruits is always on the day after the weekly Shabbat. None of this matters regarding the challenge though, because nowhere in the New Testament do we read that the Sunday was the 16th of Nisan. What we do know and here are the facts, is that the women came to the tomb early on Sunday morning and the tomb was empty as they arrived. Since Paul calls Christ our passover (1. Cor. 5:7), we know that he had to die the day the passover lambs were slain, that is, on the 14th of Nisan. These two facts are undisputed. Now if you believe the Church’s big fat lie that Christ was cricified on Friday, then the Shabbat that weeks nicely lands on the 15th of Nisan, confirming to the lunar Shabbat pattern.

There is evidence that Jesus was actually crucified on Wednesday. Jesus says he’ll be in the tomb for three days and three nights and you don’t have three nights and three days between Friday and Sunday. But regarding the challenge that does not matter. Lets look at Matthew 28:1 “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” All English translations say at the end of the Sabbath, singular, while in the Greek Shabbat, sabbaton, is in the plural. Look it up and check it out, I’m not making it up. It’s in the plural, yet not a single translation says that the women came to the tomb after the Sabbaths, because the translators “knew” that there was only one Shabbat between Friday and Sunday. So, since we have Shabbats in the plural, that means there were more than one Shabbat between Jesus’ crucifiction and Sunday. There was the weekly Shabbat and then there was Nisan the 15th Shabbat, the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. The feast days are regularly called Shabbats in the Bible. This means that for the sake of my argument and for the purpose of winning this challenge, I’ll say that Jesus was crucified on Nisan 14th on Thursday, he was in the grave for the Nisan 15th Shabbat on Friday and then the disciples rested on the Saturday on Nisan the 16th. Actually Jesus was crucified on Wednesday, making Nisan the 17th the Shabbat, but like I said, for the purpose of winning this challenge it does not matter, we know for a fact there were at least two Shabbats between Jesus’ crucifiction and his resurrection which means the Shabbat that week fell on a day other than the 8th, 15th, 22nd or 29th, which means I have won the challenge and WLC now has to publish a public confession and apology. I’ll let you know, how they reply.

Remnant of the Light heresy

I came across the Remnant of the Light cult on the Internet, found their website and Facebook group. The teachings sound all biblical, this is a sect that keeps the Torah and holds to the Sabbath and the feasts of the Lord. But on their facebook group I found a strange notice from one of their leaders, Aron Ryan, saying that in 2020 the Sabbath will be on Monday. Monday? What on earth is going on here? After some messaging on their Facebook group I learned why they keep the Sabbath on a Monday this year. The reason is, that they count seven day from creation and take the first day of the first month, Nisan one, to be the day of creation. They figure that the fourth day of the year is at the time of the spring equinox and hence base their calendar on that day. Hence the first day of the year, the date of creation, is on a different day of the week every year and hence the Sabbath seven days later can land on any day of the week. Also they insist that a day starts in the morning, not in the evening, as the Bible clearly tells us. As I conversed with this group, I found they quote the book of Enoch and the Dead Sea scrolls, not once did they offer any support from the Bible, yet they insist that their calendar is biblical.

Here is my last message that I was able to post on their Facebook page before they blocked me. If you come across this cult, please show them the Light of Truth, I didn’t have the chance to do that. Now the message:

Aron Ryan says that I have not shown a single scripture saying that the Sabbath is on Saturday. That’s because the Shabbat was sanctified some 4000 years before the pagan Romans decided to call that day after Saturn. The Bible does not use Roman days. The days are numbered from one to six and the seventh day of the week is called Shabbat. Also I have not shown that scripture, because the Shabbat is not on Saturday. It starts Friday evening and lasts until Saturday evening. That’s why we read in Nehemia 13:19 “when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Shabbat”. And in the creation account we read that there was evening and there was morning, one day. A day thus according to scripture starts at the evening. More evidence for this is the fact that Leviticus 23 commands us to fast on the tenth day, but says that the sabbath is from the evening of ninth day to evening the next day: “It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” (Lev. 23:32) As a jew, I follow what the Jews do. We do not make up tradition on a whim. The fact that Jews have for millenia observed the Shabbat from even to even speaks for itself. I find it almost offensive that christians do not appreciate our sacred tradition.

The real nail in the coffin however is the gospel account of Jesus’ crucifixion. All the gospels say that the bodies were taken off the cross in haste before the Shabbat:

“And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath” (Mk. 15:42)

“And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.” (Lk. 23:54)

“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.” (Jh. 19:31)

Did they hurry to get the bodies of the cross 12 hours before Sabbath started the next morning? No, the Sabbath started in the evening at sunset, and hence they were in a hurry.

But that’s not the big issue. The real issue is, when is the Shabbat? On what day do we keep it? We agree the Shabbat is the Seventh day from creation. We have disagreement, believe it or not, how to count seven days from creation. I believe the way to do that is to count to seven. You believe it is done by observing the equinox at spring time to see when the first day of the first month is and then count seven days from that day. In the ten commandments we are told to keep holy the Shabbat day and to work six days and rest on the seventh. Your calendar breaks that eternal pattern. You have and awkward week of more than six days of work when you adjust annually for the new Shabbat. You are therefore breaking a clear and very simple Torah commandment, which tells us to work six days and rest on the seventh.

So to answer that question, what verse in the Bible tells us to keep holy “Saturday”, the answer is Ex. 20:8, which tells us to keep holy the Shabbat day. And we Jews have meticulously kept the Shabbat for millenia. I find it offensive, that people claim we do not know how to count to seven. The only way to keep the Shabbat is to count to seven perpetually, as mankind has done for the past 6000 years.

The scripture passages I’m looking for is the one that says that the first day of the first month is the day of creation. The Bible says of the first month simply that it is the first month (Ex. 12:2). Leviticus 23 gives us all the feasts of the Lord, it starts with the Shabbat and again tells us to work for six days and rest on the seventh. It then gives us passover, feast of unleavened bread on the first month, but says nothing at all about the first day of the first month being the day of creation. The Bible does not ever say that the first day of the first month is the day of creation. It might or it might not be.

The other passage I’m looking for is the one that says that the Shabbat needs to be counted seven days from the first day of the first month, adjusting the weekly cycle annually. That passage does not exist.

When I say scripture, I mean the Bible. If you can’t find these two passages in the Bible, then can you admit there might be a small problem with your calendar?

The next big thing is what Jesus did. He went to the synagogue on the Shabbat, as was his custom (Lk. 4:16). He therefore kept the same Shabbat day as the Jews. Was Jesus then a Saturn worshipper? Why is there not a single disagreement recorded in the New Testament between Jesus and the Pharisees over which day to keep holy? Had Jesus followed the Remnant of the Light calendar, he would have kept the Shabbat on a different day than the Jews, who used the same calendar then as they do now. The Pharisees accused Jesus of breaking the Shabbat, as he healed people on the Shabbat day, told a man to carry his bed on the Shabbat and let his disciples pluck grain on the Shabbat. The Sabbath was as huge a thing for the Jews then as it is now. Had Jesus used a different calendar than the Jews we would certainly have heard about it. Not once do the Pharisees accuse Jesus of keeping a different calendar. So explain to me please, why Jesus kept holy the so called “Saturday”? And how much does it matter to you, do you follow Yeshua, the Messiah? Or are you all about your calendar?

D.A Carson’s reply to a jewish question

Kansanlähetysopiston Apologiaforumilla 15.-17.4.2016 D.A Carson vastasi kysymykseeni Sapatista. Tässä kysymykseni Carsonille ja Carsonin vastaus:

Why do christians not keep the Sabbath? I’m asking this from a jewish perspective, I’m not interested in the adventist debate. The fourth commandment (Lutherans count third) tells us plainly to keep the Sabbath. OT passages promising a new covenant all speak of a covenant where the law (Torah) will be in effect (Jer 31:33, Ez 11:20). Where do we find any hint in the Bible that the Torah will be abolished? Jesus himself says that he does not abolish the Torah (Mt 5:17), why do christians not listen to their master? Accepting a covenant where the Torah is void is simply not an option for a jew.

D.A. Carson’s reply:
That’s a serious question and an important one. And christians across the centuries have been somewhat divided on how to answer it. But let me make a stab at it, but this will be too brief for a question so serious. It is important to remember that Jesus did clearly abolish some elements of Torah. For example in the discussion that you can read about in Mark chapter 7 Jesus said certain things making all foods clean. So Jesus was prepared to change certain things. Moreover the passage the questioner quotes namely Mt 5:17 and following (this is gonna get complicated) does not say “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the prophets but to maintain them” but rather “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the prophets but to fulfill them“. In other words, if the text had said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the prophets but to maintain them” then you would expect that all the stipulations of the law and the prophets should be maintained under the teaching and the authority of Jesus. But that’s not the terminology that Jesus uses. He says “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the prophets but to fulfill them“. Matthew uses the verb to fulfill, plerao in Greek, more than anybody else in the new Testament. And in every case Matthew uses it to mean to bring to fulfillment that which has in some sense been predicted. In other words christians are used to the notion of prophecy and fulfillment.

For example Micah 5:2 insists that there will be a redeemer out of Betlehem – that’s a verbal prediction and we would argue that it is literally fulfilled in the birth of Jesus in Betlehem. But Jesus seems to be saying in Mt 5:17 that it’s not only verbal prediction that may prophesy but that law may prophesy! Law and prophets both prophesy. That is repeated in Matthew chapter 11 where Jesus says the law and the prophets prophesied until John. Not “the law legislates and the prophets prophesy” but “the law and the prophets prophesy”. In NT terms I would argue that it works along the line that I showed in the typology regarding the passover, that is, christians argue that the event of the passover and the laws regarding the maintaining of the passover themselves become prophetic of the ultimate passover. So that when the laws are given in the context of the Tanakh, the hebrew old testament, in the context of Torah, Jesus insists that they fit within a pattern which itself points forward to something more something different or something that brings it to fulfillment.

So the OT law says for example you shall not commit murder. It says you shall not commit adultery. What is interesting about Jesus’ treatment of adultery and murder in the sermon on the mount right after that passage in mt 5:17 and following if Jesus is interested in how those laws are fulfilled, he says the real fulfillment of the commandment not to murder is not to hate, the real fulfillment of the commandment not to commit adultery is not to lust. Likewise I would argue that hebrews 3 and 4 which we looked at earlier, is arguing that the ultimate rest is not Sabbath or Sunday, the ultimate rest is that to which Sabbath and Sunday and the rest of God point – that is when you see the trajectory of those things in scripture including creation, the giving of the law, the entrance in to the promised land, and psalm 95 and so on, there is a whole trajectory that is asking how this is ultimately fulfilled in ultimate rest.

Now as I said, christians have long argued about the details of this. For example there has been a minority of babtists who call themselves 7th day babtists. Just as there is a denomination today called 7th day adventism. And they are using a lot of the argumentation built in to the very question. But others have argued that the early christians started meeting on the first day of the week, one day in seven, precisely because it was the day of the resurrection. In other words they observed one day in seven, but did a transfer to the first day of the week simply because it was the day of the master’s resurrection. But whether one accepts that argument or not, what I would argue, is that on the basis of Jesus’ insistence that the law must be fulfilled, and not merely obeyed, you see the direction in which it is pointing, the trajectory of rest ends up in the rest of God bound up with salvation itself. To make things even more confusing I wrote a book about that too, from Sabbath to the Lord’s day, it’s still in print.