Lunisolar Biblical Calendar Witnesses

This Scriptural Calendar study provides quotes which verify that the Scriptural calendar is the lunisolar calendar.

These quotes prove that the Jews and Early Church used to base their weekly Sabbaths on the lunar cycle.

Philo of Alexandria, a prominent Jew who lived from approximately 20 BC to 50 AD., said “But to the seventh day of the week he has assigned the greatest festivals, those of the longest duration, at the periods of the equinox both vernal and autumnal in each year; appointing two festivals for these two epochs, each lasting seven days; the one which takes place in the spring being for the perfection of what is being sown, and the one which falls in autumn being a feast of thanksgiving for the bringing home of all the fruits which the trees have produced.” (Source: The Decalogue XXX 159)

To prove the seventh day of the week is the same as the 15th, elsewhere Philo stated, “And this feast is begun on the fifteenth day of the month, in the middle of the month, on the day on which the moon is full of light, in consequence on the providence of Elohim taking care that there shall be no darkness on that day.”

Speaking of “lunar” intervals, in Special Laws I. (178), Philo wrote, “…there is one principle of reason by which the moon waxes and wanes in equal intervals, both as it increases and diminishes in illumination; the seven lambs because it receives the perfect shapes in periods of seven days—the half-moon in the first seven day period after its conjunction with the sun, full moon in the second; and when it makes its return again, the first is to half-moon, then it ceases at its conjunction with the sun.

Philo gives a second witness in On Mating with the Preliminary Studies, XIX (102), “For it is said in the Scripture: On the tenth day of this month let each of them take a sheep according to his house; in order that from the tenth, there may be consecrated to the tenth, that is to Elohim, the sacrifices which have been preserved in the soul, which is illuminated in two portions out of the three, until it is entirely changed in every part, and becomes a heavenly brilliancy like a full moon, at the height of its increase at the end of the second week.

This change from the luni-solar to a fixed solar calendar occurred in Rome during the repressive measures which were enacted against ALL Jewish customs . . . during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. With the fall of the Nazarene headquarters…at Jerusalem, this new Roman calendar quickly spread throughout ‘Christendom.’ This new calendar not only replaced yearly festival dates such as Passover, but it also revamped t he concept of the week and its seventh day.” Iranaeus 2nd Century A.D.

The groundwork for this supplanting of the true calendar,” suggests the ancient historian Iranaeus “began in Rome with a Bishop Sixtus.”

This change from the luni-solar to a fixed solar calendar occurred in Rome during the repressive measures which were enacted against ALL Jewish customs and practices, including the lunar calendar, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian.

With the fall of the Nazarene headquarters at Jerusalem, this new Roman calendar quickly spread throughout ‘Christendom.’ This new calendar not only replaced yearly festival dates such as Passover, but it also revamped the concept of the week and its seventh day.

In the years following Clement of Alexandria’s time, an ominous change started to take place that was to radically change the Christian concept of the Sabbath.” Records the Encyclopedia Biblica: “This intimate connection between the week and the month was soon dissolved. It is certain that the week soon followed a development of its own, and it became the custom — without paying any regard to the days of the month (the luni-solar month)  (Source: The MacMillan Company, 1899, p . 5290.)

Then, on page 4179 of the same encyclopedia, it says: “The introduction of the custom of celebrating the Sabbath every 7th day, irrespective of the relationship of the day to the moon’s phases, led to a complete separation from the ancient view of the Sabbath” (Source: Encyclopaedia Biblica, 1903 p. 5290.)

It should be noted that the oldest dated Christian inscription to employ a planetary designation (Sunday – Saturday, unbroken cycle of weeks) belongs to the year 269 A.D. (Source: Inscriptiones Christianae urbis Romae, ed. De Rossi, 1861, i, No. 1)

The present Jewish calendar was fixed (continuous weekly cycle) in the fourth century. (Source: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Letter by Louis Finkelstein to Dr. L. E. Froom, Feb. 20, 1939. Regarding the present Jewish calendar.)

“ The Sabbath depending, in Israel’s nomadic period, upon the observation of the phases of the moon, …could not, according to this view, be a fixed day. ” www.jewishencyclopedia.com

That is declaring that it can’t be on a fixed Julian or Gregorian calendar, because it does not fall every 7 days.

“ The four quarters of the moon supply an obvious division of the month…it is most significant that in the older parts of the Hebrew scriptures the new moon and the Sabbath are almost invariably mentioned together . T he [L unar] month is beyond question an old sacred division of time common to all the Semites ; even the Arabs, who received the week at quite a late period from the Syrians, greeted the New Moon with religious acclamations. … We cannot tell [exactly] when the Sabbath became disassociated from the month . ” Encyclopedia Biblica (1899 edit.), pp. 4178 and 4179 How is it that Scholars cannot tell when the Sabbath was disassociated from the lunar cycle while modern Sabbath keepers in general deny that the Sabbath wa s ever connected with the moon in the first place?

10 “ The introduction…of the custom of celebrating the Sabbath every 7th day, irrespective of the relationship of the day to the moon’s phases , led to a complete separation from the ancient view of the Sabbath… ” Encyclopedia Biblica, (1899 edit.), p. 4179.

“ With the development of the importance of the Sabbath as a day of consecration and the emphasis laid upon the significant number seven, the week became more and more divorced from its lunar connection … ” Universal Jewish Encyclopedi a : Vol. 10, 1943 edit. Article, “ Week, ” p. 482.

In the article Shawui Calendar: Ancient Shawui Observance by David Clark , we find confirmation of a radical change in YHVH ’s calendar. “ The …calendar was used by all the original disciples of Yeshua. This original Nazarene lunar – solar calendar was supplanted by a Roman “ planetary week ” and calendar in 135 C.E. — when the “ Bishops of the Circumcision ” (i.e. legitimate Nazarene successors to Yeshua) were displaced from Jerusalem . This began a three hundred year controversy concerning the true calendar and correct Sabbath . ” “

These imported [from Babylon] superstitions eventually led Jewish rabbis to call Saturn Shabbti , “ the star of the Sabbath, ” [and]…it was not until the first century of our era , when the planetary week had become an established institution, that the Jewish Sabbath seems always to have corresponded to Saturn’s Day [Satyrday ]. ” Hutton Webster in his book , Rest Days , p. 244. Thus Amos 5:26 is a true commentary . “

The calendar was originally fixed by observation, and ultimately by calculation. Up to the fall of the Temple (A.D. 70), witnesses who saw the new moon came forward and were strictly examined and if their evidence was accepted the month was fixed by th e priests . Eventually the authority passed to the Sanhedrin and ultimately to the Patriarch . … Gradually observation gave place to calculation . The right to determine the calendar was reserved to the Patriarchate ; the Jews of Mesopotamia [Ed. — this is the land of Babylon] tried in vain to establish their own calendar but the prerogative of Palestine was zealously defended. So long as Palestine remained a religious centre, it was naturally to the homeland that the Diaspora looked for its calendar. Unifo rmity was essential, for if different parts had celebrated feasts on different days confusion would have ensued. It was not until the 4 th century A.D. that Babylon fixed the calendar … ” Encyclopedia Britannica : Vol. 4, article “ Calendar ” .

After Clement of Alexandria’s time (150 – 215 A.D.), an ominous change started to take place that was to radically change the believer ’ s concept of the Sabbath.

“This intimate connection between the week and the month was soon dissolved. It is certain that the week so on followed a development of its own, and it became the custom — without paying any regard to the days of the month (i.e. the lunar month) — … so that the New Moon no longer coincided with the first day [of the month ]. ” Encyclopedia Biblica , (1899 edit.), p. 5290.

Under the reign of Constantius the persecutions of the Jews reached such a height that the computation of the (luni-solar) calendar (was) forbidden under pain of severe punishment. (Source: The Jewish Encyclopedia, “Calendar.”)

Sabbath and New Moon (Rosh Hodesh), both periodically recur in the course of the year. The New Moon is still, and the Sabbath originally was, dependent upon the lunar cycle. (Source: Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, p . 410)

The New Moon is still, and the Sabbath originally was, dependent upon the lunar cycle.” (“Holidays,” Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 410.)

Declaring the new month by observation of the new moon, and the new year by the arrival of spring, can only be done by the Sanhedrin. In the time of Hillel II [4th century A.D.],  the Romans prohibited this practice. Hillel II was therefore forced to institute his fixed calendar.” (Source: “The Jewish Calendar; Changing the Calendar,” www.torah.org.)

Rabbi Louis Finklestein, a well-known scholar from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, emphatically stated: “The present Jewish calendar was fixed in the fourth century.”

Maimonides, a Medieval Jewish scholar, and most other Jewish chronologers agree that the modern Jewish calendar is based upon the “mean motions of the sun and moon, the true (calendar) having been set aside.” (Source:Maimonides, Kiddusch Ha-hodesch.

ADD THESE IF NOT REDUNDANT

“Declaring the new month by observation of the new moon, and the new year by the arrival of spring, can only be done by the Sanhedrin. In the time of Hillel II [4th century A.D.], . . . the Romans prohibited this practice. Hillel II was therefore forced to institute his fixed calendar . . . .” (“The Jewish Calendar; Changing the Calendar,” www.torah.org.)

Rabbi Louis Finklestein, a well-known scholar from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, emphatically stated: “The present Jewish calendar was fixed in the fourth century.”

Maimonides, a Medieval Jewish scholar, and most other Jewish chronologers agree that the modern Jewish calendar is based upon the “mean motions of the sun and moon, the true [calendar] having been set aside.” (Maimonides, Kiddusch Ha-hodesch.)

Philo of Alexandria

Philo of Alexandria was a prominent Jew that lived from approximately 20 BC to 50 AD. So not only did he live before the Messiah, he lived during and after as well. We know that Philo’s writings and beliefs are consistent with the Jews beliefs because he was hand picked by the Jews of that time to head a Jewish delegation to represent the Jews in a massacre that had occurred against the Jews in 39 AD. We know that Sabbath observance is a staple in Jewish belief. The Jews would not have selected someone to represent them had that person not kept the correct day for the Sabbath. If Philo kept the lunar Sabbath while everyone else kept the Sabbath according to a continuous weekly cycle, then Philo would be an outcast among his people and would never be considered for such a prominent position to represent them. So how did Philo reckon the 7th day Sabbath?

Philo is very clear in the fact the he observed lunar Sabbaths. He never once mentions anything about a continuous weekly cycle or a Saturday Sabbath. He observed the New Moon and emphasized its importance as well. We are also able to gain much information and confirmation of the scriptures from his writings about the finer details about how God’s calendar works. We should not ignore eye witness testimony from prominent Jewish leaders of that time period that very plainly explain to us from recorded history how things were done. This is excellent corroborative evidence to the scriptures and further PROOF of the lunar Sabbath.

In Allegorical Interpretation, 1 IV (8), it says…
“Again, the periodical changes of the moon, take place according to the number seven, that star having the greatest sympathy with the things on earth. And the changes which the moon works in the air, it perfects chiefly in accordance with its own configurations on each seventh day. At all events, all mortal things, as I have said before, drawing their more divine nature from the heaven, are moved in a manner which tends to their preservation in accordance with this number seven. … Accordingly, on the seventh day, Elohim caused to rest from all his works which he had made.” …

Notice that Philo says the moon is perfect in its shape or appearance at seven day intervals. Had a Hebrew speaking Israelite written this he would have said “it perfects chiefly in accordance with its own configurations on each Sabbath day instead of each “seventh” day because elsewhere in his writings, Philo identifies that when he mentions the seventh day [of the week] he is speaking of the Sabbath. Above, he tells us that the moon perfects its own configurations on each seventh day. It was understood, that at the end each period of six work days there would be a weekly Sabbath. The Greek speaking Jews referred to the Sabbath as the seventh day or the sacred seventh day, while in the language of the Hebrews it was termed Shabbat, or the Sabbath.

The Decalogue XXX (159),
“But to the seventh day of the week he has assigned the greatest festivals, those of the longest duration, at the periods of the equinox both vernal and autumnal in each year; appointing two festivals for these two epochs, each lasting seven days; the one which takes place in the spring being for the perfection of what is being sown, and the one which falls in autumn being a feast of thanksgiving for the bringing home of all the fruits which the trees have produced”…

Let’s look carefully at what Philo is saying. To the seventh day of the week He [the Father above] has assigned the greatest festivals, in other words the greatest (longest) festivals have been assigned to the seventh day of the week. Philo, keeping the same luni-solar calendar established in Scripture, calls the first day of each of these seven day feasts the “seventh day of the week”. Scripture says that both of the seven day feasts (Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles) begin on the 15th day of their respective months.
The seventh day of the week is the Sabbath, is it not? It is the seventh day of the week EVERY year. If the 15th is the weekly Sabbath, so are the 8th, 22nd and 29th days of the month. Notice Philo did not say they would receive two holydays of festivals, but one, the 15th. Satyrday Sabbath keepers insist that there will be a satyrday Sabbath that interrupts these seven day feasts, and indeed, if the Gregorian calendar were the calendar of Scripture that would be true. But Scripture says nothing of a [satyrday] Sabbath in the middle of these 7 day feasts.

To prove the seventh day of the week is the same as the 15th, elsewhere Philo states, “And this feast is begun on the fifteenth day of the month, in the middle of the month, on the day on which the moon is full of light, in consequence on the providence of Elohim taking care that there shall be no darkness on that day.”

In other words, Philo is saying the weekly Sabbath begins these feasts, and is on the 15th. This proves the Sabbaths by the lunar calendar because there is no way the weekly Sabbath (the 15th) can begin these two festivals on the 15th in the 1st and 7th month each year, on a continuous seven day cycle presented by the Gregorian calendar we have today.

Speaking of “lunar” intervals, in Special Laws I. (178), Philo writes…
“…there is one principle of reason by which the moon waxes and wanes in equal intervals, both as it increases and diminishes in illumination; the seven lambs because it receives the perfect shapes in periods of seven days—the half-moon in the first seven day period after its conjunction with the sun, full moon in the second; and when it makes its return again, the first is to half-moon, then it ceases at its conjunction with the sun.” [All emphasis supplied by author/complier of this study.]

The half-moon (first quarter moon) announces the first Sabbath of the month. It is the seventh day of the week, naturally, but this is the 8th day of the month. New moon day is not counted against the week. The full moon rising at the end of the 14th day of the month announces the 15th as the second Sabbath of the month. If the new moon was counted, the quarter phases (or as Philo describes them, the moon as it perfects in its own configurations on each seventh day) would not come at the end of the week, disconnecting the perfection of the lunar cycle from the Sabbath. What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.

Philo gives a second witness in On Mating with the Preliminary Studies, XIX (102)…
“For it is said in the Scripture: On the tenth day of this month let each of them take a sheep according to his house; in order that from the tenth, there may be consecrated to the tenth, that is to Elohim, the sacrifices which have been preserved in the soul, which is illuminated in two portions out of the three, until it is entirely changed in every part, and becomes a heavenly brilliancy like a full moon, at the height of its increase at the end of the second week”.

Please let what Philo just said sink in. His readers in those days understood that the weeks were by the moon, same as in Scripture, and that at the end of the second week there would be a full moon. This statement needs no interpretation and is impossible to misunderstand.

The sacred seventh day of the week, which comes at the end of the second week of each month, is a full moon Sabbath (Psalms 81:3-6). People would like for us to believe that the months were originally by the moon but the weeks were not. Philo was making a simple observation of how a person can be spiritually illuminated to a full brilliance just like a full moon at the height of its increase at the end of the second week. Friend, is there a Sabbath at the end of that second week? Philo did not count the new moon when counting out the weeks as calendars do today. This statement is very easily proven from the writings of Philo because he states in other places throughout his book that the full moon is on the 15th each month and he also separates the new moon from the weeks as a separate feast day. Writers today would instead count the new moon day in counting their weeks, but it is obvious from Philo that he did not. Philo recognized the same order of the month as is described in Scripture. Ezekiel 46:1 and verse 3 proves that the new moon and Sabbaths cannot fall on any of the six working days. See also Amos 8:5, II Kings 4:23 and Isaiah 66:22-23 for corroborating witnesses.If the new moon was counted as the first day of the first week, at the end of the second week the full moon would rise before the 14th instead of the 15th as Philo plainly declares many times. In other
words you have your new moon worship day, then six work days and then the weekly Sabbath on the 8th day of the moon (Ezekiel 46:1). You then have six more workdays and a full moon on day 15 or at the end of the second week or second seven.This proves the new moon was not counted in counting out the weeks same as YHWH did not count it in Exodus the 16th chapter when he made the Sabbath known to Moses. If the new moon was ever counted in counting out the weeks in Scripture, there would be pinpointed weekly Sabbaths on the 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th etc. Yet, you cannot find these days pinpointed as the weekly Sabbath anywhere in Scripture because these days are always preparation days for the weekly Sabbath. When Philo spoke of the 10th or 15th day of the month, he was counting the new moon day in his count, but it is an absolute that when he counted out the week, he did not count the new moon, which in itself proves lunar weeks. Remember Philo is just stating “how” things were done in his day.

Clement of Alexandria

Clement lived between 150 AD and 215 AD. So well into the 2nd century, the lunar Sabbath was still kept.

In vol. 6, chapter 16 of The Stromata, Clement plainly writes that “in periods of seven days the moon undergoes its changes. In the first week she becomes half moon; in the second [week], full moon; and in the third [week], in her wane, again half moon; and in the fourth [week] she disappears.”

Clearly these are lunar weeks that are tied to the phases of the moon.

In The Stromata ch.5 says “[Peter] inferred thus: ‘Neither worship as the Jews…[for] if the moon is not visible, they do not hold the Sabbath, which is called the first; nor do they hold the new moon, nor the feast of Unleavened Bread, nor the Feast, nor the Great Day’”

Again, the moon is tied to the Sabbath.

Other Accounts

The first is found in the Talmud the Steinsaltz Edition”, Volume XIV Tractate Ta’anit Part II (1995 by Israel Institute for Talmudic Publications and Milta Books), pages 205-206. It says the following regarding the destruction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar’s army:
Page 205: “Then late on the day of the ninth, close to nightfall, they set the Temple on fire, and it continued to burn the entire next day, on the tenth.” Page 206: “When the Temple was destroyed for the first time at the hands of Nebuzaradan [the captain of the guard], that day was the ninth of Av, and it was the day following Shabbat, and it was the year following the Sabbatical Year…. And similarly when the Temple was destroyed a second time at the hands of Titus, the destruction occurred on the very same day, on the ninth of Av.”

Guess what day the ninth day of Av was when Titus destroyed the temple? (The day after the weekly Sabbath, naturally.) If I’ve done the math right, the ninth day of the month follows the 8th day of the month. Correct? If the 8th day of the month is the Sabbath, so are the 15th, 22nd and 29th days of the month.

The historian Josephus records Sabbaths that can be pinpointed and they are on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th and the New moon was not counted as one of the six workdays. Josephus records an interesting type of strategy by General Pompey and the Romans. The Roman’s saw that the Hebrews did not fight on the Sabbath unless attacked. So, the Romans simply moved their engines and battering rams up to the walls on the Sabbath day, which otherwise they could not do, and on the next day, they battered the city. See page 369-370. Antiquities of the Jews Book 14, Chapter 4, section 3.
“…For although the city [Jerusalem] was taken on the third month, on the day of the fast…” (c) Antiquities of the Jews Book 14, Chapter 4, section 3, p. 370
Footnote c: Antiquities of the Jews Book 14, Chapter 4:3, page 370: “That is on the twenty-third of Sivan, the annual fast for the defection and idolatry of Jeroboam, ‘who made my people Israel to sin,’or possibly some other fast might fall into that month, before and in the days of Josephus.”

How many fasts do YOU know of in the third month? I did not even know of this one. I find this fascinating because Jeroboam is the one who introduced satyrday worship to Israel. If memory serves me, the 23rd day of the month follows the 22nd day of the month. Correct? If the 22nd day of the month is the Sabbath, so are the 8th, 15th, and 29th days of the month.

This is not an exhaustive list of historical writings that prove the lunar Sabbath. There is most certainly much more. But if you’re not convinced by now, there is not enough evidence to ever convince you. The historical record from the Jews themselves proves lunar Sabbaths.

Enoch?

References for additional study:

Philo and Josephus support the Creation Calendar PDF

Is there any historical support for the Creation Calendar? PDF

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