Lunisolar Biblical Calendar Witnesses

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

Saturday Sabbath keepers declare that the Jews have kept track of the Sabbaths, but there is no proof of that, and I disprove it on the Saturday Is Not The Sabbath page.

Jews who proclaim these things are either complicit in the cover up or misled and just parroting what they are taught.

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. The Decalogue XXX 159

Clement of Alexandria, who lived from 150-215 AD, said,

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. In vol. 6, chapter 16 of The Stromata

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.’ In The Stromata ch.5

Irenaeus, a second century bishop said, 

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 the concept of the week and its seventh day.

Epiphanius, who lived from 315-403, said,

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” were displaced from Jerusalem. This began a three hundred year controversy concerning the TRUE CALENDAR AND CORRECT SABBATH: This [calendar] controversy arose after the exodus of the bishops of the circumcision and has continued until our time.” Epiphanius HE4, 6, 4. [emphasis added]

The 1899 edition of the Encyclopedia Biblica says,

The Hebrew Sabbath (i.e. Creation Sabbath) was originally a Sabbathon…it was celebrated at intervals of seven days, corresponding with the changes in the moon’s phases. Encyclopaedia Biblica, 1899, p. 4180.

The Hebrew month is a lunar month and the quarter of this period – one phase of the moon – appears to have determined the week of seven days. Encyclopaedia Biblica, 1899, p. 4780.

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. Encyclopaedia Biblica, 1903 p. 5290.

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. 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.

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 . The [Lunar] 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

The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia says,

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 Encyclopedia : Vol. 10, 1943 edit. Article, “ Week, ” p. 482.

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. Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, p . 410

Shabbat [weekly Sabbath] originally arose from the lunar cycle, containing four weeks ending in Sabbath, plus one or two additional unreckoned days per [lunar] month. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia: An Authorative and Popular Presentation of Jews and Judaism Since the Earliest Times. Volume 10 Cohen, Simon (1943 p 482-483.). Week. In Landman, Isaac.

At first the New Moon festival was not counted among the seven days of the week; after 28 days had elapsed [7 days x 4 weeks], one or two days were intercalated as New Moon days, whereupon a new cycle of four weeks began, so that the Sabbath was a movable [lunar] festival…. Later the week and the Sabbath became fixed [to the Roman cycling planetary week]; and this gradually resulted in taking away from the New Moon festival its popular importance. The Jewish Encyclopedia, Pastoral Feast.

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

The months of the year were lunar, and began with the new moon. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, “Calendar,” p. 631.

The Jewish Encyclopedia says,

Those [appointed Festivals] connected with the moon: (a) Sabbath; (b) New Moon; and (c) the New Moon of the seventh month. Jewish Encyclopedia.com, the unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, “Festivals,” Classification of Festivals, Emil Hirsch, Vol. 5, p. 376.

The moon was the beneficent… [herald] of the shepherds in the region and climate where ancient Israel had its ancestral home. Hence the many traces of lunar institutions in even the latest Israelitish cult and its phraseology… The Sabbath, as marking the end of the week, reveals its lunar origin; the phases of the moon having taught the shepherds, whose weal or woe depends so largely upon the benevolence or malevolence of the night season, to divide the period elapsing between two new moons into four equal groups (weeks), the last day of each… Indications are not wanting that at first the New Moon festival was not counted among the seven days of the week (see Week); but after… New Moon days… a new cycle of four weeks began… Later, the week and the Sabbath became fixed [according to the Babylonian/Roman continuous weekly cycle]; and this gradually resulted in taking away from the New Moon festival its popular importance. Jewish Encyclopedia.com, the unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, “Festivals,” Pastoral Feasts, Emil Hirsch, Vol. 5, p. 376.

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. The Jewish Encyclopedia, “Calendar.”

At the end of four weeks an interval of one or two days [30th day and New Moon Day] … intervene before the new [lunar month and] week could begin. At an early date [359 AD], however, this intimate connection between the week and the moon must have been dissolved. Jewish Encyclopedia.com, unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, “Week,” by Emil G. Hirsch, Vol. 12, p. 481.

A unit of time; the period between one new moon and another. According to the account of Creation in Genesis, it was decreed that the “lesser light” should “rule the night” and serve “for signs and for seasons” [mo’edim] (Gen. 1:14). The Psalmist also says, “He appointed the moon for seasons” [mo’edim] (Ps. 104:19).” Undoubtedly there was an occasional interpolation of an extra [automatic lunar] month to correct the lunar year to the solar cycle; and it is evident from the fact that the festivals named in given months—such as Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles—all had to do with crops…the highest antiquity. The relation of the months to the signs of the zodiac is a further evidence that the solar-lunar year was employed. Jewish Encyclopedia, “Month,” Cyrus Adler, Judah David Eisenstein, Vol. 8, p.671.

The history of the Jewish calendar may be divided into three periods—the Biblical, the Talmudic, and the post-Talmudic. The first rested purely on the observation of the sun and the moon, the second on observation and reckoning, the third entirely on reckoning. Jewish Encyclopedia.com, the unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, “History of the Calendar,” by Joseph Jacobs, Cyrus Adler, Vol. 3, p. 498.

The Sabbath depending, in Israel’s nomadic period, upon the observation of the phases of the moon, it could not, accordingly be a fixed day [meaning a fixed planetary day of the modern Roman cycling week]. The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History. Edited by Isidore Singer, Cyrus Adler, Volume 10, p. 590.

[When] dissociated from the moon, the Sabbath developed into a day of rest for the workers and animals on the farm… Traces of the old taboo [forbidden New Moon and lunar calendar model from creation] are, however, found. In Amos 8:5 it is the fear of… consequences [for not abstaining from work on the New Moon Day and Sabbath] that keeps the impatient merchants from plying their wicked trade. The Assyrian [Babylonian/Roman] calendar seems to disclose an effort to get rid of the movable [lunar] Sabbath in favor of the fixed [continuous weekly cycle]. Jewish Encyclopedia.com, Jewish Encyclopedia 1906, SABBATH, Emil G. Hirsch, Joseph Jacobs, Executive Committee of the Editorial Board, Julius H. Greenstone, Vol. 10, p. 591.

The Jewish Calendar says,

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.

Smith’s Bible Dictionary (1844) says,

The first day of the lunar month was observed as a holy day. . . As on the Sabbath, trade and handicraft work were stopped (Amos 8:5; Ezekiel 46:3) and the temple was opened for public worship…. It was an occasion for state banquets (1 Samuel. 20:5-24). Smith’s Bible Dictionary (1884): New Moon.

Rabbi Louis Finklestein, a well-known scholar from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, said,

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

Scribner’s Dictionary of the Bible says,

In the time of the earliest prophets, the New Moon stood in the same line with another lunar observance, the Sabbath. Ezekiel, who curiously enough frequently dates his prophecies on the New Moon . . . describes the gate of the inner court of the (new) temple looking eastward as kept shut for the six working days, but opened on the Sabbath and the New Moon. Scribner’s Dictionary of the Bible, (1898 edit) p. 521.

Hutton Webster says,

The [early] Hebrews employed lunar seven-day weeks, which ended with special observances on the seventh day, but none the less were tied to the moon’s course. Rest Days: A Study in Early Law and Morality, Hutton Webster, p. 254-255

The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia says,

The connection of the Sabbath with lunar phases, however, was (later) discarded by the Israelites. The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, p. 135-136.

The Oxford English Dictionary says,

The Jewish festivals being regulated solely by the moon, may fall on any day of the [modern Roman] week. Oxford English Dictionary, 1971 Edition, Vol. 2, Pentecost.

References for additional study:

Philo and Josephus support the Creation Calendar PDF

Is there any historical support for the Creation Calendar? PDF

Return to the The Scriptural Calendar Home Page

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