The so-called floating "Lunar Sabbath" is a recent invention. There
is no evidence that anyone ever followed it until recent times. To the
contrary the historical evidence PROVES that the ancient Hebrews
(Including Yeshua himself) kept the Seventh day of the week
("Saturday") and not a so-called floating "Lunar Sabbath".
The following information was obtained from, "The Anchor Bible
Dictionary" Vol. 5; Pg. 853f.
Evidence #1. "Sennacherib's [the Assyrian leader] letter written on
his Judean campaign in 701 b.c. refers to his capture of Lachish on
Hezekiah's "seventh time" (ina 7-šu, lit. "in his 7th (time)," Na'aman
1974:26). Shea (1988:178) has suggested that Hezekiah's "seventh time"
refers to the sabbath, the day when its defenders rested and the
Assyrians captured Lachish".
Evidence #2. "The publication of the Chronicles of the Babylonian
Kings by Wiseman in 1956 provided the date for the capture of
Jerusalem "on the second day of the month of Adar" (Wiseman
1956:72–73), i.e., March 16, 597. The day was a sabbath (Johns
Evidence #3. "[T]he day for the first assault against Jerusalem on
January 15, 588, is again a sabbath, based on the synchronism of the
biblical date (2 Kgs 25:1; Jer 52:4; Ezek 24:1–2) with the Babylonian
Evidence #4. "Again the fall of Jerusalem on the 9th day of the 4th
month of Zedekiah's 11th year (Jer 52:5–8) is calculated to fall on a
sabbath (Johns 1963:485)".
Evidence #5. "This strategy was again used later by the Seleucids at
the beginning of the Maccabean period when Jews were attacked on the
sabbath but refused to resist on this day (Josephus Ant 12.6.2; 1 Macc
It is also stated, "Based on these calculations, it appears that the
military strategy of the Assyrians and Neo-Babylonians utilized the
seventh-day Sabbath rest of the Israelites to accomplish their
military-political goals". Logic would dictate that the Israelites
were most vulnerable on their day of rest, especially since one of the
halakas of the time taught that one could not fight on the Sabbath
(see Jubilees 50:13).
Importantly, note that in Evidences #2 and #4 the Sabbath falls on the
second and ninth days (respectively) of their respective months,
contradicting a Babylonian-style lunar-shappatu system (or a system
that goes 1-8-15-22-29).
In Evidence #3, the Sabbath falls on the tenth day of the tenth month
indicating there was no synchronization of the weekly Sabbath with the
lunar cycle in this time period. Not only do the days of the attacks
calculate to be on the weekly Sabbath, but they also do not correspond
to the necessary lunar days to substantiate a Lunar-Sabbath theory.
To my knowledge, the Babylonians used a crescent New Moon method for
determining the beginning of the month (it was some time after the
Exile that the Babylonians learned how to calculate the conjunction).
Concerning Evidence #5 The Anchor Bible Dictionary also states, "In
Jub. 50:13 fighting is still prohibited on the sabbath. Ptolomy I
Soter (323–283/82 b.c.) took Jerusalem on a sabbath unopposed and
ruled it harshly (Joseph. Ant 12.1.1). Apollonius, a commander of an
army corps of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, in 168 b.c. "waited until the
holy sabbath day" to "rush into the city with his armed men and killed
great numbers of people" (2 Macc 5:25–26), because Jews did not fight
on the sabbath. Sabbath attacks continued (1 Macc 2:38), and
Mattathias and his followers decided that they needed to defend
themselves on the sabbath (vv 39–41) in order to avoid
annihilation. According to Josephus this practice continued (Ant
12.6.2). By the time the Romans engaged in war against the Jews, the
latter would even attack viciously on sabbath (Joseph. JW 2.17.10; 18.1)".
We know from the Scriptures that the Messiah and his Emissaries not
only frequented the Synagogue on the Sabbath, but that it was
Messiah's (Luke 4:16) and Paul's (Acts 17:2) practice to go to the
Synagogue on the Sabbath (the same Sabbath the other Jews kept).
Surveying the numerous issues Paul and Messiah had with the halacha of
the time (especially the issue of proper Sabbath observance in the
Gospels) the issue of *when* to keep the Sabbath is never broached;
instead it was their practice to assemble on the same day as their
These historical records indicate that Sabbath observance was kept by
many Israelites, both pre-Exilicly and post-Exilicly, on a repeating 7
day cycle on the day we call Saturday.
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