9 March 2011 (Revee/Shavu'ot)|
Day #358, 5935 AM
Which Seventh Day?
The Sabbatarian Conundrum
Continued from Part 3
For 22 years I was a Sunday worshipper and was associated with churches that worshipped on that day. My own ministry observed the so-called 'Lord's Day' for half of that time. Then, under the guidance of Sabbatarians, I became a Saturday worshipper for another 12 years. I still owe Saturday worshippers like the Messianics, Seventh-Day Adventists, Seventh-Day Baptists, Worldwide Church of God, and independents a huge debt of gratitude as I began the process of overturning paganised Christian tradition in my life as I searched for the original Gospel of the New Testament believers. I have been on that search now for nearly 40 years. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that there are two seventh-day sabbaths, that one is true and the other false.
Today there are some fantastic writings, movies and websites made by sabbatarians. History is full of brave Christian men and women who have sacrificed their lives, jobs, families and reputations in order to honour the 'Jewish Sabbath'. Not a few Orthodox Christians have done the same to defend what they sincerely believed was the 'Sunday Sabbath' in their time. And I am quite sure that Yahweh honours and respects those who acted in honest faith in the days of their ignorance.
It is a serious matter to change or delete any of the Creator's commandments, especially the foundational Ten Commandments. Satan delights equally in keeping us in ignorance of the truth as he does persuading us to disobey it once we have discovered it. Our job is to prayerfully search the truth out and then respond by incorporating it into our lives, remembering that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is all emet or truth (Jn.14:6).
The 'Great Argument' of nearly all Sabbatarians is that the original New Testament believers observed the 7th Day as the Sabbath Day of Rest and the Roman Catholic Church changed it to the first without biblical authority. They say that the Bible commands us to observe the seventh day and they are, of course, absolutely correct. But the question is: WHICH seventh day?
I don't want to get technical today nor examine all the different calendars in the world. I am concerned only with two: the Roman one which is used everywhere and the Biblical one which is hardly used at all. Sabbatarians insist that the Biblical Calendar for Sabbath days is the Roman solar calendar that counts a continuous sequence of solar days from Sunday to Saturday (now Monday to Sunday in the European Union) with the moon being used to reackon the festivals and months, the one used by the Jews. Then the sabbath day is always the seventh Roman day which is always a Saturday.
I'm afraid not. The Jewish Sabbath is not the Biblical Sabbath because the Biblical Sabbath is not Saturday....at least not most of the time. This year in some parts of the world two months will have Sabbaths on Saturdays but the other months will have Sabbaths on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays!
I have made a table (below) to help explain the difference between the Roman/Jewish Calendar and the Biblical one. The Roman/Jewish Calendar counts days from Sunday to Saturday ad infinitum. The Biblical calendar counts four 7-day weeks and preceeds the first of these with a special day called Rosh Chodesh ('Head of the Moon' or New Moon Day) which is a set-apart or sacred festival day to be observed by Yahweh's people. It ends this four 7-day block of weeks with an extra day...sometimes...to compensate for the 29½ day period of the moon around the earth. Then follows the next Rosh Chodesh, four more 7-day weeks, and (sometimes) an extra day which we call a 'Preparation Day'. Thus every 28 days there are 1 or 2 extra days which are entirely absent from the Roman and Jewish calendar because the latter treats Rosh Chodesh as an ordinary week-day - it isn't! It's a day all on its own. (See the Battle of Jericho for a biblical illustration). Moreover, Roman months are either 30 or 31 days long (except for February which is 28 or 29) and Biblical ones are either 29 or 30 days long, with an extra thirteenth month every now and then.
In the diagram you will see, therefore, that the Roman and Biblical months are out of synchronisation most of the time. In the example I have chosen the Biblical Sabbath falls on the Roman Sunday (as it sometimes does) but in the following month falls on the Roman Tuesday (or Monday is there is no Preparation Day). If you continue this on you will discover that the true Sabbath Day is a day calculated by an entirely different system to that of the world.
We absolutely must insist on observing Yahweh's Seventh Day but the question is - which is His Seventh Day and which is the World's? Well, the world's is Saturday. It has no Name other than the '7th Day' or the 'Sabbath Day'. It isn't the Day of Saturn - it's the Day of Yahweh.
I realise this is a tough issue and a great blow to pride when you realise, having abadoned the 'Sunday sabbath', that you were in truth following the 'Saturday sabbath' instead of Yahweh's Sabbath. Who likes eating crow? Yet repentance should be, and is, glorious. Coming out of error can never be seen as something bad by a believer wanting to honour his Elohim (God). I balk at having to find and change so many of my writings, not to mention the problems this will create adjusting our whole family way of life and the conflicts it may get us into with the system and its calendar, but really is this any more different than the changes we had to make when we first became believers? Repentance and growth are full of continuous changes. A walk with Messiah (Christ) is never static. And He's there backing up those who hunt for, find and sell everything to buy that "Pearl of Great Price" (Mt.13:45-46).
This is new for us too. We're making the changeover in a month's time and this series of devotionals is about the adventure with its undoubted blessings and trials that will follow. I hope you'll join with us.
Continued in Part 5