Month 10:23, Week 4:1 (Rishon/Resach), Year:Day 5937:289 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 23 January 2014
An Exegesis of Exodus 16:1
The Sabbath Days are Fixed Monthly Days
"And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt" (Ex.16:1, NKJV).
The Creation Calendar of our Heavenly Father, Yahweh, decrees that the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th days of each Hebrew luni-solar month are sabbath days. If you scour the Scriptures you will find that when Sabbath days are identified by their numerical position in the month that they always fall on one of these four days. Thus you will never find a reference to a Sabbath day being on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th or (when there is one) the 30th day of a biblical month. This is one of the most persuasive pieces of evidence for the luni-solar Sabbath because you cannot make these days 'fit' into the Talmudic Jewish or Western Catholic Gregorian calendar or any other in common use by Christian or Messianic believers.
Did the Israelites Break the Creation Calendar?
Critics of the Creation Calendar correctly point out that the Israelites travelled on the 15th day of the second month (Exodus 16:1) which means they must have violated the Creation Sabbath. Since Yahweh would never command Israel to violate the Sabbath, this proves, they claim, that the 15th day of the biblical month wasn't always a Sabbath, thus disproving the Luni-Solar Sabbath theory.
The Overwhelming Evidence
Before answering that, it has to be said that the overwhelming evidence already points to the Creation Calendar and not to the current Jewish one, for reasons you can read about elsewhere. How then do we explain the apparent contradiction, and the claim that the same 'violation' was made in Exodus 12 and 19?
Two Other Passages
Let's start with the latter two first as they are easily dismissed because there is no direct statement saying they travelled on one of the four monthly sabbath days. Those who use them against the Creation Calendar do so only by implication. The only thing that Exodus 19 tells us is that the Israelites arrived in Sinai on the 16th, which is not a Creation Sabbath. Whether they travelled on the 15th is not stated, so it could be 'yes they did' (as in Exodus 16) or 'no they didn't'. Either way, the Covenant had not been instituted, the importance of which we will see in a moment.
Let us, for the sake of argument, agree that the Israelites did travel on a Sabbath day in Exodus 16 and ask ourselves the question: under what circumstances might Yahweh have ordered them to do so without breaking the Torah, which hadn't at that time been re-codified by Moses?
Yah'shua Clarifies What is Permissible on the Sabbath
You will recall that the Pharisee view of the Sabbath was at odds with Yahweh's original revelation and that this required Yah'shua (Jesus) to correct their erroneous teaching. We know that Yah'shua (Jesus) healed a man on the Sabbath at the pool of Bethesa and we know that generally He taught that freeing a man from bondage on the Sabbath was also permitted.
Two Reasons 'Breaking' the Sabbath Was Jusfified
The Exodus of Israel was a flight from bondage and not until they had reached the other side of Yam Suf (Sea of Reeds) or the 'Red Sea' were they beyond the clutches of Pharaoh and his murderous intent. It can be argued that Yahweh could have commanded the Israelites to stop on the Sabbath on the 15th day of the 2nd month and supernaturally held the Israelites at bay so that they could obey the Torah, but He did not. Remember two things:
They Were Not Yet Under Covenant
- 1. The Torah and its associated Covenant had not been restored or enacted, respectively, and therefore there was no obligation on the part of Israel to observe it until they came to Mt.Sinai; and
- 2. They were fleeing from bondage that required them to be continuously on the move until the threat from Pharaoh was removed by Yahweh drowning his army in the Red Sea.
My own view is that the Israelites did travel on the Sabbath, they obediently followed the cloud where it led them according to Yahweh's will (even on the Sabbath), and that one of the grounds for them doing so was that they were being delivered from bondage. Personally I think the first argument is the more legitimate one because the Israelites had ceased Sabbath worship for generations following their enslavement by Pharaoh and were by that time well and truly cultural and religious Egyptians. They had forgotten what the Torah was and the Sabbath a distant memory. Only later, when the covenant was re-enacted, were they bound not to travel on the Sabbath.
Don't Travel in Winter or on the Sabbath During Tribulation
A reason I am not entirely happy with the second argument is because Yah'shua (Jesus) does not seem to grant the liberty to travel on the Sabbath in a life-or-death situation, for He says, of the time of the Great Tribulation, "pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath" (Matt.24:20, NKJV). In other words, He appears to be saying that fleeing persecution is not grounds to break the Sabbath (see Ex.16:29), just as it is not a good thing to have to flee in winter in the cold and storm. There would be consequences for doing either - one natural and one supernatural, the latter giving Satan legal rights to make unwanted trouble.
Locked City Gates on the Sabbath
However, there is an alternative explanation, and it is this. In those days, for city-dwellers at least, it would have been impossible anciently to travel on the Sabbath because the city gates would have been locked (Neh.13:19-21). This would have been true for tribulation while they were still living in the land but obviously since the diaspora and in modern times, cities no longer have gates and even if they did, they would not be closed on the biblical Sabbath anyway, thus presenting no obstacle for a modern believer if he wanted to flee on the true luni-solar Sabbath. Though walled villages and towns still exist in some undevelopped countries, they do not shut the gates on the Sabbath though they might shut them every night to keep out wild animals or intruders.
Conclusion and a Third Possibility
It is therefore my belief that the primary reason Yahweh ordered the Israelies to travel on the 15th Sabbath day was because the covenant was not in effect and that therefore He saw no reason to supernaturally order the camp to stop and supernaturally stop Pharaoh if for no other reason that such a miracle would have no meaning in that context when they would find themselves pursued the following day, making Yahweh appear defeated (even if only temporarily), until there was a complete separation of Israel from Egypt by the closing of the Red Sea waters on the Egyptian hosts. There is possibly a secondary reason for travelling on the Sabbath on this occasion, namely, that this was a deliverance from bondage, and as Yah'shua (Jesus) taught, it is permissive to do such on the Sabbath, whether it be of an individual, an animal or a whole nation. Indeed, Torah permitted Israel to defend herself if she were to be attacked on a Sabbath or any other moed (appointment) of Yahweh, thus giving the Israelies a third ground for travelling, namely, to avoid extermination. Therefore I do not see that this passage, or the other two sometimes brought up, in any way invalidates the Creation Calendar seen in its proper context.