Lunar Sabbath

29.5 days of the lunar cycle

Herbert Armstrong was challenged about keeping the Sabbath and he wanted to prove that the woman telling his wife about the Sabbath was completely wrong. He researched the Bible and concluded that indeed, Scripture establishes the Sabbath to keep holy. This is no surprise. An elderly man — an acquaintance of mine — was a staunch Southern Baptist who had grown up in the faith. He told me that they usually had a conference every year that lasts a week, but they wanted to settle whether or not the seventh day Sabbath was to be kept or not, so one year (I believe he said it was in the 1930s), the Southern Baptists had a three week conference. They invited Catholics, Rabbis and other religionists to present their position. When the conference finally finished, the Baptists concluded two things:

  1. The seventh day was the Sabbath to be kept by Christians;
  2. If they switched to the Sabbath, they would lose three-fifths of their congregation.

Go for it. 20% ain’t bad.

These days, it’s just not that simple. Just when you think you’ve got the tiger by the tail and you understand the world, something seems to pop up that completely obliterates your position, and it’s no different with the Sabbath.

I learned about this particular perspective a few weeks ago from my good friend and all around nice guy Christian, xHWA over at the As Bereans Did blog from the Lying for God Part 8 blog entry; the article actually begins at a previous Lying for God entry. As Byker Bob commented, this is something that just didn’t make it into the Has Time Been Lost? booklet by Herbert Armstrong. To save you time, we’ll demystify it for you: Apparently (although that wasn’t what Herbert Armstrong was reaching for).

How does this work?

Long ago, before the Israelite captivity, there was a time when the new moon marked the Sabbath. After the new moon, every seventh day would be the Sabbath until the end of the month. Since the moon takes approximately 29.5 days to cycle to the next new moon, there’s always going to be a day or two left over. Some took the days off and others kept the days as sort of a ‘bonus’ Sabbath rest day. No matter. One month, the Sabbath might be on a Tuesday and the next it might be on a Thursday or Friday. Throughout the year, you’d end up keeping the Sabbath on every day of the week. The Karaite Jews have no problem with it. In fact, the calendar as defined by the Karaite Jews makes perfect sense without all that mucking about with postponements and such. According to the theory, the Jews adopted the seventh day (of the week) Sabbath only after being captive in Babylon.

And for you skeptics out there, there is a site that offers $10,000 for anyone who can ‘prove’ otherwise. Good luck with that!

Of course, not unlike the Southern Baptists, it simply doesn’t matter whether it is true. Can you imagine the chaos if the Armstrongists went to keep the Lunar Sabbath? Any leader of a cult sect would have a large scale rebellion on his hands. How do we know this? We know this because David Hume tried to veer away from British Israelism and a good part of his ministry left him along with their followers. You just can’t tamper with success. Nothing is going to change no matter how stupid or wrong it may be: Herbert Armstrong said it, we believe it and that is that!

xHWA doesn’t have a problem with this as a New Covenant Christian, and, as a matter of a fact, the majority of the 30% of the 7 billion people on planet Earth who call themselves Christians don’t either.

But suppose.

Just suppose.

Suppose that you knew, absolutely knew, that the Lunar Sabbath was true and it was required to be kept for your salvation? Would you keep it? Would you change to do the right thing?

And if we knew the answer to that, we would know a whole lot more about your commitment to faith….