Defective and full Months The Pharisees established rules that limited not only the number of months which could be defective (i.e., only 29 days long) or full (i.e., consisting of a full 30 days) but even limited which months were eligible.
The Mishnah states:
There are never less than four “full” months in the year, nor do more than eight (full) months require to be taken into account.31
In turn, they point out that there were never more than eight or less than four defective months. Meanwhile, a 12 lunar-month year has no less than 352 days and no more than 355 days, while a 13 lunar-month year has no less than 383 days and no more than 385 days.32
These reckonings were further encumbered by other restrictions which ignored the reality of the new moon phases. For example, the last month of the year, Adar—the month which precedes Nisan, the first month of the next year—is always defective,33 as was, except in special cases, the sixth month, Elul.34 The first and seventh months, on the other hand, i.e., Nisan and Tishri, were “never intercalated,” that is, they were always full.35Continue reading “Sanctification of New Moons – Pt. 2”→
The Hillelic Pharisees differed from their religious counterparts in that they followed the Babylonian custom of demanding that there must be witnesses who could testify to a Calendar Court confirming the sighting of the moon’s crescent on the very first day of the new moon. They also required official sanctification of the new moon by their Calendar Court.
Our attention will now shift to examining the rules for sanctification and dissemination for the Hillelic New Moon Day. As we shall see, many of these regulations prove to be arbitrary and counter to scriptural intent.
The Hillelic Pharisees considered it “a religious duty to sanctify (the new moon) on the strength of actual observation.”1 This duty was required, “even though the observation is not necessary for the purpose.”2
Yahweh’s work is to be done on the Sabbath, which includes his work by the Assembly on that day.
This day also encompasses celebrating the Sabbath as a שבתון (sabbathon; special Sabbath), prostrating before (worshipping) Yahweh, teaching and study, and priestly duties.
As we have previously stated, the Sabbath day is a day to be remembered and kept sacred, as Yahweh intended. (Gen. 2:2-3)
Yahweh commands us:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it sacred. (Exod. 20:8)
It is to be celebrated as a sabbathon, or special kind of Sabbath. Celebration of the Sabbath, accordingly, is itself a work of Yahweh.
The Hebrew word שבתון (sabbathon), on the one hand, derives from the term שבת (Sabbath), i.e., to “cease” from some action or work. Yet it means “a time of rest,” “a sabbatism or special holiday,” or more properly, “a special time of ceasing.”
The Sabbath was made for ἄνθρωπον (anthropon; mankind), not mankind for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)
This statement means that the Sabbath Days of Yahweh were meant to assist mankind.
Therefore, Sabbaths are meant to bring mankind closer to Yahweh and eternal life. It is a time for mankind to refresh himself and rest from his work of creating a livelihood and from doing his own concerns.
The Sabbaths are a time for one to turn toward creating his or her perfected innermost self and establishing their relationship with Yahweh.
Accordingly, on that day, the discussion, work, labor, and activity required must deal with Yahweh and the work he desires that we accomplish.
This study shall provide an in-depth examination of what is proper and improper for the observance of the Sabbath day.
Indeed, it is one thing to conclude that Yahweh established the seventh day of the week as a Sabbath. Still, it is quite another to know what keeping the Sabbath actually entails.
Work Not to be Done According to the instructions from Scriptures, there are several things that one must not do on the Sabbath Day (whether the weekly Sabbath or a High Sabbath).
Primary to the instructions regarding the Sabbath Day is that you are not to do “מלאכת (malakath; work, employment),” or “מעשה (maseh; activity, product creation),” or any “עבד (abad; servile labor).” (Exod. 20:8-11, 23:12; Deut. 5:12-15)
Employees working for you and even livestock so employed must also cease doing such work on the Sabbath. (Exod. 20:8-11, 23:12; Deut. 5:12-15)