The Sabbath Day
I have decided that I would like to take the last couple of entries on this subject and just kind of let things free flow. As Forrest Gump would say, "for no particular reason". There are still several areas concerning this issue that have yet to be discussed. Not that they have not been discussed to death in myriads of books, articles, sermons and newsletters. Lately, it seems that the issue of a lunar sabbath calendar has now arisen and has become another area in which to divide ourselves over. Sometimes I sit and ponder the possibility of the subtle difference between restoring our Hebrew roots and a determined quest to discover something new, anything new, just as long as it can be traced to "me" and ends up putting any traditional teaching that smacks of Christian or Jewish doctrine at risk, with a quick death being preferred. God help me if that ever sneaks up as a motive. I would hope that I can continue to maintain a biblically balanced view of the recent onslaught of 'every thing our father's taught us was a big fat lie'.
I want to approach the subject of a lunar sabbath with an open mind. But, the truth is that none of us have a open mind. NONE OF US. I simply try and do my best. For those of you not familiar with this teaching, it is a simple principle that proposes that not only are the signs, seasons, days, months and years guided by the lights in the firmament, but the weeks are as well. It proposes that the sabbath is determined by the sighting of the new moon and patterned after that start each month. And so, the sabbath is not marked out on Saturday each month, but a different day depending on the arrival of the new moon. This issue has been dealt with quite frequently on the usual internet sites. I do not believe that there is anything I can add to either side of this issue. I have a philosophy that I try to maintain. My philosophy is that I have certain pillar beliefs concerning the scriptures overall. If any 'new' teaching violates those pillar beliefs, then I shelve it. I do not annihilate it, I simply shelve it, waiting for the possibility that one day one of my pillar beliefs may be shaken because of facts and evidence. That's right, facts and evidence. I believe that faith is based upon facts and evidence.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
You see, faith is not the thing hoped for, nor is it the thing not seen, but rather it is the 'substance' and the 'evidence'. So, right there let me say that, regardless of what tradition or doctrine exists, it is always going to be substance or evidence, i.e. truth, for me that makes the difference in what I believe. I will admit that most of what I believe, I do cling to like a dog with your sweater in it's teeth. But that dog will let go of that sweater if enough perseverance and strength is applied to the other side. Simply put, I have not heard enough from the lunar side of this issue to convince me to turn my already upside down world upside down again. I see too many biblical patterns that springboard from a consistent 6 day and then 1 day pattern. I have not been convinced that the original seventh day was actually a new moon, and it is still evident to me that this pattern, firmly established in the first century AD, was not rebuked by Y'shua or rebuffed by the first disciples of Messiah. There are good and logical arguments on both sides of this issue. However, a good argument does not a biblical doctrine make, in my mind. I can assure you that no matter what the subject, the biblical text can be tortured relentlessly enough to make it confess anything. And in many cases this is precisely what is being done. However, we must remain open to truth. Truth must prevail. This ministry has been teaching a very fundamental biblical principle for some 12 years now. It is called the 'principle of the seed'. Many of you are well aware of this pillar doctrine of WildBranch Ministry. So the idea of all festivals, sabbaths, days, weeks, months, and years being guided by natural, celestial glories placed in the heavens that man cannot manipulate is, well, quite a natural and comfortable proposal for us. Quite honestly, I require a very intense apologetic as to why the house of Judah, given the responsibility to maintain this type of thing, has for more than two thousand years now fooled us all and totally dropped the ball.
I realize that we have the internet now, and no one should have an excuse, but, believe it or not, not everyone has a computer. Even though I have no problem believing the not so remote possibility that the faithful followers of the God of Israel over the centuries could maintain the current 7th day Shabbat, I have no aversion to the current system being produced by man during the diaspora. I believe that there are some issues that could not and still cannot be properly kept outside of an homogeneous group of people following one shepherd in the land of Israel. Spying out the new moon, announcing it to the people, and then following it for the next month was a piece of cake for our fathers. Not so easy for some of their descendants scattered throughout the nether lands, the tundras of northern Canada or the dense jungles of South America. You see, I am one of those who believe that the Rabbinical calendar had a purpose, an even noble purpose at that. A way to, at least with good intentions, attempt to observe the feasts of YHVH outside of the land and an organized and recognized court of judgment concerning these matters (Bet Din). I believe that God knew well in advance that His people, yes His people, would make a mess of the whole system. I think that this is one of the reasons that we are never called the adults of God or even the adolescents of God, but rather the children of God. I do not advocate that the diaspora calendar is YHVH's way, but rather man's way of attempting to observe His way under circumstances that seemed to be solvable through man's effort. How do we observe a monthly occurrence in the land of Israel when we are not in the land of Israel? Now, please do not suggest to me that this is analogous to Christians attempting to observe God by celebrating Easter and Christmas. Declaring that there is no more Sabbath day, no more observances of YHVH's feasts, and no more dietary laws is a far cry from a group of people struggling to understand HOW to observe these things outside of the land.
Let me say something that is liable to solicit some not so pleasant feedback. I believe that our Father knew that we would pollute His sabbaths, calendar and festivals. Is this an excuse to profane them? Challilah!, God forbid! Rav Sha’ul would proclaim. Here is my bottom line on this kind of subject. I believe that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have taken centuries of time out to walk away from the ways of our God. I believe that our Creator, in His great omnipotence, has chosen not to pick us all up and firmly plop us back in Jerusalem again, but rather has chosen to slowly turn us around and head us back to Jerusalem. I believe that along the way, we have stumbled, tripped, fallen, skinned our knees, and have even turned back a few times, only to come to our senses and continue our journey. I believe that some of the issues we disagree on today will not even come to mind a few short years from now. I believe that most of those in this walk today are much more educated about the sabbath issue, the feasts, the new moon and the observance of 'aviv' than they were a year ago. I believe that many of the leaders of this walk are softer in their hard places and harder in their soft places than they were a year ago.