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Monday, 9 April 2007

More musings on the Lunar Sabbath

I've thought of another couple of implications of the Lunar Week Theory. The first relates to the Long Weekend, and the second to the Lord of the Sabbath.

First of all, I wrote earlier that the Old Testament Festivals seemed designed to coincide with the Lunar Sabbaths, which fall on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 28th days of the lunar month. An exception is the Feast of Trumpets, which always falls on the first day of the seventh month--which, as you may recall, is the day of the New Moon celebration (approximately every other month, it's the second of two days). Thus in addition to the six 2-day New Moon celebrations, the Israelites also got an annual 2-day weekend: the Feast of Unleavened Bread ends with two back-to-back Sabbaths (which makes food preparation a bit of a challenge, unless one eats matzo for eight days instead of just seven).

Given the fact that Jesus celebrated Passover a day before the Jewish leaders did, one implication under the Lunar Sabbath system is that he was also a day early celebrating the Sabbath. Could this account for why he ran into so much trouble with the Jewish authorities for healing on the Sabbath? Actually, since most of these confrontations took place in Galilee, we can't blame a Galilean calendar for Jesus being a day early; we know that it was the Sabbath in Galilee when he did the healing because it was usually in conjunction with Sabbath day services at the synagogue. So we must look elsewhere for an explanation of Jesus' celebrating the Passover a day early. The Lunar Calendar doesn't account for it.

John Chrysostom speaks directly to the problem of lunisolar incongruence in his day, in Against the Judaizers Homily 3:V ( 386 CE):

(5) But why speak of ourselves since we have been set free from all such necessity? We are citizens of a city above in heaven, where there are no months, no sun, no moon, no circle of seasons. If you wish to give exact attention to the matter, you will see that, even among the Jews, little account was made of the season of the Pasch, but they cared greatly about the place for it, namely, Jerusalem. Some men came up to Moses and said to him: "We are unclean through touching the dead body of a man. How shall we avoid failing ill the Lord's offering?" He said to them: "Wait here and let me report it to God." Then, after he reported it, he brought back the law which says: "If any man be unclean through touching a dead body, or be afar on a journey and be unable to keep the Pasch in the first month, he shall keep it in the second."
(6) And so is not the observance of the time annulled among the Jews so that the Pasch may be observed in Jerusalem? Will you not show greater concern for the harmony of the Church than for the season? So that you may seem to be observing the proper days, will you outrage the common Mother of us all and will you cut asunder the Holy Synod? How could you deserve pardon when you choose to commit sins so enormous for no good reason ?
(7) But why must I speak of the Jews? No matter how eagerly and earnestly we wish it, it is not altogether possible for us to observe that day on which He was crucified. This will make it clear. Let us suppose the Jews had not sinned, that they were not hard of heart, nor senseless, nor indifferent, nor despisers; suppose they had not fallen from their ancestral way of life but were still carefully observing it. Even if this was the case, we could not, by following in their footsteps, put our finger on the very day on which He was crucified and fulfilled the Pasch. Let me tell how this is the case. When He was crucified it was the first day of the feast of unleavened bread and the day of preparation.
(8) But it is not possible for both of these to fall always on the same day. This year the first day of the feast of unleavened bread falls on Sunday, and the [Lenten] fast must still last for a whole week; According to this, after Passiontide, after the cross and resurrection have come and gone, we are still fasting. And it has often happened that, after the cross and resurrection, our [Lenten] fast is still being observed because the week is not yet over. This is why no observance of the exact time is possible.

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