Biblical Feasts, Festivals, and Holidays

Feasts and Festivals are similar to what we call holidays.  There are four categories of such holidays: Old Covenant Feasts and Festivals; New Covenant Feasts and Festivals; Jewish Holidays not specifically in the Bible such as Hanukkah, and Christian Holidays not specifically in the Bible.   There are a number of American Holidays that are not intended to be Christian based.  This document considers those secondarily, if at all. Note that the New Testament records some Old Covenant feasts and festivals that Jesus and the apostles participated in both before and after Jesus crucifixion/resurrection.

It is clear that Jesus and his disciples before his crucifixion observed the biblical feasts established under Moses as well as the feast established during the period between the Old Testament end and the New Testament beginning.  It is also clear that the biological Jews (and most likely proselytes) disciples continued to observe these feasts after Jesus resurrection in spirit if not in letter.  It is not clear if this continued observance was a matter of tradition due to familiarity and understanding at the time or commandment. It is not clear if Gentiles (non-biological Jews) were commanded to keep these feasts even if Jews were commanded to keep them.  Scriptures that speak to biological Jews keeping the feasts include Passover (Luke 23:54-56); Pentecost (Acts 2:1; 18:21; 20:16); Day of Atonement (Acts 27:9?) For the weekly sabbaths we have (Acts 13:42-44; 15:21).  Scriptures that indicate some measure of freedom from keeping the weekly sabbaths and annual feast are Col 2:16-17 and Gal 3:1-3; 4:8-10.

Hannukah was not commanded by God but Jews in the New Testament and even Jesus seems to have observed it (John 10:22). At least, there is no record of them condemning such observances not involving evil behavior and neither should anyone alive today. Similarly, observing Juneteenth in celebration of my people delivery by God from slavery in America is just as important as observing Passover in celebration of Israelites delivery by God from slavery in Egypt. Anyone that claims differently disrespects my people struggle for justice.  I therefore reject illogical claims that any feast not commanded by God is evil.

The scripture says:  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (2 Cor 3:6).

For example, we cannot do animal sacrifices so the offerings to the Lord commanded in Numbers 28:16-25 cannot be followed in letter (as written) but one can offer to the Lord in other ways and people do it in different ways and therefore carry out the commandment concerning the Passover.

Being a Christian Baptist, my background does not include observing the Leviticus 23 feasts. But as I have spiritually grown beyond being strictly “Baptist”.   I do consider observing the feasts in spirit to be a good thing and possibly still commanded by God. Yet, to attempt to observe them in letter is impossible for a host of reasons especially when one considers animal sacrifices aspects of the feasts and controversies concerning calendars which makes the exact date of the feasts uncertain.

Exodus 12:17 speaks of Passover as being a perpetual ordinance. Col 2:14 speaks of ordinances being nailed to the cross.  Col 2:14 does not say every ordinance is nailed to the cross nor does Exodus 12:17 say that every aspect of the Passover ordinance is perpetual.  Clearly, the participation of the Levitical Priests in the Passover has ended (not perpetual).  Scriptures speak of the office of the Priest as being perpetually belonging to Levites (Exodus 29:9). But we know that Jesus was of the tribe of Judah and is now the  High Priest (Heb 3:1).  Moreover, all believers are priests yes, all believers are priests (1 Peter 2:9).

So then for me, the moral function of the feasts is good to keep even though the form of them is different under Christ than under Moses.  For me this is the meaning of Col 2:16 and Gal 4:10.  Note that this observation concerning feasts does not automatically transfer to other things mentioned in Col 2:16 and Gal 4:10.  For example, when considering dietary laws, Peter’s  vision as recorded in Acts 10 must be considered.

Leviticus 23  provides a summary of each of the Old Testament feasts/festivals in the bible.  This includes identifying the weekly sabbath as a feast or appointed time (Leviticus 23:2-3). It is instructive that in Gen 1:14 God speaks of creating lights to be for signs and seasons and days and years.  The word sign in Gen 1:14 has the sense of a memorial or monument. The word translated season there is the Hebrew word moed (Strong’s H4150). It is the same Hebrew word translated feasts in Leviticus 23, all having the sense of appointed time.   This includes Psalm 104:19 where it says: (Ps 104:19)  He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. Psalm 136:7-9 speaks of the rulership of the sun, moon, and stars.

Exodus 23:14-17 specifies that three of these feasts are to be kept by all males. These are Passover, Feast of First Fruits, and Feast of Tabernacles.  Three times a year they are to appear specifically and intentionally before the Lord at the place the Lord chose/chooses (Deuteronomy 31:10-11) as an act of sacrificial worship. It is not clear as to  where they specifically met initially but it was probably at the door of the tabernacle.  Eventually they met in Jerusalem at the Temple.  Supporting scriptures include Exodus 34:23; Deuteronomy 12:5, Deuteronomy 16:16, Deuteronomy 31:11; Psalm 84:7; and Luke 2:42. Leviticus 23 feasts are:

  • Weekly Sabbaths (Leviticus 23:3) – Holy Convocation (Worship Assembly) and Rest
  • Passover & Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:5-8; Matthew 26:2; 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 2:41-42; Luke 22:1-13, 14-20; Acts 12:3; 20:6) –  Liberty from Slavery in Egypt
  • Feast of First Fruits (Leviticus 23:9-14; 1 Cor 15:20) – Recognition of God as Provider
  • Feast of Weeks/Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15- 22; Acts 20:16; 1 Cor 16:8) – Recognition of God Giving the Torah & Remembering the Poor
  • Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:23-25; Matthew 24:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Rev 11:15) – A “memorial of the blowing of trumpets”.
  • Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:26-32) –  Confession and Forgiveness of Sin
  • Feast of Tabernacles/Booths (Leviticus 23:33-43; John 7:2; perhaps Acts 18:20-21) – Recognition of God Providing Shelter When Freeing Israel from Slavery in Egypt
  • Feast of Dedication/Maccabees or Hanukkah or Festival of Lights (John 10:22) – Recognition of Some Success in Rebellion Against Occupation

The  laws of God define commandments, statutes, and judgements (Deu 5:31; Neh 10:29).  These laws may be divided into three general categories:  moral laws, civil/judicial laws, and ceremonial laws.  The feasts collectively involve moral laws and ceremonial laws. So then all of these Old Testament initiated feasts have to do with general worship, rest, remembering God’s delivering the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, remembering God’s provisions, and recognition/confession of and atonement for sins; these involve moral laws and ceremonial laws.  For example, public worship is a moral law; the way worship is done is ceremonial. Under the Old Testament the way worship  is done is laid out in great detail. Under the New Testament some of those ceremonial details do not apply such as animal sacrifice but the moral principles of public worship yet do apply.  Of course, personal worship is also a moral principle but the focus here is on public worship as feasts are a community/public undertaking.

Feasts occur in various Hebrew Months. Hebrew months names and approximate correspondence to Gregorian Calendar months are below. Exact correspondence depends on the year. Names are given below:

Nisan (March-April) – Nisan also considered synonymous to Abib (Exodus 12:1-2; Exodus 13:4)
Iyyar (April-May)
Sivan (May-June)
Tammuz (June-July)
Av (July-August)
Elul (August-September)
Tishrei (September-October)
Heshvan (October-November)
Kislev (November-December)
Tevet (December-January)
Shevat (January-February)
Adar (February-March)

These feasts occur according to the following schedule. These are  given using Hebrew names for the Hebrew month and parenthetically the Hebrew name for the feast.

  • Weekly Sabbath (each week)
  • Passover (Pesach) – Nisan 14
  • Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag Hamotzi) – Nisan 15-22
  • Feast of First Fruits (Bikkurim or Yom HaBikkurim) – Nisan 16 – overlaps Feast of Unleavened Bread
  • Feast of Weeks/Pentecost (Shavuot) – Sivan 6
  • Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah or Yom Teru’ah) – Tishri 1 – Only Feast Required to Occur On a New Moon Day
  • Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) – Tishri 10
  • Feast of Tabernacles/Booths (Sukkot) – Tishri 15-22

During the time of Moses and Joshua, the timing of the weekly sabbath was clear for they had in place the command and control structure to communicate that timing. The entire nation was governed as a theocracy under that command and control structure which made things easier to coordinate.  However, in modern times that universal timing is not so clear and there are different formulas used by individuals and groups. This is discussed in detail in a later section specifically on Weekly Sabbaths.

The animal sacrificial system under the Old Testament was extensive even to the point of their been a daily continual sacrifice, one in the morning and one in the evening (Numbers 28:1-8).  However, individuals were not permitted to sacrifice at their residence but the sacrifice must be taken to the Levitical Priest (Leviticus 17:3-5). They were permitted to slay or kill the animal (Leviticus 1:4-5); but, it is the priest who completes the sacrificial offering.

As shall be shown later, all of these feasts require animal sacrifice involving the priest at the tabernacle and later at the Temple.  This includes the weekly sabbath (Leviticus 23:37-38; Numbers 28:9-10; Ezekiel 46:4-5;  Matthew 12:3-5). Note that animal sacrifice was required on the weekly sabbaths (as in every sabbath of Numbers 28:9-10)  in addition to or besides the continual burnt offering. And since the weekly sabbath required sacrifice before the Levitical priest, keeping the Sabbath under the Law of Moses was a community act not simply a personal act.  This principle transfers to the New Covenant as represented by Acts 2:42-47 and Hebrews 10:25.

Since Jesus sacrifice renders animal sacrifice no longer valid and since the Levitical Priesthood is no longer in effect and since the Temple has been destroyed, it follows that the feasts cannot be followed as instructed in the Old Testament.  They cannot be kept in letter. Yet it is good to keep them  in spirit regarding the moral principles characteristic of the feasts.

For example, with respect to the day of Pentecost, for the apostles and others the required holy convocation (Lev 23:21) did not take place in the synagogue as one would expect.  Rather it took place in a house (Acts 2:2). Most if not all of the apostles had already received the Holy Ghost (John 20:22), but now the Holy Ghost empowers all of the 120 in the house in the upper room with the gift of speaking in tongues. This was certainly a different celebration of Pentecost, one done in spirit but not in letter.  Indeed, this representative of keeping the feast of Pentecost in spirit rather than in letter was the first one for the 120 in which the focus was on Jesus as the sacrificial lamb that takes away the sins of the world rather than on animal sacrifice.

There was a time when Church Bells ringing on Sunday mornings in a sense called the community to worship. That gave us a Feast of the Trumpets (Lev 23) in spirit though not in letter every Sunday as the bells sounded out. Now the bells are largely silent as the community has become more secularized, perhaps due to the silence of Christians.  This does not mean that the annual Feast should not be honored at the appointed annual time for it is still good to do in spirit though not possible to do in letter (as written).

Not only that Exodus 12:17 speaks of the Passover Feast as being an ordinance. Yet, Col 2:14 speaks of the ordinances being nailed to the cross.  Therefore, it follows that such feasts are not commanded under the New Covenant.

So again, it is good to keep the feasts in spirit though not  possible in letter (2 Cor 3:5-6). This means that various individuals and congregations may keep the feasts differently if kept at all.  These differences may range from simply mentioning the feasts during worship and reading the scriptures and explaining their application to modern times to actually eating food and having other festival like activities.  Under the Old Covenant, those who did not properly participate in for example Passover were prescribed to be cut off from Israel for Exodus 12:15, 18 says that SOUL shall be cut off from Israel. It does not say explicitly whether God or humans would cut that SOUL off. In any case, under the New Covenant, humans are not to force or punish persons for not participating in public worship elements; it is up to the individual to show commitment to godly moral laws and principles for we all will one day individually and personally be judged by God. Example focus for each feast follows:

  • Weekly Sabbath – Worship and Rest
  • Passover – Jesus as the lamb of God and Christian Passover (John 1:29; 1 Cor 5:7)
  • Feast of Unleavened Bread – Recognition, Confession, and Repentance from Sin
  • Feast of First Fruits – Jesus resurrection
  • Feast of Weeks/Pentecost – Gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • Feast of Trumpets – Anticipation, Purpose, and Certainty of Jesus Return
  • Day of Atonement -Recognition, Confession, and Repentance from Sin and Jesus as the Solution to Sin
  • Feast of Tabernacles/Booths – God as Provider

Deuteronomy 16 also records information on various feasts/festivals.  These Old Covenant feasts/festivals were prescribed under the Mosaic Law to be kept by the Israelites under the Old Covenant except for the Feast of Dedication.  The Feast of Dedication began during the inter-testament period; that is, during the 400 years between the Old and New Testament periods.  This feast celebrates the Maccabean revolt against oppressive invaders who had profaned the Jerusalem temple.  The Maccabees were a group of Jews who overcame them and rededicated the temple back to God.  John 10:22-23 speaks of Jesus going into the Temple during the Feast of Dedication.  The scripture does not say Jesus went their to celebrate the Feast of Dedication but it also does not say he said anything negative about the Feast.  The bible’s mentioning of it certainly suggests it was a legitimate feast although it was not prescribed in the Old Testament and was not instituted by Jesus or his apostles as is the case of the Lord’s Supper or Communion.  This fact suggests that if a celebration/holiday is not forbidden by commandment then the celebration/holiday is righteous; this applies to Christmas, Easter, Parent’s Day, Birthdays, and similar honoring events.

The Old Testament feasts are divided into Spring Feasts and Fall Feasts. The first three/four (Passover/Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost are the Spring Feasts and they require pilgrimage to Jerusalem, God’s last appointed place. The last three are the fall feasts (Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacle/Booths). Note that in Lev 23:47 it says all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths regarding the Feast of Tabernacle/Booths. Yet, in the prophecy of Zechariah 14:16-21it says heathens (non-Israelites) from all nations shall come to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles and those who do not cut up shall be cursed. Thus, Zechariah prophecy establishes that the feasts are for non-Israelites to keep as members of the body of Christ worshipping the Lord our God in spirit and truth even now. That is, the Feast of Tabernacle is a foreshadow of worship under Christ (Hebrews 8:5; Col 2:17; Hebrews 10:1). So then some say that the reference to feast of tabernacles in Zechariah 14:16-21 is metaphorical whereas others say it is literal. Indeed, the reference to Egypt in Zechariah 14:17 is clearly metaphorical as is the reference to Canaanite in Zechariah 14:2; both of these in the context refer to those who are not part of God’s family just as the nation of Egypt and nation of Canaan was not part of God’s family.  However, it is not so clearly a metaphor in the case of the phrase feast of tabernacles.  Therefore, whether metaphor or literal, commanded or not commanded under Christ it is good to keep the feast of tabernacle in spirit though not entirely in letter.

All of the above Old Testament feasts require some form of animal sacrifice for burnt/sin offering as indicated below:

  • Weekly Sabbath – animal sacrifice (Leviticus 23:37-38; Numbers 28:9-10)
  • Passover – animal sacrifice (Leviticus 23:8; Num 28:19, 22)
  • Feast of First Fruits – animal sacrifice (Leviticus 23:12)
  • Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)- animal sacrifice (Lev 23:18-19)
  • Feast of Trumpets – animal sacrifice (Lev 23:25; Numbers 29:1-2,5)
  • Day of Atonement – animal sacrifice (Lev 23:27; Lev 16:3, 15-16, 29)
  • Feast of Tabernacles/Booths – animal sacrifice (Lev 23:36; Num 29:13 16)

For the Christian, Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice once and for all; therefore, there is no need for animal sacrifice (Heb 7:27; 9:12).

It is good to remember God’s provision for us and the poor in an annual celebration or feasts even though nobody today does them in the way they are described in scripture. Adaptation to modern times is right to do.

Yet for the Christian, whether Jew or Gentile, these are good to do but not part of God’s standard under Christ (Colossians 2:13-16; Eph 2:15). This applies to both Jew and Gentile given that the phrase “uncircumcision of the flesh” in Col 2:13 refers to the non-Jews and the phrase “against us” in Col 2:14 refers to the Jew like Paul.

This does not mean that God has no commandments or ordinances as part of his standard for indeed there are many under the law of Christ (John 14:15; Acts 16:4; Eph 6:2) that we are to seek and strive to obey, confessing and repenting when we fall short being thankful that keeping them perfectly is not a requirement for salvation unto Heaven.

Christians are not required to keep any of the Old Covenant feasts and festivals in letter; the spirit of them may be kept by Christians (Rom 2:29; 7:6; 2 Cor 3:6).

Acts 20:16 indicates that Paul participated in the Feast of Pentecost even as after Jesus crucifixion and resurrection; however, he was a Jew and there is no indication he was required to do so as a Christian.  This is similar to circumcision as some times he supported circumcision and sometimes he did not require it.

New Covenant feasts specifically demonstrated and sufficiently named in the New Testament include the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 5:7-8;  1 Cor 11:23-29) and Easter (Acts 12:1-4) . The word translated Easter is the same word translated Passover as in the  Jewish Passover.   It is translated Easter here to distinguish the Christ Passover per 1 Cor 5:7-8.

Christian holidays that are not specifically demonstrated and named in the New Testament include Christmas.

There is a common sense biblical principle that permits such holidays. This principle consists of the following elements:

  • If the Lord specifically commands us to do something then we ought to do it.
  • If the Lord specifically commands us not to do something then we ought not to do it.
  • If the Lord does not command us to do or not to do something we may do it or not do it so long as there is no biblical principle that prohibits doing it.  Examples are going to college to study biology or singing in a worship service a cappella vs. using a musical instrument.

It is the third case that is of interest as the first two are rather straightforward.

The Lord does not specifically command a person to go to college for a science degree nor does the Lord specifically command a person to not do so.  Moreover, there is no biblical principle that prohibits studying science. So then that person may choose to do so or not to so. It is simply based on that person’s God-given preference.

Now let’s say in going to college to obtain a science degree, the person is asked to practice performing an abortion using a real human being whose physical life is not in imminent danger due to the pregnancy.  This is a change to the curriculum as the student had no idea of this before entering the field of study.

Since, there is a biblical principle that prohibits abortion except in the very rare case where the mother’s physical life is in clear imminent danger, that person would be out of order to participate in such an event.  But the problem is not in obtaining a science degree but in participating in one aspect of obtaining the degree.

So now the student must decide to disobey God and participate or refuse to participate in the activity.  So what if the student can negotiate an alternative activity due to religious conscience?  The study can then continue the field of study; otherwise the student will have to do find another field of study.

Let us consider the question of Christmas.  Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ held in America on December 25th of each year.  No one knows when Christ was born so this date is symbolic.  The word Christmas is not listed in the scriptures.  However, Matthew 2:1-11 regarding the wise men and Luke 2:6-20 regarding the manger and the shepherds provide biblical foundations for celebrating Christ birth.

There is some controversy as to why it is held on December 25th.  Some say it was done so in alignment with a pagan festival and therefor is a pagan holiday; again, this is controversial as it is not known to be true beyond a shadow of doubt.

Why it is held on December 25th is not important since no one knows the specific date of Christ birth.  Even if it was held in alignment with a pagan festival to Christianize the festival, that also is not very important.  The fact that non-Christians hold celebrations at the same time whether they call it Christmas or Yuletide or something else also is not very important.  The fact that some people (Christian and non-Christian) engage in unholy activities such as getting drunk as a part of their holiday also is not very important.

What is important is that it is now intended by Christians to be a Christian holiday to celebrate by way of remembrance the birth of Christ.  It is important that Christians not let what others do cause Christians to bow down to the point not recognizing Christ birth in a special way.  Christians must not give Satan not power always being mindful that he will want more.  Indeed, just because others celebrate Christmas in an unholy way does not mean I cannot celebrate it in a holy manner.

Just like the student I don’t have to participate in the unholy activities; but, I can still celebrate Christmas in my own way.  Furthermore, just because some other folks have something else going on at the same time does not invalidate what I do.

Indeed, Christmas is similar to the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah in that neither is prescribed by Moses or Jesus. But Jesus may have participated in the feast (John 10:22). Both are prescribed by human religious authorities but neither violate any biblical principles. Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Lights  as houses and synagogues are sometimes illuminated during its celebration. The use of Christmas Lights parallels this use of lights.

Weekly Sabbath Discussion

The principle of the Weekly Sabbath is certainly applicable (Col 2:16; 2 Cor 3:6) as everyone needs at least one day off and at least one day to focus on worshipping God in a special way.

I find it interesting that the Sabbath did not exist in Genesis and the first 15 chapters of Exodus. It only came to be in Exodus 16.

We find the word Sabbath first mentioned in Exodus 16:23.  In Exodus 16 the children of Israel murmurred against God and Moses and the leaders for they were unhappy about how they were being fed.  It was on the 15th day of the second month that this occurred.  God then for the next 6 days (days 16-21) of the second month told them to go our each day and gather the manna he provided to them.  But on the seventh day they were to rest (day 22).  This means going backwards 7 days from day 22 the first official sabbath, days 15 and days  8 must have been a seventh day although not yet called a sabbath.  But what about day 1.  Well day 1 of each month is the New Moon Day not a sabbath day.  This forms the basis for the New Moon Sabbath Keepers as discussed later.

So that means the seventh day has not always been the Sabbath.

Leviticus 23:32 shows that the Sabbath is not always the seventh day.

Note the bible does not say seventh calendar day nor does it say seventh day of the week. It just says seventh day.

Also note that the word Saturday comes from the Roman god of Saturn so it is not derived from the word Sabbath so one cannot conclude that based on the name it is the seventh day.

Let us consider the countries of America and Great Britain (England).

In both countries for July 2023, the 1st date of the month is a Saturday on the calendar.

In America the calendar starts on a Sunday which makes the day labeled Saturday to be the 7th calendar day.

For the church of England, the calendar starts on a Monday which makes the day labeled Sunday to be the 7th calendar day. This is because England subscribes to the International Standards Organization (ISO) specification that says the calendar week starts on Monday not Sunday; this was set in 1988. America does not subscribe to it.

In both America and England, Sunday is the regular worship day. However, for America it is the 1st day of the calendar week and for England it is the seventh day of the calendar week.

So for example concerning England, July 16, 2023 is labeled the seventh day on the calendar which is Sunday.

But in America July 16, 2023 is labeled the 1st day on the calendar week which is also labeled Sunday.

So now the date and the date label is the same for both though on the calendar one is the first day of the week and on the other it is the seventh day.

It’s the same date whether one calls it the first day of the calendar week or the 7th day of the calendar week.

But for the Hebrews/Jews the evening of the 14th to the evening of the 15th is the Sabbath not the 16th. But it is so only because they use the American calendar not the British (ISO) calendar. For if they used the British (ISO) calendar the seventh day would be the evening of the 15th to the evening of the 16th.

So that means Hebrews/Jews in effect have their own calendar in starting the day at evening instead of midnight or morning though it approximates the Gregorian calendar used by America and Britain.

So it is all about how you diagram the calendar and what diagram a person/nation/community/group subscribes to.

One should note that there are others who say the seventh day is not based on a standing calendar week but on the New Moon.

All agree that the feasts of Leviticus 23 other than the Sabbath is based on the New Moon not the calendar week nomenclature.

New Moon Sabbath Keepers say the Weekly Sabbath is based on the New Moon just as the other feasts are based on the New Moon.

According to them, Weekly Sabbaths are always on the 8, 15, 22, and 29 of the month regardless of what standing calendar day of the week those dates fall on.

They refer to scriptures such as Ezekiel 46 where the following verses say:

(Eze 46:1)  Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.
(Eze 46:2)  And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening.
(Eze 46:3)  Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the LORD in the sabbaths and in the new moons.

Notice we have time divided into three units of time: (1) Six working days, (2) Sabbaths, and (3) New Moon.

The sequence is New Moon (Day 1 of the Month), Six working days (Days 2-7) of the month, Sabbath Day (Day 8 of the month). Day 8 is the seventh day after six working days Exodus 20:9) such that the New Moon Day is not a working day as the gates are open on that day for worship not closed for work.

Supporting scriptures for this New Moon Sabbath Keeping view include Psalm 81:3; Ezekiel 45:17; Isaiah 66:22-23; and Amos 8:5; Numbers 10:3; 28:11; 2 Kings 4:23;

Also 1 Samuel 20:27-29 seems to speak of a two day New Moon Feast. A Jewish month consists of 29 or 30 days.  It is said that when the preceding month has 30 days then there is a two day New Moon feast before the start of the second day of the month.  This effectively means the 30th day and day 1 is combined into one long festival.  This 30th day seems to  often actually a partial day period such as a 1/2 day rather than a whole 24 hour period..

All of this is based on the Weekly Sabbath being a feast just like the other feasts listed in Leviticus 23 and that is why the Weekly Sabbath is listed in Leviticus 23.

So then for July 2023 the New Moon occurs on that date corresponding to Monday July 17th on the Gregorian Calendar used by America and Britain and the 16th-17th for the Hebrew/Jew calendar.

This would mean that Weekly Sabbaths occur on Mondays in July 2023 not Saturday or Sunday.

The New Moon does not always occur in equal number of time units each month. For August 2023 the New Moon occurs on Wednesday the 16th, for September Thursday the 14th and for October Saturday the 14h, for November Monday the 13th, for December Tuesday the 12th.

This mean the Sabbaths would be on the corresponding calendar week days varying according to the month. This is markedly different than saying the Sabbath is on a Saturday each month.

Certainly in modern times such a varying Sabbath Day would be difficult to coordinate. But in Moses and Joshua time and even in New Testament time such a formula would not have been difficult as everyone was self employed and the nation was rules by those who adhered to the Sabbath keeping so he command and control structure was in place so everyone knew when the month began and therefore when the sabbaths were.

There are those who say the New Moon Sabbath formula does not work when it comes to counting the seven (7) sabbaths and 50 days formula God established for calculating the day of Pentecost of Feast of Weeks. We find this in Leviticus 23:11, 15-16.  Essentially this formula says 7 complete sabbaths shall be counted beginning with the day after Nisan 15, the first day of Unleavened Bread which is First Fruits Day and ending with the day after the 7th Sabbath, that is Nisan 16 to Sivan 6.

If the month of Nisan had only 28 days and if Iyyar (the month immediately prior to Sivan) had 28 days

Each month has 29 or 29 /12 days, depending on the month and year.  In our scenario we use the year where the concerned months have 29 days.

So then we have:
Nisan:  14 days (since count started on day 16);  Iyyar: 29 days

Subtotal: 14 + 29 = 43

Sivan: Leading to and including the seventh sabbath completed:

7 days to last sabbath if New Moon Day and first day of week is the same

8 days to last sabbath if New Moon Day and first day of week differs

Day Past 7 Completed Sabbaths: 1

So then we have:

Subtotal 2: 43+7 + 1 = 51 or 43+ 8 + 1 = 52

In neither scenario of counting individual days can you arrive at 50 being one day past the last completed sabbath.

So then when we observe that the scripture does not say count each individual day in the intervening period/months but rather it says count 7 sabbaths.  Further realizing that a weekly sabbath has the sense of the  seventh day then we have 7 x 7 = 49  + 1 each 50.  This works for both the New Moon Weekly Sabbath formula as well as the formula that does not base Weekly Sabbath on the New Moon.  Yet counting each individual days works for neither.  Clearly, counting individual days is not what God intended. So then any issue raised by those opposing the New Moon Weekly Sabbath formula is easily resolved.

For an example of a New Moon Calendar layout that I prepared click here.

One concern with the New Moon Sabbath Doctrine is who puts out the dates and times of the New Moon each month?  I think most folks at least in America look to the Federal Government’s NASA.  But can NASA be trusted to have it right?  Is each individual expert enough to observe it for him or herself?  When does one look for it?  It is said it only shows for a brief moment at a time.  So who is going to spend all day on a particular day or period looking for it?  I believe in Moses time and New Testament time, there were experts who spend all day at least during the expected showing looking for the New Moon. It is unreasonable to expect each individual in our society to do that so he/she knows for sure, assuming they are expert enough to know for sure.

The generally accepted Sunday thru Saturday or Monday thru Sunday Doctrine for the Days of the Week is also not certain enough.  This is because no one can prove that Sunday aligns with the first day of creation and Saturday with the second day of creation or even either with the first calendar day of the week defined when the word Sabbath is first used in Exodus 16.

Given the uncertainty of whether a particular date of today aligns with the first seventh day of Gen 2:1 or even with the seventh day as understood during the time of Moses it is reasonable to conclude that it is up to each community to determine when they keep the principles of weekly holy convocation and rest (Leviticus 23:3) whether based on a calendar like the one used in America or in England or the Hebrew/Jew Calendar or based on the New Moon (Col 2:16).


Finally I close with emphasizing the power and value of Colossians 2:16-17 which exhorts us not to judge one another on sabbaths and other things.  It says:

16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Romans 14:1-23 also speak to judging anther concerning days, etc.


JCal: Jewish Calendar 2024

The Jewish Holidays   PDF Extract

Biblical, Rabbinic, and Modern Holidays

Is Easter a Mistranslation?

Easter is Not a Mistranslation

Easter or Passover in Acts 12:4

Did God Require Animal Sacrifice on Weekly Sabbaths

The Lunar Sabbath Encyclopedia

The Lunar Sabbath Debunked: Your Complete Guide

Weekly Sabbaths Determined By New Moon

Lunar Sabbath Calendar ( – miscalculates Pentecost for 2023; incorrectly separates 7 sabbaths and 50 days I think

Sabbath Dates | Hebrew Israelite Research Center

Calendar | Hebrew Israelite Research Center

Calendar 2024 – Yahu Ranger Report

When Does A Scriptural Day Start? – The Scriptural Calendar

Sign of Jonah

What the Bible says about Forever and Ever (

When Do Church Bells Ring? A Complete Guide – Color and Grace

Is Abib And Nissan The Same? – GearShifters

The Month of April: The Jewish Or Creator’s Calendar | Torah Believers (

Rosh Chodesh Nisan – Jewish Holidays (

Mathematical Bias and the Biblical Calendar – BIBLICAL WEEKS (

passover – Are the feast of unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:11) and the feast of first fruits (Leviticus 23:14) mutually exclusive? – Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange

How To Prepare For The Feast of Tabernacles 2023 [Make Sukkot 2023 The Best Year Yet] – Twenty Six Eight Church (

Feast of Tabernacles 2023 | September 29, 2023 – October 07, 2023 (

Feast of Tabernacles Jerusalem March 2023 | Jerusalem Dateline – October 6, 2023 – YouTube

I AM ISRAEL – The Feast of Trumpets and its Christian Significance – I Am Israel (

Christianity Judaism

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