Yeshua (Essene Jesus) and other ancient Essenes observed a Sabbath, but this Sabbath was neither Saturday or Sunday. The Nasarene Sabbath was a lunar Sabbath observed on the seventh, fourteenth, twenty first and twenty eighth day of the lunar month. (A lunar month starts on the New Moon). This was the standard practice among the B'nai-Amen Nasarene Order and most of the other orthodox Jewish sects of the time, as we shall attempt to prove by quotes from ancient records. Lunar Sabbath observance is an ancient Semite custom con-current and ante-dating the time of Yeshua. Armed with this pertinent information, you will be able to heed the admonition of Yeshua (Essene Jesus):
"Except ye make the sabbath a real sabbath, ye shall not see the Father." "The oxyrhynchus Papyri," pt,1, p.3, Logion 2, verso 4-11 Egypt 200-250 AD
It is a mistake to assume the ancient followers of Yeshua kept the modern week consisting of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They did not. Their week was a lunar week which started over each Quarter Moon. Most scholars agree that the modern concept of the week began in the first century and was made popular by Rome, although there is not unanimous agreement on this point.
"Since the earliest evidence for the existence of the planetary week [i.e. the modern week named after the seven planets] is to be dated toward the end of the first century A.D." - W. Rordorf
We know from ancient documents and artifacts that ancient Rome, Palestine, Babylon and other semite cultures of the near east observed a lunar week in antiquity.
"& the Babylonian sabattu and the Hebrew sabbath, sprang from a common [Semite] source.& "(Interpreters Dictionary: Sabbaths).
"The Babylonian & seven-day week & this was the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th days of every month" (Hastings Encyclopedia: Sabbath: Babylonian).
The writings of the "Apostle" Paul, rejected by the Nasarenes for their preponderance of bad advice and heritical doctrine, contain direction for abandoning this ancient Nasarene method of Sabbaton (Lunar Sabbath) observance. It seems that even as early as Paul's day a fixed week calendar was being kept, in opposition to the true lunar Nasarene tradition, by gentile Romanized Christians.
"Let no man judge you for eating and drinking or in part of an holyday, or of the new Moon, or of the sabbaton (lunar week cycle)".
Almost all scholars agree that the primal seven-day calendar - as used among very ancient Semites - was based upon the Moon. Furthermore, this unique weekly cycle appears to have been observed in orientation to the lunar-phase. An example of the early week, based upon the phases of the moon, is described on the Fifth Tablet of the Semitic Story of the Creation 12-18. Note that the moon is said to "make known the days" and its horns "the seasons", creating the Sabbath on the 7th and 14th (midmonthly) days of the lunar month:
"[The moon] he caused to shine, ruling the night:
He set him then as a creature of the night, to make known the days.
Monthly unfailing, he provided him with a tiara.
At the beginning of the month then, appearing in the land,
The horns shine forth to make known the seasons.
On the seventh day the tiara perfecting,
A sa[bath] shalt thou then encounter, mid-[month]ly." - (From Hastings, on Sabbath:Babylonian).
Another ancient reference, to Sabbaths and Holy Days (Lord's Day) being associated with lunar phases, rather than the modern practice of consecutive days, is by the ancient writer Aristobulus, in Eusebius's Praep. Evang. 13:12,13:
"Homer and Hesiod let us know, what they learned out of our books, that the seventh day was a holy day. Thus, says Hesiod: There is the first day of the 'month', and the fourth, and the seventh, that holy day.
The seventh day of the lunar 'month' implies knowledge of a lunar-phase calendar! Aristobulus says again:
The seventh day is also a day illuminated by the Sun [when the crescent of the Moon is illuminated] &.. All things were made by sevens in the starry heaven; and go round in circles in all the years succeeding one another [again, implies a sequence of lunar quarters].
This fixed seven-day cycle of the Roman Empire, which began to gain prominence in the first century, was associated with the Sun, Moon, and the five visible planets. The ancients understood their order to be Moon (Monday), Mars (Tuesday), Mercury (Wednesday), Jupiter (Thursday), Venus (Friday), Saturn (Saturday), and Sun (Sunday). The method for arranging these traditional planets in such a strange and unorthodox order comes from their supposed succesive rulership over the 24 hours of the day and 168 hours of the week.:
The "planets" in their then accepted order (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon) were conceived astrologically as the respective "rulers" of the first 7 of the 24 hours of the first day and, thereafter, of each successive set of 7 hours. The first hours of seven successive days were thus ruled in turn by Saturn, the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus, after which the cycle repeated itself. Each day was named after the planet that ruled its first hour, and the seven-day planetary week was thus defined" (from Encyclopedia Britannica, 1972: Week).
Rather than change rulership every hour, the B'nai-Amen pattern is to change rulership every watch, which is a three hour period making up one eighth of the day. This results in Easter Week having its first day ruled by Levanah (Moon), the next day by Kokob, then follows Nogah (Venus), Shemesh (Sun), Madim (Mars), Tzedec (Jupiter), and then Shabathai (Saturn). The next week begins with Kokob and goes through to Levanah rulership, and so on thruout the Shawuah. The next Shawua (7 week period) begins with Kokob and follows in order thru the rulerships. This rulership preserves the correct order of the planets and does not change the first lunar week day from being a Feast-Shekinah day, nor the Seventh from being a Sabbath - Fast day.
The Palestine Region And The Early Week
Most theologians and some scholars assume that mainstream Jewish society, at the time of Yeshua (Essene Jesus), was practicing a fixed seven-day week which was the same as the modern fixed seven-day week. This is extreemly doubtful. The change, from a lunar to a fixed week, was brought about by the power and influence of Rome. As long as the Nasarenes held power in Jerusalem, all Roman practices and customs, including that of the consecutive week, were held at bay. The eventual propogation of this Roman Week in Christian circles probably did not occur until the complete ascendency of the Roman Church over the original Essene-Nasarenes culture. This momentum continually gained strength until its climax in 135 A.D. when the central Nasarene leadership, and Jerusalem Bishopric, were replaced with non-Essene leadership sympathetic to the interests and cultrue of Rome. When the Roman church finally gained enough political power to outlaw Sabbath observance altogether, she did not hesitate to do so, even among the remnants of the true Essene-Nasarenes.
Some Dead Sea Scrolls, such as 4Q325, 4Q326, 4Q327, and 4Q394, contain fixed week calendar systems which may represent an early attempted transition from the more ancient lunar phase week toward the modern fixed week made mandatory by Rome a few centuries later. Dead Sea Scroll fragments also preserve a luni-solar calendar, along with new and dark moons which are unnecessary if they only kept the purely solar calendar of 364 days.
We would not deny knowledge, and even expermentation, of alternant calendars among Nasarene Essenes also, but maintain that the official liturgical calendar of Yeshua and the B'nai-Amen was luni-solor in nature, and has been reasonably restored in the Shawui Calendar of the B'nai-Amen Temple Order.
Justin, The Martyr. This non-Nasarene writer lived, and wrote about eight decades after the Temple had been destroyed by the Romans. He described in some detail a 'set', or 'prescribed' manner of Christian worship on 'Sunday'. (Note that this is "Christian worship" not Nasarene worship, and that "Sunday" may not refer to the present day of the sun in our modern fixed week calendar.)
150.AD. JUSTIN: "And on the day called Sunday, (1) all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, (2) and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, (3) and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succors the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn; and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the 'day of the Sun', having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration." (Apology, 1, 67:1-3, 7; First Apology, 145 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , Vol. 1, pg. 186).
One commentator on this passage writes:
(Undoubtedly, Justin was referring to the Temple calendar date for the 'cycle of the Sun', or 'Sunday', which should not be confused with the modern: Sunday - which came along later).
Observance of the Sabbath cycle was a national law for the ancient Hebrews. All seven sects, including the Nasarenes and Osseaens, observed it, although not always on the same day. The Beni-Zadok Order appears to have observed the Sabbath on a fixed week irrespective of the lunar cycle, whereas the B'nai-Amen observed the Sabbath according to the lunar quarters (on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of the lunar month).
But what of gentile Christians? Did this early break off of true Nasarene Essenism also observe a Sabbath cycle? Early historical records clearly confirm that very early gentile Christians also kept the same Sabbath Calendar as the Essene Nasarenes. This practice was first changed by Sixtus in 126 A.D. and later officially changed by a royal Roman decree from the emperor Constantine. Observance of the sabbath day was made illegal and observance of a "Sunday" of a fixed week was made mandatory for all except farmers. Previous to this time the Roman Saturday was the first day of the Roman Week. The veneration of the Sun in the second century A.D. began to pressure Roman culture to change the first day of their week from Saturnday to Sunday. (Had the Jews been observing this same Roman calendar at this early date, as some maintain, then their seventh day Sabbath would have been on Friday which was the tradition seventh day of this Roman calendar during the first century A.D. )
The early church historian Sozomen wrote that most Christians:
"assemble on the Sabbath".
It must be made clear that the 'manner' of Sabbath observance among Christians was rather different than among the Nasarene and Rabbinical Jews. For example, Justin's writings confirm that gentile Christians were not keeping 'Jewish rites' in association with the seventh day Sabbath. Furthermore, Nasarene or Christian observance was not directly based upon the authority of Jewish law - or through, or because of, the rabbinic law of Moses.
The omission of rabbinical authority does not at all mean that Christians were not keeping the Sabbath cycle. The Christian writer Origen wrote concerning observance of the Sabbath. His description is in harmony with the B'nai-Amen ideal of Sabbath fasting and worship. He wrote:
"Forsaking therefore the Judaic Sabbath observance, let us see what kind of Sabbath observance is expected of the Christian. On the Sabbath day, nothing of worldly activity should be done. If therefore desisting from all worldly works and doing nothing mundane but being free for spiritual works, you come to the church, listen to divine readings and discussions and think of heavenly things, give head to the future life, keep before your eyes the coming judgment, disregard present and visible things in favor of the invisible and future, this is the observance of the Christian Sabbath."
The B'nai-Amen pattern of Sabbath observance entails a day of fasting
and introspection which begins at Vespers with a Niddah consecration and oil
lamp lighting, which is followed by a three-fold Mikveh Immersion and an all
night "Vigil". In the afternoon of the Sabbath day certain group functions are
scheduled. A general outline of a standard B'nai-Amen week follows:
B'nai-Amen Lunar Weekday Almanac
Thou Shalt Commune With The Angel Of Love On The Eve Of Water. Thou Shalt Greet The Angel Of Water On The Morning Of Water.
Thou Shalt Commune With The Angel Of Wisdom On The Eve Of A Oil Day. Thou Shalt Greet The Angel Of Air On The Morning Of Oil.
Thou Shalt Commune With The Angel Of Eternal Life On The Eve Of A Corn Day. Thou Shalt Greet The Angel Of Earth On The Morning Of Corn.
Thou Shalt Commune With The Angel Of Power On The Eve Of A Incense Day. Thou Shalt Greet The Angel Of Sun On The Morning Of Incense.
Thou Shalt Commune With The Angel Of Work On The Eve Of A Wine Day. Thou Shalt Greet The Angel Of Life On The Morning Of Wine.
Thou Shalt Commune With The Angel Of Peace On The Eve Of An Ash Day. Thou Shalt Greet The Angel Of Joy On The Morning Of Ash.
Thou Shalt Worship The Heavenly Father Above On The Eve Of A Salt
Day. Thou Shalt Greet Thy Earthly Mother And The Earthly B'nai-Amen On
The Morning Of A Salt Day.
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