New Moon 1/12/30/120

Dear Friends,

The Christian Churches of God has had a clear and distinct policy on conduct on the Sabbath, which includes the question of what is permissible for members of CCG to do on the Sabbath and New Moons and Holy Days.

No person is to engage in employing other persons or in employment or work for remuneration on the Sabbath, on a New Moon or Holy Day. No person is permitted to go to a restaurant or purchase food or other products on a Sabbath or New Moon or Holy Day. All items are to be paid for prior to the Sabbath and prepared on the preparation day.

It has come to our attention that a debate is occurring among the Armstrongite offshoots that seeks to appeal to the conduct of the WCG under Herbert Armstrong to justify breach of the Sabbath.

The test of what is correct is in Isaiah 8:20: To the Law and to the testimony: If they speak not according to this it is because there is no light in them.

The ministry of Herbert Armstrong broke the Laws of God pertaining to the Sabbath, on a repeated basis. They taught against God’s Law in this matter, and they continue to break God’s Laws and encourage others to break God’s Laws.

The Bible is quite clear on the matter of purchasing food on the Sabbath and using others as one’s servants on the Sabbath.

The argument is advanced that because Armstrong broke God’s Laws it is OK to continue to break God’s Laws, as he was an Apostle of God and head of the Church of God in the WCG.

The rank of Apostle of God rests in the Church and its administration. Herbert Armstrong was dignified by that title as the WCG allowed him to take it to himself. By their silence, they condoned it and some openly advocated it. In the same way, the spirit of prophecy rests in the Church and the test of whether God condones the use of the prophet is that if what he says comes to pass he may be a prophet, but only when he speaks according to the Law of God in the worship of the One True God. Herbert Armstrong was not a prophet of God and what he said not only did not come to pass but, also, the fact of the matter is that nothing he ever prophesied came to pass. The man is a proven false prophet (see the paper False Prophecy (No. 269)). He has been dead for 21 years and it is about time the idolatry surrounding him is put to rest along with the false ministers that use his memory to advance their own shabby self-interest. It is even claimed by some groups that he was Elijah sent by God. Fortunately, most of his own ministry laugh at that proposition (see the paper Elijah? (No. 233)).

He neither stopped the rain during his ministry, nor called lightning down from Heaven, nor inflicted pestilence and plagues, nor turned the hearts of the fathers to the son and the sons to the fathers, even in his own family.

The Bible is quite specific in relation to false prophecy and false prophets and also their leading people astray after false gods.

You are to fear the prophets of God or you will pay for it by order of God. However, you are to have no fear of a false prophet.

God gave specific orders concerning this aspect. God also punished the false prophets in various ways.

Deuteronomy 18:18-22
[18] I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. [19] And whoever will not give heed to my words which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. [20] But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.' [21] And if you say in your heart, `How may we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' -- [22] when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him.

If he what he says is true but entices you after other gods he is to be killed. You certainly do not follow him.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5
[1] "If a prophet arises among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, [2] and the sign or wonder which he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, `Let us go after other gods,' which you have not known, `and let us serve them,' [3] you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. [4] You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him, and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and cleave to him. [5] But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from the midst of you.

Armstrong also introduced Ditheism to the Church of God, which up until his ministry had never taught that heresy. And this is eternal life that you know the Only True God and Jesus Christ whom He sent (Jn. 17:3).

Until Armstrong, the Churches of God had been Unitarian and the International body of the Seventh-Day Baptists, which is the founding body of the Sardis era of the Church (and to which era Armstrong belonged), still is Unitarian. All American-based Churches of God of that era, including the US Seventh-Day Baptists down through the Church of God (Seventh-Day) and RCG/WCG to the Living Church of God, which is the defining element of the end of the Sardis era (Rev. 3:1), are either Binitarian or Ditheist or Trinitarian. Thus they fall under the prohibition of Deuteronomy 13:1-5.

The polemics of these churches against one another is rather sad in its misapplication and ignorance of the theology and history of the Churches of God.

The Fourth Commandment.

We will turn to the subject of the Fourth Commandment and the legion of Scripture and historical record that defines the Sabbath as part of the Fourth Commandment, and how it was kept in the Temple period and, also, by the Churches of God from that time.

On the Fourth Commandment hang all the Law and the prophets concerning God’s Calendar (see the papers Law and the Fourth Commandment (No. 256) and God’s Calendar (No. 156)).

From a recent Sabbath message, we saw that at the time of Christ and over the Temple period the Fourth Commandment was understood to have ten elements to it. Philo stated in his exposition of the Special Laws concerning the Fourth Commandment that there were ten elements or festivals under the Fourth Commandment.

XI. (41) Now there are ten festivals in number, as the law sets them down.
The first is that which any one will perhaps be astonished to hear called a festival. This festival is every day. [The Daily Sacrifices]
The second festival is the seventh day, which the Hebrews in their native language call the sabbath.
The third is that which comes after the conjunction, which happens on the day of the new moon in each month.
The fourth is that of the passover which is called the passover.
The fifth is the first fruits of the corn--the sacred sheaf. [Note the Wave Sheaf is one of the Ten festivals of the Temple period]
The sixth is the feast of unleavened bread, after which that festival is celebrated, which is really
The seventh day of seventh days.
The eighth is the festival of the sacred moon, or the feast of trumpets.
The ninth is the fast. [Atonement]
The tenth is the feast of tabernacles, which is the last of all the annual festivals, ending so as to make the perfect number of ten. We must now begin with the first festival.
[Note Philo here combines the Last Great Day with the Feast of Tabernacles making Ten instead of Eleven]

We notice here that in the introduction in dealing with the third Feast, namely the New Moon, Philo uses the term which has been rendered after the conjunction and some others have rendered as following in the sense of “according to” or “as determined by” the conjunction. However, he qualifies this matter by saying which happens on the day of the New Moon in each month. The text is thus quite clear that the New Moon is the day on which the conjunction occurs. In the later explanations Philo then goes on to state that the month is from one conjunction to the next as determined in the astronomical schools, as was quoted above (cf. God’s Calendar (No. 156). From God’s Calendar (No. 156) we see the following determinations regarding the day and its start and finish and its application to the Sabbath and New Moon and Holy Days. The commencement of the day is being deliberately misrepresented by the ex-WCG offshoots, as it was under Armstrong. The day begins and ends at EENT.

“The Day

It is noted also that the evening and the morning constitute the day. The evening precedes the morning or day. The day is thus determined from dark the previous evening to dark or the End of Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT) of that day.

Leviticus 23:32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. (KJV)

This view, that the day began at evening after the sun had set, was continuously observed even among the Jews at the time of the Mishnah. It was the normal method of determining the day for most nations and was the practice among the English-speaking people until around the beginning of the nineteenth century (see below).


(Besah 2:1) On a festival which coincided with the eve of the Sabbath [Friday] a person should not do cooking to begin with on the festival day. [Friday] But he prepares food for the festival day, and if he leaves something over, he has it left over for use on the Sabbath. And he prepares a cooked dish on the eve of the festival day [Thursday] and relies on it (to prepare food on Friday) for the Sabbath as well.
(2-2) If a festival day coincided with the day after the Sabbath [Sunday] the house of Shammai say, “They immerse everything before the Sabbath”. And the house of Hillel say, “Utensils are to be immersed before the Sabbath. But man may immerse on the Sabbath itself.”

(Shabbat 15:3) They fold up clothing even four or five times. And they spread beds on the night of the Sabbath for use on the Sabbath, but not on the Sabbath for use after the Sabbath. D. R. Ishmael says, “They fold clothes and lay out beds on the Day of Atonement for the Sabbath”.

This text shows Atonement also fell on a Friday when the Mishnah was compiled.

(Sukkah 5:7) Three times a year all the priestly watches shared equally in the offerings of the feasts and in the division of the Show Bread. At Pentecost they would say to him, “Here you have unleavened bread, here is leavened bread for you”. The priestly watch whose time of service is scheduled for that week is the one which offers the daily whole offerings, the offerings brought by reason of vows and freewill offerings, and the other public offerings. And it offers everything. On a festival day which comes next to a Sabbath, whether before or after it, all of the priestly watches were equal in the division of the Show Bread.

Therefore, back-to-back Sabbaths were normal.

The narrative of the shipwreck of Paul shows that the day began at evening, and night was followed by the day in the twenty-four hour sequence. We also see from this text that the day did not begin at midnight in the first century either.

Acts 27:27-33 But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; 28 And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. 29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day. 30 And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. 32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off. 33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. (KJV)

The change to a midnight start for the day was a later invention of the Roman Church and had nothing to do with the earlier period. It appears that with the exception of the Italians, all the nations all had the same or similar practice for the start of the day.

The writings of the text of the Bible from the time of Moses show that the day was understood to begin at evening and, as we have seen, Atonement was kept from sunset to sunset (Lev. 23:32), being when the sun has set and it is dark or EENT. Jews presently keep from sunset to dark when they end the fast. Thus there are approximately 25 hours in that day.
This practice was kept intact, as we see with the restoration under Nehemiah, whereby the Sabbath was protected by the closing of the gates of the city from evening to evening.

Nehemiah 13:19 And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. (KJV)

This text shows that it began to be dark before the Sabbath. The verb used is tsalal (SHD 6752) and is:

…connected with tsel, ‘shadow’ and signifies ‘when the gates began to have shadows on them’ or ‘to cast long shadows’ (cf. Soncino n. to v. 19)

This explanation offered in the Soncino is important to the traditions in placing the time forward to sunset. It is understood as being at ‘approaching dark’ (cf. SHD 6751 and 6752).

The long shadows are in the late afternoon at dusk, just before dark. We might conclude from this text that the Sabbath actually began when it was dark. Thus the day begins at what we term Evening Nautical Twilight, when it becomes dark. A rabbinical distinction was that the day began when it became impossible to distinguish the colour of red or blue thread. This failure of light is at the End of Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT). The three twilights are: 1) Civil Twilight, which ends when the sun is six degrees from the horizon and which is used for streetlights; 2) End Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT) when the sun is at twelve degrees below the horizon; and 3) End Astronomical Twilight when the sun is at eighteen degrees below the horizon. At EENT it is dark. At BENT (Begin Evening Nautical Twilight) it is beginning to be dark at the horizon.

All nations, including ancient Israel and the tribes of Judah, began the day at night and followed night with the day, counting by the nights. This was so with the Germans and the Teutons generally. The following quote from John Brady (Clavis Calendaria I-II, London, 1812, p. 98) says:

Different nations have varied, and even still disagree, in the periods of commencing their diurnal computation. The Turks and Mahometans reckon from evening twilight; while the Italians, not only begin their first hour at sunset, but count out the twenty four hours without any remission, and not twice 12, as is practiced in this country and in Europe in general, some part of Germany excepted, where they also count by the twenty four hours which they call “Italian hours.” .... though as the ecclesiastical day throughout Italy begins at midnight, and the rites of the Roman church are in all cases regulated by that custom, it is more particularly remarkable, that the civil day should be permitted to differ in its period of commencement, and thus to stand at variance with the usage not only of almost all the rest of Europe, but of their own ancestors; especially as by the variation of sun-setting, which governs the civil day,.....”

Thus the Armstrongite practice was a remnant of Middle-East paganism, which influenced the Turks and Muslims and Jews. They began and ended the Sabbath at the wrong time.

Eating on Sabbaths and Holy Days in WCG.
People were ordered by ministers of WCG to attend dinners at restaurants on the Holy Days and Sabbaths and they did not even bother to keep the New Moons. Never in CCG has any church organised a function at restaurants on the Sabbath. The practice of eating at restaurants in the WCG eventually extended to large sections of the churches leaving after services and going to pubs, that is public ale houses, on Sabbath. This was not isolated to one church or event. This was general practice over a number of church areas.

Gathering on the Sabbath.

Exodus 16:1-36
[1] They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. [2] And the whole congregation of the people of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, [3] and said to them, "Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." [4] Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law or not. [5] On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily." [6] So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, "At evening you shall know that it was the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, [7] and in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your murmurings against the LORD. For what are we, that you murmur against us?" [8] And Moses said, "When the LORD gives you in the evening flesh to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the LORD has heard your murmurings which you murmur against him -- what are we? Your murmurings are not against us but against the LORD." [9] And Moses said to Aaron, "Say to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, `Come near before the LORD, for he has heard your murmurings.'" [10] And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. [11] And the LORD said to Moses, [12] "I have heard the murmurings of the people of Israel; say to them, `At twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'" [13] In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning dew lay round about the camp. [14] And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as hoarfrost on the ground. [15] When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "It is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. [16] This is what the LORD has commanded: `Gather of it, every man of you, as much as he can eat; you shall take an omer apiece, according to the number of the persons whom each of you has in his tent.'" [17] And the people of Israel did so; they gathered, some more, some less. [18] But when they measured it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; each gathered according to what he could eat. [19] And Moses said to them, "Let no man leave any of it till the morning." [20] But they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them. [21] Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted. [22] On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers apiece; and when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, [23] he said to them, "This is what the LORD has commanded: `Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy sabbath to the LORD; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay by to be kept till the morning.'" [24] So they laid it by till the morning, as Moses bade them; and it did not become foul, and there were no worms in it. [25] Moses said, "Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. [26] Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is a sabbath, there will be none." [27] On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, and they found none. [28] And the LORD said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? [29] See! The LORD has given you the sabbath, therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days; remain every man of you in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day." [30] So the people rested on the seventh day. [31] Now the house of Israel called its name manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. [32] And Moses said, "This is what the LORD has commanded: `Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.'" [33] And Moses said to Aaron, "Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the LORD, to be kept throughout your generations." [34] As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the testimony, to be kept. [35] And the people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land; they ate the manna, till they came to the border of the land of Canaan. [36] (An omer is the tenth part of an ephah.)

No food is to be gathered in the field (Ex. 16:26, 29). No food is to be prepared, including baking and seething, on the Sabbath (Ex. 16:23). The restrictions and correct implementation of the Sabbath both in preparation and eating is detailed in the paper The Juma'ah: Preparing for the Sabbath (No. 285).

The specific injunctions against Trade on the Sabbaths and New Moons.

The Bible is clear that there is to be no gathering or trading on the Sabbaths and New Moons or on the Holy Days.

No Restoration can be complete unless it restores the Sabbaths and New Moons and Holy Days and stops trade on those days.

Nehemiah 10:28-31
[28] The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of God, their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding, [29] join with their brethren, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God's law which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord and his ordinances and his statutes. [30] We will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons; [31] and if the peoples of the land bring in wares or any grain on the sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the sabbath or on a holy day; and we will forego the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.

Christ kept the Sabbath. It was, however, permitted under the Law for a person to take a small portion for sustenance from the field, which is what Christ did on the Sabbath, when they were travelling. He was censured for it but what he did was correct according to law for the Manna which had ceased some fourteen centuries previously.

... the Jewish people did keep the New Moons as did the Church. The general populace was however spasmodic and looked to trade as they also did with the Sabbaths and the Feasts as we know.
“When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale. (Amos 8:5)”

Israel did not trade on New Moons and Sabbaths and was even castigated by Amos for wanting the days to be over so that they could trade.

The responsibility for eating and cooking on the Sabbath lay with the householders and the priesthood. The Prince was required to provide meats for cooking on the Sabbaths, New Moons and Holy Days for grilling or roasting. There were eating-houses in the Temple period but nothing was permitted to be open, and the sacrifices were conducted in the Temple and in the villages and towns of Israel and Judea. The meat was cooked and the meat provided to the populace. That was the Prince’s responsibility.

Ezekiel 45:17
And it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings and drink offerings, in the Feasts and in the New Moons and in the Sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, the meat offering and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.

Thus, the cooking of the meat offering was to be overseen by the Prince as part of his administration, and cooked meat was to be served to the entire house of Israel on Feasts, New Moons and Sabbaths. The priests were responsible for the offerings.

The assertion that meat was not cooked on a Sabbath is a blatant non-biblical lie. Only seething and baking was prohibited, as it required extensive preparation and all people were to be given rest.

There exists on the part of the ministry a charge to ensure that those in need are fed on the Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts. It is not to be done by trading or purchase, and it must be done from the revenue provided for that purpose. As the Prince does not provide it now, the Church is responsible and it cannot carry out that responsibility under the Laws of God by using a restaurant. It is effectively trading. As householders do not provide the Terumah levy to the Prince or Church, they provide the food themselves.

Summary of Legislation on the Sabbath.

1. No work for anyone: You are not to work on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:8; Deut. 5:13-14), nor are you to compel your servants to labour, nor strangers in your towns, nor your animals, nor your family (Ex. 20:10; Deut. 5:14-15).

2. Proper Preparation: Your preparation must be done before the Sabbath (Ex. 16:23-25), including gathering (Ex. 16:22-23), but you may cook meals that are grills and roasts, as provided for under the ordinances (e.g. Ezek. 45:17; see the paper The Juma’ah: Preparing for the Sabbath (No. 285)).

The gathering together for assembly on the Sabbath, New Moons and Feasts in the service of God are commanded assemblies and are required by Law, and qualify the text of Exodus 16:29, which related to the wilderness in the absence of the Temple and Tabernacle and Church Congregations.

3. Keep the Sabbath Day Holy: You are not to engage in your own business, engage in pointless chatter or thinking; or do your own pleasure on the Sabbath. You are to keep it holy in the worship of God (Neh. 10:31; 13:15-21; Isa. 58:13).

The Introduction of the Babylonian system to the Churches of God.

“Abib is determined from the New Moon nearest to the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, which begins the summer season. The autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere begins the winter season. These are the two seasons mentioned by the Bible (Gen. 8:22; Ps. 74:17). The calculation is well understood:

The observation of the autumnal equinox, i.e., ‘the going out of the year’ (see Ex. 23:16), and of the spring or vernal equinox, called ‘the return of the year’ (1 Ki. 20:26; 2 Ch. 36:10 AV), was important for controlling the calendar and consequently the festivals. Thus the year began with the new moon nearest the vernal equinox when the sun was in Aries (Jos., Ant. 3.201 [better to see Ant. (Antiquities of the Jews) III.x.5]), and the Passover on the fourteenth day of Nisan coincided with the first full moon (Ex. 12:2-6). (The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, J D Douglas & N Hillyer, editors, IVP, 1980; art. ‘Calendar’, Vol. 1, p. 223).”

The Hillel calendar was derived from the Babylonian calendar in 344 and declared in 358 CE under Hillel. It first appeared in the Church of God after the Transylvanian Church lapsed into Judaising in the eighteenth century.

The intercalations of the Babylonian calendar are preserved in the Hillel calendar and were determined at Babylon before 580 BCE. That is why the Armstrong offshoots intercalate in the 2007/8 Sacred Year when there is no biblical requirement whatsoever to do so and, in fact, the Hillel calendar kept by the Armstrongite offshoots is wrong for at least six years of the cycle, being kept in the wrong months and in every year on the wrong days. Herbert Armstrong achieved what no Roman Catholic or Protestant Inquisitor had been able to achieve. He made the Church of God keep the Passover and the Feasts and Holy Days on the wrong days for most of the time and placed the Church in total error, from which many have not recovered.

Those who argue for the Sabbath but start it early and end it early are not keeping the Sabbath correctly. Moreover, the offshoots do not keep the New Moons and intercalate on the wrong years following the Jews and Babylonians, and hold their traditions as well. Virtually none of them follow the Laws of God correctly, even on the Sabbaths. They teach the doctrines of men, passing them off as the Laws of God.

Wade Cox
Coordinator General