Amazing Evidence from Antiquity
n His wisdom, and according to His covenant agreement, the Almighty Father Yahuah, carefully built a symbolic wall of protection around the ancient Hebrew people. The stones of this great wall were inseparable divine truths, made from His Moral Law; Statutes; Judgments; “full” New Moons; Feast days; and seventh-day Sabbaths. According to their covenant agreement, as long as they remained obedient they would also remain a sovereign and free people. If at any time Israel was to willfully break His Laws, creating a weak link in this wall, Yahuah would chasten them by allowing them to go into captivity. Once in captivity they must succumb to keeping the laws of the ruling nation, along with its calendation system, Sabbaths and set-apart feast days. In this way, and because of their rebellious disobedience with regard to keeping their covenant agreement, Yahuah caused them to forget His ways.
These divine oracles of truth Yahuah had entrusted to Israel, He would like to entrust to us today. Again, in His wisdom, they would only be safe within the walls of His covenant agreement. Israel’s story of disobedience to Yahuah is our story, and their captivity is our captivity. But Yahuah has a plan to restore all things to those who desire and diligently seek the restoration of His original divine covenant. Only to those who are willing to enter into His covenant will He open the way to discover His long lost and hidden truths.
Within the pages of antiquity is recorded “the how and why” the seventh-day Sabbath, as well as His appointed Feast days, Statutes and Judgments; all became lost and forgotten in time. It is only through our understanding of how they were lost, that they can truly be found and restored, along with Yahuah’s other inseparable divine truths.
“I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, Her New Moons, Her Sabbaths, all her appointed feasts,” says Yahuah. Hosea 2:11
Amazing Evidence from Antiquity
Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine sanctified things: they have put no difference between the sacred and the profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Ezekiel 22:26.
Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Yahuah: Malachi 4:4-5
And when the debate is, they shall stand in my (judgment) domes, and shall consider and believe my laws; and they shall keep my commandments in all my solemnities, and they shall hallow my Sabbaths. Ezekiel 44:24 Wycliffe Bible 1378.
And all the children of Israel will forget and will not find the path of years, and will forget the new moons, and seasons, and Sabbaths and they will go wrong as to all the order of the years. For I know and from hence forth will I declare it unto thee, and it is not my own devising; for the book (lies) written before me, and on the shamayim (heavenly) tablets the division of days is ordained, lest they forget the feasts of the covenant and walk according to the feasts of the Gentiles after their error and after their ignorance. For there will be those who will assuredly make observations of the moon -how (it) disturbs the seasons and comes in from year to year ten days too soon. For this reason the years will come upon them when they disturb (the order), and make an abominable (day) the day of testimony, and an unclean day a feast day, and they will confound the days, the sacred with the unclean, and the unclean day with the sacred; for they will go wrong as to the months and Sabbaths and feasts and Jubilees. Book of Jubilees 23:34-38
The present Jewish calendar was fixed in the fourth century. Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Letter by Louis Finkelstein to Dr. L. E. Froom, Feb. 20, 1939. regarding the present Jewish calendar.
“The Sabbath depending, in Israel’s nomadic period, upon the observation of the phases of the moon, it could not, accordingly be a fixed day. www.Jewishencyclopedia.com “Sabbath”
The [early] Hebrews employed lunar seven-day weeks, which ended with special observances on the seventh day, but none the less were tied to the moon’s course. Rest Days, p. 254-255 by Hutton Webster
. . . the Jewish festivals being regulated solely by the moon, may fall on any day of the [Roman] week. Oxford English Dictionary, 1971 Edition, Vol. 2, “Pentecost.” [emphasis mine]
The invention of the continuous week was therefore one of the most significant breakthroughs in human beings’ attempts to break away from being prisoners of nature [and from under God’s law] and create a social world of their own.” The Seven Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week, Eviator Zerubavel, New York: The Free Press, 1985. p.11.
“Most theologians and some scholars assume that mainstream Jewish society, at the time of Jesus…was practicing a fixed seven-day week which was the same as the modern fixed [cycling planetary designations] seven-day week. This is extremely doubtful. The change, from a lunar to a fixed week, was brought about by the power and influence of Rome. As long as the Nazarenes held power in Jerusalem, all Roman practices and customs, including that of the consecutive week, were held at bay.” Shawui Sabbath: Ancient Sabbath Observance
1st Century B.C.
In the mid-1st century B.C. Julius Csar invited Sosigenes, an Alexandrian astronomer, to advise him about the reform of the calendar, and Sosigenes decided that the only practical step was to abandon the lunar calendar altogether. Months must be arranged on a seasonal basis, and a tropical (solar) year used, as in the Egyptian calendar. “The Julian Calendar,” Encyclopedia Britannica.
These imported [from Babylon] superstitions eventually led Jewish rabbis to call Saturn Shabbti, ‘the star of the Sabbath.’ [and] it was not until the first century of our era, when the planetary week had become an established institution, that the Jewish Sabbath seems always to have corresponded to Saturn’s Day [Saturday]. Rest Days, p.244 by Hutton Webster
1st Century A.D.
How great are the things the enemy did wickedly in the Qodesh (Holy) place. They hated your majestic presence in the midst of your solemnities. They placed their signs and banners on the highest places. . . . They burned with fire your sanctuary; they befouled the tabernacle of your name on earth. The kindred of them said together in their hearts; make we all the “feast days” of Alahim (God) to cease from the earth. Psalms 74:3, 7, 8 Wycliffe Bible, 1378
2nd Century (Emperor Hadrian)
This change from the lunisolar to a fixed solar calendar occurred in Rome during the repressive measures which were enacted against ALL Jewish customs . . . during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. With the fall of the Nazarene headquarters…at Jerusalem, this new Roman calendar quickly spread throughout ‘Christendom.’ This new calendar not only replaced yearly festival dates such as Passover, but it also revamped the concept of the week and its seventh day. Iranaeus 2nd Century A.D.
The [lunar solar] calendar was used by all the original disciples of Yeshua. This original Nazarene lunar-solar calendar was supplanted by a Roman “planetary week” and calendar in 135 C.E. when the ‘Bishops of the Circumcision’ (i.e. legitimate Nazarene successors to Yeshua) were displaced from Jerusalem. This began a three hundred year controversy concerning the true calendar and the correct Sabbath. Shawui Calendar: Ancient Shawui Observance
2nd & 3rd Century (Clement of Alexandria)
“In the years following Clement of Alexandria’s time, an ominous change started to take place that was to radically change the Christian concept of the Sabbath.” Records the Encyclopedia Biblica: “This intimate connection between the week and the month was soon dissolved. It is certain that the week soon followed a development of its own, and it became the custom — without paying a ny regard to the days of the month (i.e. the lunisolar month) . . . so that the New Moon no longer coincided with the first day of the month. Then, on page 4179 of the same encyclopedia, we read: “The introduction . . .of the custom of celeb rating the Sabbath every 7th day, irrespective of the relationship of the day to the moon’s phases, led to a complete separation from the ancient view of the Sabbath. . . Encyclopedia Biblica, 1903 p. 5290.
It sh ould be noted that the oldest dated Christian inscription to employ a planetary designation [Sunday – Saturday, unbroken cycle of weeks] belongs to the year 269 A.D. Inscriptiones Christianae urbis Romae, ed. De Rossi, 1861, i, No. 1. We shall be taken for Persians [Mithraists], perhaps . . . The reason for this, I suppose, is that it is known that we pray towards the east . . . Likewise, if we devote the day of the Sun to festivity (from a far different reason from Sun worship), we are in a second place from those who devote the day of Saturn, themselves also deviating by way of a Jewish custom of which they are ignorant. Tertullian, Apologia.
4th Century (Emperor Constantine in A.D. 321-325)
The modern seven-day week came into use during the early imperial period, after the Julian calendar came into effect, apparently stimulated by immigration from the Roman East. For a while it coexisted alongside the old 8-day nundinal cycle, and fasti are known which show both cycles. It was finally given official status by Constantine in 321. Roman Calendar Encyclopedia, Days of the Week
Even after Constantine’s edict about Sunday, it took another generation or two for the seven-day week to catch on throughout the empire. The 24-hour system took longer, having to wait until the invention of the mechanical clock in the Middle Ages by monks anxious to observe with precision their canonical hours. Before this, people marked the passage of time during the night by using the stars and during the day either by eyeballing the sun or by listening to public announcements of the time. Calendar, David Ewing Duncan, p. 47, New York, Avon Books, 1998.
A Profession Of Faith From The Church Of Constantinople in the year 325 C.E.(A.D.) Under The Emperor Constantine:
I renounce all customs, rites, legalisms. unleavened breads & sacrifices of lambs of the Hebrews, and all other feasts of the Hebrews, sacrifices, prayers, aspersions, purifications, sanctifications and propitiations and fasts, and new moons, and Sabbaths, and superstitions, and hymns and chants and observances and Synagogues, and the food and drink of The Hebrews; in one word, I renounce everything Jewish, every law, rite and custom and if afterwards I shall wish to deny and return to Jewish superstition, or shall be found eating with The Jews, or feasting with them, or secretly conversing and condemning the Christian religion instead of openly confuting them and condemning their vain faith, then let the trembling of Gehazi cleave to me, as well as the legal punishments to which I acknowledge myself liable. And may I be anathema in the world to come, and may my soul be set down with Satan and the devils. Source: Parks, James The Conflict Of The Church And The Synagogue Athenaeum, New York, 1974, p. 397-398.
The present Jewish calendar was fixed [it was fixed to the unbroken-cycle-of-weeks] in the fourth century. Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Letter by Louis Finkelstein to Dr. L. E. Froom, Feb. 20, 1939. Regarding the present Jewish calendar.
Most Saturday Sabbatarians have been taught to believe that the Council of Laodicea, Canon 29 stated:
Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s Day they shall especially honor, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.
However, the above quote is in error. According to Karl J. von Hefele, a Catholic bishop, in his History of the Councils of the Church from the Original Documents, states that the word “Saturday” (dies Saturni) does not exist either in the Greek or Latin text. Rather, the word “Saturday” was supplied in the English translation in place of the word Sabbato, meaning Sabbath.
Quod non oportet Christianos Judaizere et otiare in Sabbato, sed operari in eodem die. Preferentes autem in veneratione Dominicum Diem si vacre voluerint, ut Christiani hoc faciat; quod si reperti fuerint Judaizere Anathema sint a Christo. Council of Laodicea, Canon 29
At the time the Julian calendar was being enforced upon Christians for religious purposes, no one confused the word Sabbato with dies Saturni. Simply everyone at that time knew these were names for two different days on two distinctly different calendar systems. It is only as the facts of history have been forgotten, that Saturday has been assumed to be the seventh-day Sabbath of Scripture. Therefore this historic quote from the Council of Laodicea, Canon 29, applies to lunisolar time-keeping only and not to the Gregorian calendar which keeps the rhythm of the pagan unbroken cycles of weeks. Lunisolar time-keeping was betrothed to mankind as an oracle of the government of the New Jerusalem, and was the only time-system consistently kept by the Hebrew people during their times of loving obedience.
These . . . eventually led Jewish rabbis to call Saturn Shabbti, ‘the star of the Sabbath.’ It was not until the first century of our era, when the planetary week had become an established institution, that the Jewish Sabbath seems always to have corresponded to Saturn’s Day [Saturday]. Rest Days, p.244 by Hutton Webster Early historical records clearly confirms that very early Gentile Christians also kept the same Sabbath as the Nazarenes. This practice was first changed by [Pope] Sixtus in 126 AD, 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 [cycling planetary designated] 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 AD began to pressure Roman culture to change the first day of their week from Saturn Day to Sunday. Shawui Sabbath: Ancient Sabbath Observance.
A Two Phase Process
The departure from Yahuah’s true seventh-day Sabbath took place in two phases over a period of approximately 250 years. This process began around the year A.D. 70, and received its final blow when Constantine placed the last nail in the proverbial coffin in A.D. 324.
This change from the lunisolar to a fixed solar calendar occurred in Rome during the repressive measures which were enacted against ALL Jewish customs and practices, including the lunar calendar, during the reign of Emperor Titus. With the fall of the Nazarene headquarters…at Jerusalem, this new Roman calendar quickly spread throughout ‘Christendom.’ This new calendar not only replaced yearly festival dates such as Passover, but it also revamped the concept of the week and its seventh day. Iranaeus 2nd Century A.D.
The modern seven-day week came into use during the early imperial period, after the Julian calendar came into effect, apparently stimulated by immigration from the Roman East. For a while it [the cycling seven-day week] coexisted alongside the old 8-day nundinal cycle, and fasti are known which show both cycles. It was finally given official status by Constantine in 321. Roman Calendar Encyclopedia, Days of the Week.Under the reign of Constantius the persecutions of the Jews reached such a height that . . . the computation of the [lunisolar]calendar [was] forbidden under pain of severe punishment. The Jewish Encyclopedia, “Calendar.”Sabbath and New Moon (Rosh Hodesh), both periodically recur in the course of the year. The New Moon is still, and the Sabbath originally was, dependent upon the lunar cycle. Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 410.“He shall insult the Most High, he shall torment/wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and he shall attempt to change the calendar and the ordinance” Daniel 7:25 (Twentieth Century Knox translation.)
The connection of the Sabbath with lunar phases, however, was (later) discarded by the Israelites . . .The New Schaff–Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, p. 135-136.
Confirmation of the fact that the lunar week goes all the way back to Adam and Eve is found in The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia –
It is powerfully urged by the believers in a primitive Sabbath, that we find from time immemorial the knowledge of a week of 7 days among all nations — Egyptians, Arabians, Indians — in a word, all the nations of the East, have in all ages made use of this week of 7 days, for which it is difficult to account without admitting that this knowledge was derived from the common ancestors [Adam and Eve] of the human race. Among all early nations the lunar months were the readiest large divisions of time. . . In order to connect the reckoning by weeks with the lunar month, we find that all ancient nations observed some peculiar solemnities to mark the day of the New Moon. Accordingly, in the Mosaic law the same thing was also enjoined (Numbers 10:10; 28:11, etc.), though it is worthy of remark that, while particular observances are here enjoined, the idea of celebrating the New Moon in some way is alluded to as if already familiar to them. In other parts of the Bible, we find the Sabbaths and New Moons continually spoken of in conjunction; as (Isaiah 1:13, etc.) the division of time by weeks prevailed all over the East, from the earliest periods among the Assyrians, Arabs, & Egyptians. It was found among the tribes in the interior of Africa….The Peruvians counted their months by the moon . . . without having any particular names for the week days. The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia 1904. Vol. 3, p. 1497.
Webster goes on to associate the Babylonian “shabattum” with the Hebrew “Sabbath” as found in the Old Testament:
“And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Jehovah.” This remarkable association of the Sabbath with the day of the new moon had been previously noticed by such acute critics as Wellhausen and Robertson Smith, who were unable to offer a satisfactory solution of the problem thus presented. When, however, the cuneiform records disclosed the fact that the Babylonian Shabattum fell on the fifteenth day of the month. . . it became clear that in these Biblical passages we have another survival of what must have been the primary meaning of the Hebrew term Shabbath [Sabbath]. As late, then, as the eighth century B.C., popular phraseology retained a lingering trace of the original collocation of the new-moon . . . days as festival occasions characterized by abstinence from secular activities. How long-lived were the old ideas is further illustrated by the provision in Ezekiel’s reforming legislation that the inner eastern gate of the new Temple at Jerusalem should be shut during the six working days, but should be opened on the Sabbath and on the new-moon day for the religious assemblage of the people. That the term Shabbath [Sabbath] . . . should have come to be applied to every seventh day of the month seems to be quite in accord with both Babylonian and Hebrew usage, which, as we have seen, led the month itself to be called after the new-moon day. Hutton Webster in his book.
The Hebrew seven-day week, ending with the Sabbath, did not, of course, originate in Babylonia. The Sabbath day — both Hebrew and Babylonian — originated with the creation week and was transmitted down through the flood to Babylonia where Abraham was born. “The celebration of new-moon and full-moon festivals,” remarks Hutton Webster, “which both Babylonians and Hebrews appear to have derived from a common Semitic antiquity, underwent, in fact, a radically unlike evolution among the two kindred peoples.” “To dissever the week from the lunar month,” continues Webster, “to employ it as a recognized calendrical unit, and to fix upon one day of that week for the exercises of religion were momentous innovations, which, until evidence to the contrary is found, must be attributed to the Hebrew people alone. Rest Days, p.254.
The Renewed Covenant Era (New Testament)
In the article Shawui Sabbath: Ancient Sabbath Observance we find written the following: “Most theologians and some scholars assume that mainstream Jewish society, at the time of Jesus…was practicing a fixed seven-day week which was the same as the modern fixed seven-day week. This is extremely doubtful. The change, from a lunar to a fixed week, was brought about by the power and influence of Rome. As long as the Nazarenes held power in Jerusalem, all Roman practices and customs, including that of the consecutive week, were held at bay.
This article goes on to explain:
Yeshua…observed a Sabbath, but this Sabbath was neither Saturday nor Sunday. The Nazarene Sabbath was a lunar Sabbath . . . of the lunar month. (A lunar month starts on the New Moon). This was standard practice among the Beni–Aumen Nazarene Order and most of the other orthodox Jewish sects of the time…Lunar Sabbath observance is an ancient Semitic custom concurrent and ante-dating the time of Yeshua . . . Shawui Sabbath: Ancient Sabbath Observance
Further, states the article:
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 . . . 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. Shawui Sabbath: Ancient Sabbath Observance At the time of the Messiah the observance of the weekly Sabbath was a national law for those in Judah. “All seven sects, including the Nazarenes and Osseaens, observed it. . .The Beni–Aumen [Nazarenes] observed the Sabbath according to the lunar quarters.” Shawui Sabbath: Ancient Sabbath Observance The resurrection of Christ is recorded to have taken place on the second day of the Passover, being that year the first day of the week. Seven weeks after that (and so again on the first day of the week) was the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. In commemoration of this, these two Christian festivals are always held on the first day of the week (Sunday), and so in most cases do not coincide with the Jewish festivals. Oxford English Dictionary, 1971 Edition, Vol. 2, “Pentecost.”
The Sabbath observed by Yeshua (Jesus) and His family, was on neither a Saturday nor a Sunday, and is calculated in a manner all together different than the modern custom of weekday observance. . .The method of calculating weekdays on Yeshua’s calendar is at variance with the modern fixed week system. Shawui Sabbath: Ancient Sabbath Observance
The introduction…of the custom of celebrating the Sabbath every 7th day, irrespective of the relationship of the day of the moon’s phases, led to a complete separation from the ancient view of the Sabbath… The MacMillan Company, 1899, p. 4179.
In the article Shawui Calendar: Ancient Shawui Observance, we find confirmation of this radical change in Yehovah God’s calendar:
The [lunar]…calendar was used by all the original disciples of Yeshua…This original Nazarene lunar-solar calendar was supplanted by a Roman “planetary week” and calendar in 135 C.E. — when the “Bishops of the Circumcision” (i.e. legitimate Nazarene successors to Yeshua) were displaced from Jerusalem. This began a three hundred year controversy concerning the true calendar and correct Sabbath:
This [calendar] controversy arose after the exodus of the bishops of the circumcision and has continued until our time” Epiphanius, HE4, 6, 4.
“The groundwork for this supplanting of the true calendar”, suggests the ancient historian Iranaeus “began in Rome with a Bishop Sixtus (c.a. 116-c.a.126).”
According to Iranaeus:
“Sixtus was the first to celebrate a Sunday Easter in Rome instead of the traditional Nisan 15 [full moon] date on the lunar calendar. This change from the lunisolar to a fixed solar calendar occurred in Rome during the repressive measures which were enacted against ALL Jewish customs and practices, including the lunar calendar, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. With the fall of the Nazarene headquarters…at Jerusalem, this new Roman calendar quickly spread throughout ‘Christendom.’ This new calendar not only replaced yearly festival dates such as Passover, but it also revamped the concept of the week and its seventh day.”
Hutton Webster points out that “the early Christians had at first adopted the Jewish [lunar] seven-day week with its numbered weekdays, but by the close of the third century A.D. this began to give way to the planetary week; and in the fourth and fifth centuries the pagan designations became generally accepted in the western half of Christendom. The use of the planetary names by Christians attests to the growing influence of astrological speculations introduced by converts from paganism” Rest Days: A Study in Early Law and Morality. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1916. P. 220).
It should be noted that the oldest dated Christian inscription to employ a planetary designation belongs to the year 269 A.D. Inscriptiones Christianae urbis Romae, ed. De Rossi, 1861, i, No. 1.
In the article Shawui Sabbath: Ancient Sabbath Observance, the author asks these questions —
But what of Gentile Christians? Did this early break-off of true Nazarene[s]…also observe a Sabbath cycle? Early historical records clearly confirm that very early Gentile Christians also kept the same [lunar] Sabbath Calendar as the…Nazarenes. This practice was first changed by [Pope] 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 traditional seventh day of this Roman calendar during the first century A.D.). Shawui Sabbath: Ancient Sabbath Observance
Hutton Webster adds:
The change from such [lunar] cycles to those unconnected with the lunations would not have involved so abrupt and sudden a departure from the previous system of time reckoning as that from a bipartite division of the lunar month to a week which ran continuously through the months and the years. (Rest Days).
A question of no small importance arose at that time [i.e. the time of Pope Victor I, about A.D. 190]. The dioceses of all Asia [the Eastern Mediterranean], as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should always be observed as the feast of the life-giving pasch [epi tes tou soteriou Pascha heortes], contending that the fast ought to end on that day, whatever day of the week it might happen to be. However it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world to end it at this point, as they observed the practice, which from Apostolic tradition has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast on no other day than on that of the Resurrection of our Saviour. Quartodecimanism (“fourteenism“, derived from Latin) refers to the practice of fixing the celebration of Passover for Christians on the fourteenth day of Nisan in the Old Testament’s Hebrew Calendar (for example, in Latin “quarta decima“). This was the original method of fixing the date of the Passover, which is to be a “perpetual ordinance”. A letter of St. Irenaeus shows that the diversity of practice regarding Easter had existed at least from the time of Pope Sixtus I (c. 120). Further, Irenaeus states that St. Polycarp, who like the other Eastern Christians, kept Easter on the fourteenth day of the moon . . . following therein the tradition which he claimed to have derived from St. John the Apostle. About 195, Pope Victor I excommunicated the Quartodecimans. Though this was regarded as immoderate – Origen in the “Philosophumena” (VIII, xviii) seems to regard them as a mere handful of wrong-headed nonconformists – the practice (by the Jews & Christians of keeping Passover by the lunar calendar Nissan 14) was forced underground.
Second phase Catholic Encyclopedia
Easter must be celebrated by all throughout the world on the same Sunday; that this Sunday must follow the fourteenth day of the paschal moon; that that moon was to be accounted the paschal moon whose fourteenth day followed the spring equinox; that some provision should be made, probably by the Church of Alexandria as best skilled in astronomical calculations, for determining the proper date of Easter and communicating it to the rest of the world.
Third phase Catholic Encyclopedia
The Roman missionaries coming to England in the time of St. Gregory the Great found the British Christians, the representatives of that Christianity which had been introduced into Britain during the period of the Roman occupation, still adhering to an ancient system of Easter computation which Rome itself had laid aside. The British and Irish Christians were not Quartodecimans, for they kept the Easter festival upon a Sunday. They are supposed (e.g. by Krusch) to have observed an eighty-four year cycle and not the five-hundred and thirty-two year cycle of Victorius which was adopted in Gaul, but the most recent investigator of the question (Schwartz, p. 103) declares it to be impossible to determine what system they followed and himself inclines to the opinion that they derived their rule for the determining of Easter direct from Asia Minor.
Fourth phase Catholic Encyclopedia
Easter would be defined as the first Sunday following the first astronomical full moon following the astronomical vernal equinox, as determined from the meridian of Jerusalem. The reform would have been implemented starting in 2001, since in that year the Eastern and Western dates of Easter would coincide. This reform has not yet been implemented. Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter Controversy
The Second Roman-Jewish War
Further information: Bar Kokhba Revolt In 130, Hadrian visited the ruins of Jerusalem left after the First Roman-Jewish War of 66-73. He promised to rebuild the city, but planning it as a pagan metropolis to be called Aelia Capitolina. A new pagan temple on the ruins of the Second Temple was to be dedicated to Jupiter. In addition, Hadrian abolished circumcision (brit milah), which he, as an avid Hellenist, viewed as mutilation. A Roman coin inscribed Aelia Capitolina was issued in 132. Hadrian’s policies triggered the massive Jewish uprising (132-135), led by Bar Kokhba and Akiba ben Joseph. Following the outbreak of the revolt, Hadrian called his general Sextus Julius Severus from Britain, and troops were brought from as far as the Danube. Roman losses were very heavy, and it is believed that an entire legion, the XXII Deiotariana was destroyed. Roman losses were so heavy that Hadrian’s report to the Roman Senate omitted the customary salutation “I and the legions are well”. Hadrian’s army eventually defeated the revolt however. According to Cassius Dio, during the war 580,000 Jews were killed, 50 fortified towns and 985 villages razed. After the end of the war, Hadrian continued the religious persecution of Jews, according to the Babylonian Talmud. He attempted to root out Judaism, which he saw as the cause of continuous rebellions, prohibited the Torah law, the Hebrew calendar and executed Judaic scholars. The sacred scroll was ceremoniously burned on the Temple Mount. At the former Temple sanctuary, he installed two statues, one of Jupiter, another of himself. In an attempt to erase any memory of Judea, he removed the name from the map and replaced it with Syria Palaestina, after the Philistines, the ancient enemies of the Jews. He re-established Jerusalem as the Roman pagan polis of Aelia Capitolina, and Jews were forbidden from entering it. Hadrian from Wikipedia the free Enclyclopedia.
The Council of Nicea and Attempts to Standardize Easter
In 325 A.D., the First Council of Nicaea came to a decision that Christendom as a whole should use a unified calendar system, which was the Roman one. The Catholic Epiphanius wrote in the mid-4th Century:
. . .the emperor. . .convened a council of 318 bishops…in the city of Nicea…They passed certain ecclesiastical canons at the council besides, and at the same time decreed in regard to the Passover that there must be one unanimous concord on the celebration of God’s holy and supremely excellent day. For it was variously observed by people . . .
… it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. … Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.
It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded. … Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. … avoiding all contact with that evil way. … who, after having compassed the death of the Lord, being out of their minds, are guided not by sound reason, but by an unrestrained passion, wherever their innate madness carries them. … a people so utterly depraved. … Therefore, this irregularity must be corrected, in order that we may no more have any thing in common with those parricites and the murderers of our Lord. … no single point in common with the perjury of the Jews.
The feast of the resurrection was thenceforth required to be celebrated everywhere on a Sunday, and never on the day of the Jewish Passover, but always after the fourteenth of Nisan, on the Sunday after the first vernal full moon. The leading motive for this regulation was opposition to Judaism, which had dishonored the Passover by the crucifixion of the Lord . . . At Nicaea, therefore, the Roman and Alexandrian usage with respect to Easter triumphed, and the Judaizing practice of the Quartodecimanians, who always celebrated Easter on the fourteenth of Nisan, became thenceforth a heresy. Yet that practice continued in many parts of the East, and in the time of Epiphanius, about A.D. 400, there were many, Quartodecimanians, who, as he says, were orthodox, indeed, in doctrine, but in ritual were addicted to Jewish fables, and built upon the principle: “Cursed is every one who does not keep his Passover on the fourteenth of Nisan.” They kept the day with the Communion and with fasting till three o’clock.
Yet they were divided into several parties among themselves. A peculiar offshoot of the Quartodecimanians was the rigidly ascetic Audians, who likewise held that the Passover must be kept at the very same time (not after the same manner) with the Jews, on the fourteenth of Nisan, and for their authority appealed to their edition of the Apostolic Constitutions. And even in the orthodox church these measures did not secure entire uniformity. For the council of Nicaea, probably from prudence, passed by the question of the Roman and Alexandrian computation of Easter. At least the Acts contain no reference to it. At all events this difference remained: that Rome, afterward as before, fixed the vernal equinox, the terminus a quo of the Easter full moon, on the 18th of March, while Alexandria placed it correctly on the 21st. It thus occurred that the Latin’s, the very year after the Nicene council, and again in the years 330, 333, 340, 341, 343, varied from the Alexandrians in the time of keeping Easter.
On this account the council of Sardica, as evident in the recently discovered Paschal Epistles of Athanasius, took the Easter question again in hand, and brought about, by mutual concessions, a compromise for the ensuing fifty years, but without permanent result. In 387 the difference of the Egyptian and the Roman Easter amounted to fully five weeks. Later attempts also to adjust the matter were in vain, until the monk Dionysius Exiguus, the author of our Christian calendar, succeeded in harmonizing the computation of Easter on the basis of the true Alexandrian reckoning; except that the Gallican and British Christians adhered still longer to the old custom, and thus fell into conflict with the Anglo-Saxon [one of the issues addressed at the Synod of Whitby ]. The introduction of the improved Gregorian calendar in the Western church in 1582 again produced discrepancy; the Eastern and Russian church adhered to the Julian calendar, and is consequently now about twelve days behind … [the Western Church]. According to the Gregorian calendar, which does not divide the months with astronomical exactness, it sometimes happens that the Paschal full moon is put a couple of hours too early, and the Christian Easter, as was the case in 1825, coincides with the Jewish Passover, against the express order of the council of Nicaea.” Wikipedia Enclyclopedia
An old and still common theory derives the Sabbath institution from the worship of Saturn after which planet the first day of the astrological week received its designation. The theory is untenable for more than one reason. In the first place the Hebrews did not name their weekdays after the planets, but indicated them by ordinal numbers. In the second place Saturn’s day began the planetary week, while the Jewish [Hebrew] Sabbath was regarded as the last day of the seven, a suitable position for a rest day. And in the third place neither the Hebrews nor any other Oriental people ever worshipped the planet Saturn as god and observed his day as a festival. Rest Days, p. 243, Hutton Webster These imported [from Babylon] superstitions eventually led Jewish rabbis to call Saturn “Shabbti,” ‘the star of the Sabbath.’ [and] it was not until the first century of our era, when the planetary week had become an established institution, that the Jewish Sabbath seems always to have corresponded to Saturn’s Day [Saturday]. Rest Days, p. 244, Hutton Webster Those who argue that the present Saturday of the Roman planetary week was always the 7th day of the week [Biblical week of Creation] are either ignorant of the real facts or otherwise are plain and blunt liars. All authoritative sources plainly show that originally in Rome the week consisted of EIGHT days. And as long as this was the case the week did not begin with SUNDAY but rather with SATURDAY. Yes, in ancient Rome SATURDAY was the FIRST and not the SEVENTH day of their consecutive week. Rest Days, p. , Hutton Webster Originally in Rome, SATURDAY – the DAY of SATURN – began the Roman astrological week: ‘…the worship of SATURN, after which planet the first day of the astrological week [Saturday] received its designation…SATURN’S DAY [SATURDAY] BEGAN THE PLANETARY WEEK, while the Jewish Sabbath was regarded as the LAST DAY [of a lunar week].’ Rest Days, p. 264, Hutton Webster