Does this verse have ANYTHING to do with the question of when the Sabbath should be observed east of Jerusalem? The correct answer is YES, it does -- but not to the extent that some are saying. Some are reading into this verse their own human ideas and reasoning to make it say what it does not say.
First, let's ask how does this verse apply to the question of when should the the Sabbath be observed east of Jerusalem? Herbert W. Armstrong explains in the booklet entitled, ''Has Time Been Lost,'' that ''Jerusalem is God's Headquarters for the earth. That is where Jesus kept the Sabbath, and we know HE had it right!''
If we all lived in Jerusalem then we would simply keep the Sabbath at the time people in Jerusalem keep the Sabbath. But, some people live to the east of Jerusalem and some to the west. Some believe and teach that the earth rotates from the east to the west, then the law and the word should travel in a counterclockwise manner around the globe (from east to west). ... is Sabbath time synonymous with the expression the law and the word ???
Some folk believe or teach that the verse in Isaiah 2:3(b) that says, ''... for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem'' is saying that the Sabbaths east of Jerusalem cannot occur before the Sabbath occurs in Jerusalem. Such a belief or teaching is based on the adding of a preconceived idea that the verse is not saying.
Those who teach this say that because the earth rotates from the east to the west, then those people who live east of Jerusalem, should observe the Sabbath a day later on Sunday, so that the Sabbath they are keeping come after the Sabbath day kept in Jerusalem. Others say that the international date line should be moved to some point east of Jerusalem.
Without going into all the details about either approach -- except to say that to make one of those ideas work out for all people in every place around the world -- for example for people in such places as Australia -- God would have to shift the rotation of the earth backwards and cause the earth to spin from the west to the east. But again, rather than going into all that -- there are all kind of writings one can net search for if you desire to read up more in detail on those kind of details, but -- here on this page, let's focus on Scripture that shows God's mind on this related to the status quo (to the way things are right now today) on this subject.
God has given us a calendar in the sky for all to see. He uses the sun and moon to establish days and years and signs and the seasons of His appointed feasts observances (Genesis 1:14). And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
A critical component to His calendar is the new moon, which starts each Biblical month. God commanded special offerings on each new moon, and one special new moon is even a Feast day called the Feast of Trumpets
Which new moons are we subject to today? Some say only one annually today -- because that one is necessary for calculating God's Sacred Calendar with all of God's feast days for a given year.
Why would we not observe every new moon today when God's Word says that we will be observing the new moons of each month during the Millennium (Numbers 10:10; 28:11-15; 1Chronicles 23:31; 2Chronicles 2:4; 8:13; 31:3; Ezra 3:5; Ezekiel 46:1, 3, 6; Colossians 2:16)? The simple answer is that new moons are under the administration of the Levitical or Melchisedec priesthood and we are now presently in between those priesthoods until Christ's return. The Levitical priesthood began with Aaron (Exodus 28:1-3) and was never intended to be permanent (Hebrews 7:11).
the civil government under which we live is not God's government and for the present while Christ (of the the Melchizedek priesthood) is away, there is neither a Levitical or Melchizedk priesthood here on the earth. The new moons are for a time of an earthly priesthood being present. We are able to calculate the new moon for the seventh month (Ethanim (or Babylonian Tishri)) to determine each Hebrew year today and we observe that new moon today because it occurs on the day of the Feast of Trumpets. We need the priesthood here that establishes the civil government under God to observe the new moons -- but see the next paragraph* if you insist that we must keep the new moons NOW. (A new moon is NOT the same thing as a full moon -- au contraire.)
*NOTE: For who insist that you must observe the new moon each month, then you may want to consider this. The new moons are a time to bring an offering to God. You may want to ask God in prayer with fasting about where, to what minister or ministers have His approval today and to whom He would lead you in particular to submit such offerings. Those who insist on observing the new moons every month today before Christ returns should read and see the connection that God makes with respect to the new moons and offerings (2 Chron. 2:4, 2 Chron. 8:13, 2 Chron. 31:3, Ezra 3:5, Nehemiah 10:33, and Ezekiel 45:17).
The main purpose of this writing is show how the New Moon of the Seventh Month relates to the Calculating of the Hebrew Calendar and Feasts.
The new moon of the seventh month (Ethanim [Babylonian Tishri]) on God's Sacred Calendar is calculated. It is the only new moon that is designated as holy time. It is essential to determine because all of the other holy days in the year are counted or figured from it (both backwards and forwards).
This is not only properly done by reason of oracle instruction but there is a practical, astrononimal reason for it also. The time from the vernal (spring) equinox to the following autumnal (fall season) equinox is longer (by about a week) than the time from the autumnal equinox to the following vernal equinox.
What it seems that God is doing with the postponements is a special consideration for us as humans for whom God made the Sabbaths for our edification and refreshing and so that we could better focus on worshipping Him as the Creator. The postponements eliminate or reduce double-Sabbath situations as can be understood as you study the postponements presented here in summary form. There are four postponement rules -- two are primary for determining which day should be proclaimed as the first day of the Seventh month (Ethanim -- aka in the Babylonian tongue as Tishri). The two lesser or secondary rules ensure that a year does not have too many or too few days.
The first rule we should look at states that if the calculated conjunction, the molad of the seventh month (Ethanim), occurs after noon on a given day, the first day of the month is “postponed” until the following day. This rule results from the way time is measured on a round earth, and the length of time the moon takes to move out of conjunction and beyond the arc of the sun. After all, the term for “new moon” in scripture refers to the “repairing” of the moon. While a calculated calendar does not require that the visible crescent be sighted, it should at least be theoretically possible to sight that crescent. And it takes six hours past the conjunction before the moon has moved far enough beyond the sun’s arc to begin reflecting light once again—the “repairing” of the moon. Whether or not a reflection is actually seen is purely incidental, as the calendar is based upon the calculated averages. Clearly though, this postponement rule is not merely based upon a Pharisaic tradition, rather, it is mandated by Scripture and by astronomy.
The other main rule is that if the calculated molad of the Seventh month (Ethanim) occurs on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday, the first day of the month (which will be the Feast of Trumpets) is considered to begin on the following day, i.e., Monday, Thursday or Saturday. What is the scriptural basis for this? In Leviticus 23, where God first gave Moses a detailed list of His festivals, He explained that these days’ levels of sanctity fell into two categories. For six of these days— the first and seventh Day of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, the first day of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day —Moses was to instruct Israel that “no servile work” be done. However, the weekly Sabbath and the Day of Atonement were different. On these two days, “no work whatsoever” was to be done. Clearly God placed these two days in a slightly different category than the others. Additionally, in describing Trumpets, the first day of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day, the term shabbaton, translated “Sabbath,” was used. For the weekly Sabbath and the Day of Atonement a different descriptive term—shabbat shabbaton—was used, translated “a Sabbath of rest.” Recognizing that God set the weekly Sabbath and the Day of Atonement apart in their level of sanctity, the Levitical priesthood sought to implement these instructions in proclaiming the festivals. They realized that the Day of Atonement, a shabbat shabbaton upon which “no work whatsoever” was to be done, should not be the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath (which would occur if the first of the Seventh month (Ethanim) came on a Wednesday). Additionally, they avoided the weekly Sabbath being the preparation day for Atonement, which would happen if the first day of the Seventh month (Ethanim 1) fell on a Friday.
This practice also avoided the weekly Sabbath, shabbat shabbaton, being the preparation day for the other three fall holy days which were only shabbaton, (this would occur if the frist day of the Seventh month (Ethanim 1) came on a Sunday). Note that according to Exodus 12:16, the first and seventh days of Unleavened Bread in the spring were in a different category; God had specifically approved the preparation of food on these days. And Pentecost, of course, always fell on Sunday as a result of God-ordained calculation.
Two other rules concerning postponements are really just logical extensions derived from the first two, regulating the number of days in a year so that the first of each month stays connected with the new moon.
The calendar adjustments regarding the first day of the Seventh month (Ethanim 1) are based upon instructions God gave to the Levitical priesthood through Moses in Leviticus 23. Some point out that God with the weekly Sabbath and the annual Feast of Atonement -- that states expressly that ''no work'' shall be done on those days. Yet, with respect to the Days of Unleaved Bread, God states an exception for the first and last days thereof saying in Exodus 12:16 that ''... no manner of work shall be done in them, save [EXCEPT] [that] which every man must eat, that only may be done of you (alternative word in all caps added).''