Let’s talk Sabbath. Here is some history for you. I hope you like History like I do? Otherwise, why are you coming back to my blog so much (Thank You for doing that!). 😉
Some people are concerned that the Roman Calendar changed the Sabbath day from it’s real observance to the a different day of the week. It is an odd conversation.
Some teach that through various calendar changes and other factors, the true seventh day of the week cannot be accurately identified. But this is simply not true. Here are four evidences that help us identify the true Sabbath today.
Here are some facts you may not know:
Every culture in the world pre-flood and post celebrated the Sabbath on the same day. They sited the New Moons in order to delineate the start of the Years and Months. Thus they always knew when the Sabbath was, based on the start of the year.
A great many non-western cultures still follow the moon siting technique and celebrate a weekly Sabbath day, most of them still on every 7th day.
After Noah’s Flood, the year extended from 360 days to 365 days. Every culture in the world finally adjusted their calendars to the new yearly day cycle using a form of reconciliation, either adding an additional day, days or a month periodically. Thus keeping their calendars in sync.
ALL of the world’s cultures prior to about 300BC used the same Zodiac as well. However, that is another story, that does show all of humanity descended from a single culture and people group.
Here is some more:
Several Christian denominations observe Sabbath in a similar manner to Judaism, though with observance ending at Saturday sunset instead of Saturday nightfall. Early church historians Sozomen and Socrates cite the seventh day as the Christian day of worship except for the Christians in Rome and Alexandria. Many Sabbatarian Judeo-Christian groups were attested during the Middle Ages; the Szekler Sabbatarians were founded in 1588 from among the Unitarian Church of Transylvania and maintained a presence until the group converted to Judaism in the 1870s. Seventh Day Baptists have observed Sabbath on Saturday since the mid-17th century (either from sundown or from midnight), and influenced the (now more numerous) Seventh-day Adventists in America to begin the practice in the mid-19th century. They believe that keeping seventh-day Sabbath is a moral responsibility equal to that of any of the other Ten Commandments, based on the example of Jesus. They also use “Lord’s Day” to mean the seventh day, based on Scriptures in which God calls the day “my Sabbath” (Exodus 31:13) and “to the LORD” (Exodus 16:23) and in which Jesus calls himself “Lord of Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8). The question of defining Sabbath worldwide on a round earth was resolved by some seventh-day Sabbatarians by making use of the International Date Line (i.e., permitting local rest-day adjustment, Esther 9:16–19), while others (such as some Alaskan Sabbatarians) keep Sabbath according to Jerusalem time (i.e., rejecting manmade temporal customs, Daniel 7:25). Many of the Lemba in southern Africa, like some other African tribes, are Christians and claim common descent from the Biblical Israelites, keep one day a week holy like Sabbath, and maintain many beliefs and practices associated with Judaism.
One folk tradition in English is the widespread use of “Sabbath” as a synonym of midnight-to-midnight “Saturday” (literally, Saturn’s day in at least a dozen languages): this is a simplification of the use of “Sabbath” in other religious contexts, where the two do not coincide. (Using midnight instead of sundown as delimiter dates back to the Roman Empire.) In over thirty other languages, the common name for this day in the seven-day week is a cognate of “Sabbath”. “Sabbatini”, originally “Sabbadini”, often “Sabatini”, etc., is a very frequent Italian name form (“Sabbatos” is the Greek form), indicating a family whose ancestor was born on Saturday, Italian sabato; “Domenico” indicated birth on Sunday. In vampire hunter lore, people born on Saturday were specially designated as sabbatianoí in Greek and sâbotnichavi in Bulgarian (rendered in English as “Sabbatarians”). It was also believed in the Balkans that someone born on a Saturday could see a vampire when it was otherwise invisible.
Secular use of “Sabbath” for “rest day”, while it usually refers to the same period of time (Sunday) as the majority Christian use of “Sabbath”, is often stated in North America to refer to different purposes for the rest day than those of Christendom. In McGowan v. Maryland (1961), the Supreme Court of the United States held that contemporary Maryland blue laws (typically, Sunday rest laws) were intended to promote the secular values of “health, safety, recreation, and general well-being” through a common day of rest, and that this day coinciding with majority Christian Sabbath neither reduces its effectiveness for secular purposes nor prevents adherents of other religions from observing their own holy days. Massachusetts, uncharacteristically, does not specify the weekday in its “Day of Rest” statute, providing only that one day off from work is required every week; an unspecified weekly day off is a very widespread business production cycle. The Supreme Court of Canada, in R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd. (1985) and R. v. Edwards Books and Art Ltd. (1986), found some blue laws invalid for having no legitimate secular purpose, but others valid because they had no religious purpose.
The weekend is that period of the week set aside by custom or law for rest from labor. In many countries it is Saturday and Sunday and often includes Friday night. This five-day workweek arose in America when labor unions attempted to accommodate Jewish Sabbath, beginning at a New England cotton mill and also instituted by Henry Ford in 1926; it became standard in America by about 1940 and spread among English-speaking and European countries to become the international workweek. China adopted it in 1995 and Hong Kong by 2006. India and some other countries follow both the international workweek and a more traditional Saturday half-workday and Sunday weekend. While Indonesia and Lebanon have the international workweek, most Muslim countries count Friday as the weekend, alone or with Thursday (all or half) or Saturday. Some universities permit a three-day weekend from Friday to Sunday. The weekend in Israel, Nepal, and parts of Malaysia, is Friday (all or half) and Saturday. Only the one-day customary or legal weekends are usually called “Sabbath”.
1. The sixth day, seventh day, first day …
According to Scripture, Christ died on Friday, the sixth day of the week, and rose on Sunday, the first day of the week. Practically all churches acknowledge this fact when they observe Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Here is the Bible evidence:
“This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near” (Luke 23:52–54). This is strong evidence that Jesus died the day directly before the Sabbath. It was called “the preparation day” because it was the time to get ready for the Sabbath.
Let’s now look at the next few verses: “And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (vv. 55, 56). Please notice that the women rested over the Sabbath “according to the commandment.” The commandment says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath” (Exodus 20:10), so we know they were observing the seventh day (Saturday).
The very next verse says, “Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb” (Luke 24:1, 2).
How clearly these three consecutive days are described for us! Jesus died on Friday, the preparation day, the sixth day of the week. He rested in the tomb, “according to the commandment,” on Saturday, the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. And then Jesus rose from the grave on Sunday, Easter Sunday, the first day of the week.
Anyone who can locate Good Friday or Easter Sunday will have absolutely no difficulty finding the true Sabbath “resting” right between them!
2. Calendar changes haven’t changed the seventh day.
Some suggest that a calendar change made by Pope Gregory XIII means the days of the week have been confused and, therefore, we can’t know the true seventh day today. It’s true that, in 1582, Pope Gregory made a change to the calendar. (Our calendar today is called the Gregorian calendar because of this change.) However, this change did not interfere with the weekly cycle.
What exactly did Pope Gregory do to the calendar? Before 1582 the Julian calendar had been in effect, instituted by Julius Caesar around 46 BC. But the Julian calendar had calculated the length of the year as 365-1/4 days, but the year is actually eleven minutes fewer than 365-1/4 days. Those eleven minutes accumulated, and by 1582, the numbering of the calendar was ten days out of harmony with the solar system. Gregory simply dropped those ten days out of the numbering of the calendar. It was Thursday, October 4, 1582, and the next day, Friday, should have been October 5. But Gregory made it October 15 instead, dropping exactly ten days to bring the calendar back into harmony with the heavenly bodies.
Did Pope Gregory’s calendar change really confuse the days of the week? No. Friday still followed Thursday, and Saturday still followed Friday. The same seventh day remained, and the weekly cycle was not disturbed. So when we keep the Sabbath on Saturday, we can be positive that our seventh day of the week is the same seventh day of the week that Jesus observed—which He did every week, according to Luke 4:16.
3. The seventh day is named as a “rest day” in many languages.
The word for “Sabbath” in many languages spoken around the world is the very word used to name the seventh-day of the week—known as Saturday by English-speaking nations like the United States. For example, the Spanish word for “Saturday” is “Sábado,” which means “Sabbath.” When these languages originated long, long ago, the seventh day of the week—Saturday—was recognized as the Sabbath day, and Sabbath was incorporated into the very name of the day.
4. Jews have kept the seventh day as Sabbath for millennia.
Another fascinating evidence is the long history and practice of the oldest ethnic and religious group on earth helps us to accurately identify the seventh day. The Jewish people have been observing the Sabbath on the seventh day from the time of Abraham, and they still keep it today. Here is a whole nation—millions of individuals—who have been counting off time meticulously, week after week, for thousands of years. Could they have lost track? Not likely! The only way they could have lost a whole day of the week would have been for the entire nation to have slept an extra 24 hours and for no one to tell them about it afterward!
There has been no change or loss of the Sabbath day since God created it in Genesis. The origin of the week is found in the creation story, and there is no astronomical reason for measuring time in cycles of seven days. The seventh-day Sabbath is the purposeful design of God and has been miraculously preserved throughout time—and it will be preserved and observed throughout all eternity:
“‘For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make shall remain before Me, says the LORD, so shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,’ says the LORD” (Isaiah 66:22, 23).