Which day is the Sabbath?
Some people are convinced that Sunday, the first day of the week, is the Biblical Sabbath. Others believe that Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is the Sabbath.
Let’s take an in-depth look at this topic and examine the facts about what day is the Sabbath of the Bible. According to the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath is located on the seventh day of the week. Exodus 20:8-10 says the following, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.” At creation God also rested and declared the seventh day holy (Genesis 2:1-3).
Is the seventh day the Sabbath?
The New Testament is in agreement as to which day is the seventh day of the week. One of the most straight-forward references is found in Luke 23:53-56 & Luke 24:1, and describes Joseph of Arimathaea taking the body of Jesus down off the cross. “Then he took it [the body of Jesus] 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. 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. 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.”
This Bible passage shows the chronology of the week including how the Sabbath day and the first day of the week relate to each other. According to Luke 23:54, Jesus died on the preparation day which we now call Good Friday. The next day, Sabbath, the women rested according to the commandment. Finally, after the Sabbath, on the first day of the week, Jesus was resurrected.
Therefore, according to the Bible, the Sabbath day can be pinpointed as the day before the first day of the week. Today, we call this day Saturday or the seventh day of the week. In addition, ask any Christian which day comes between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday—their answer, Saturday.
Preparation day or sixth day = Friday
Which day is the first day of the week?
Many have asked the question, my calendar begins on Monday, doesn’t that make Sunday the seventh day of the week? It is true that many calendars begin on Monday, but some calendars around the world begin on Friday, Saturday or Sunday as well. The answer to this can be found by studying the linguistics or meaning of each day’s name, rather than only looking at the order of the days printed on paper. Any human can change the order of a printed calendar, but it is a lot harder to change every language in the world.
Consider the Greek language in which the New Testament was written. According to the Bible, the day before the Sabbath was called the preparation day or “paraskeue" in the Greek language. Even today, thousands of years later, the sixth day of the week, called "Friday" in the English calendar, is still called “Paraskeue" in the modern Greek calendar. Therefore the day that comes after Friday is the Sabbath day.
Sabbath around the world
Looking at over 100 languages around the world, the seventh day of the week is translated as “Sabbath”. Here is a short list of languages and their translations: (Arabic: Sabet, Czech: Sobota, Indonesian: Sabtu, Italian: Sabato, Latin: Sabbatum, Portuguese: Sábado, Russian: Subbota, Spanish: Sabado).
What does the English language say about the Sabbath? Webster’s dictionary defines the Sabbath as the following: “Seventh day, Saturday, the seventh day of the week.” (Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, unabridged 2nd ed.)
Consider this—no language contains a correlating link between the word “Sabbath" and the first day of the week. In fact, not even one language designates another rest day besides the seventh day. This confirms the fact that those who used the original languages understood the meaning of the Sabbath and which day it fell upon.