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2000 years of Christianity : what happened? – Part IV – 1200AD – 1600AD

Get ready for a bit of a longer journey than parts 1,2&3, as we dive into the age of Reformation! Recapping part III, previously we saw Christianity which was now the Religion of Rome, spreading all throughout Europe. With the birth of Islam, Rome was threatened as Islam conquered most of the areas under Roman rule, even capturing Jerusalem. While the Eastern and Western churches grew apart finally breaking all ties, Muslims threatened Europe – being pushed back at the battle of Tours. The pope became significantly more powerful, superseding emperors in esteem and even owning land. The 1st Crusade would return power of Jerusalem back to Rome through much bloodshed, but would fail to hold Jerusalem in their grasp as the Muslims retook the city, inciting a failed 2nd Crusade and a partially successful 3rd. Universities of Paris and Oxford were begun creating incubators for the Renaissance and the Reformation, while movements such as the Waldensians signaled the beginning of a free thinking Christianity, which was outside the Church of the Roman Empire. For the 1st part of this study, highlighting the History of Christianity from 30AD – 300AD please go here. For the 2nd part, highlighting the History of Christianity from 300AD – 600AD please go here. For the 3rd part, highlighting the History of Christianity from 600AD – 1200AD please go here

As mentioned in the 1st, 2nd & 3rd Parts of this study, I acknowledge that no two people would agree on a list of the absolutely important events in Christianity. This is only an attempt to simply give you a better understanding of the history of our faith. If you believe that there is an important event missing on this list, please comment with the reason why you think it would have affected the outcome of today’s Christianity, and I will add it in after review.

2000 years of Christian History – Part IV – 1200AD – 1600AD

1208: Francis of Assisi renounces wealth – Renouncing his father’s wealth, Francis became a beggar, asking for alms from the “haves” in order to give to the “have nots”. Francis who started preaching in deserted chapels generated a faithful following, to whom he drafted a set of rules, creating the Fransican Order. By 1218 there were more 3000 followers who had renounced wealth, creating a change in Italian society – where the rich got richer and the poor starved.

1215: Innocent III assembles Fourth Lateran Council – While previous popes had called themselves “Vicar of Peter”, pope Innocent III claimed he was the “Vicar of Christ” – claiming to be the representative of Christ on earth, he said the pope was “a mediator between God and man, below God but beyond man”. At the 4th Lateran council most of his ideas would be adopted into church doctrine. The council ruled that annually every person must make confessions to a priest and take communion. The doctrine of transubstantiation (communion bread and wine were the actual body and blood of Christ) became official. Heretics could be legally punished by excommunication and confiscation of property. The pope alone had authority to make or break bishops. The council also declared that Jews wear special identification badges, forbidding Christians to engage in any commerce with them – eventually leading to Jewish Ghettos.

1220: Dominican Order established –  a Roman Catholic religious order founded by the Spanish priest Saint Dominic, it was established to preach the Gospel and to combat heresy. The teaching activity of the order and its scholastic organization placed the Preachers in the forefront of the intellectual life of the Middle Ages.

1232: Gregory IX appoints first “inquisitors” –  Pope Gregory IX instituted the Papal Inquisition, a mechanism that severely punished people accused of heresy, which was mainly established to curb Catharism and the Waldensians. Out of these 2 sects, the Cathari posed the greater threat, as they taught a dualistic faith in which the material world was created by an evil entity, while the spiritual was created by the good. Staffed by the Franscian and Dominican orders, the original intent for the Inquisition was a court of exception to inquire into, and glean the beliefs of those differing from Catholic teaching, and to instruct them in the orthodox doctrine. In 1252, Pope Innocent IV officially sanctioned the use of torture to extract the truth from suspects, and over the centuries the tribunals would take different forms, investigating and stamping out various forms of heresy, including witchcraft and Judaism.

1272: Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae – A student at the University of Naples, Thomas would go onto become a Dominican monk. Thomas tried to reconcile philosophy and theology, emphasizing that they did not need to contradict each other. When Catholicism fought against Protestanism, at the council of trent, they used Aquinas’ work.

1302: Unam Sanctam proclaims papal supremacy – A charter created by pope Boniface VIII, it decreed that it was necessary to belong to the Roman Catholic church to receive eternal salvation(as the Roman Catholic Church was regarded the one true church), the position of the pope as supreme head of the Church, and the duty of submitting to the pope in order to belong to the Church and thus to attain salvation. The pope who was called the successor of Peter, on whom the church was built – would have authority over the sheep, and whoever did not come under that authority would not be included into the sheep of Christ.

1309: Papacy begins “Babylonian” exile in Avignon – In the period from 1309 to 1377, during which seven successive popes resided in Avignon, in France, rather than in Rome. At the election of Clement V (a frenchman) as pope, he declined to move to Rome, remaining in France, and moving his court there. This absence from Rome for 67 years was known as the “Babylonian Exile of the Papacy”, in which a total of 7 popes reigned from France, finally ending with Gregory XI who moved the court back to Rome.

1321: Dante completes Divine Comedy – The Italian poet, Dante’s creation reflected most of the beliefs of his age such as, purgatory, and the working off of sin to reach heaven. Influenced by Thomas Aquinas, his work would in turn influence many other poets after him, and create a vivid picture of what hell, purgatory and paradise looked like for a long time to come.

1370: Catherine of Siena begins her Letters – Living apart from the world for 3 years, Catherine reentered society at the time of the black death – ministering to the dying and visiting prisoners who were condemned to death. All this while she wrote many letters giving spiritual counsel from the common folk up to the pope. She encouraged pope Gregory XI to move back to Rome from Avignon at the time of the Exile of papacy. After Gregory XI moved to Rome, and died shortly afterward, she would still counsel pope Urban at the time of the Great Schism.

1378: Great Papal Schism begins – After the Baylonian Exile of the papacy ended, by pope Gregory XI moving his court back to Rome from Avignon(France), Gregory XI would pass away shortly. With riots breaking out for a new roman pope, Urban VI was appointed. Many of the cardinals, who regretted their decision later, appointed Pope Clement VII in Avignon as a rival pope – which threw the church into turmoil, as both popes had been appointed by the same leaders. The conflicts quickly escalated from a church issue to a diplomatic crisis that divided Europe, as secular leaders had to choose which claimant they would recognize as pope. This schism would last close to 40 years, coming to an end with the council of constance.

1380: Wycliffe supervises English Bible translation – The leading English scholar of his time, Wycliffe may be largely responsible for the early reputation of Oxford, where he studied and taught. As his studies led to question the Catholic teachings, he began to speak out against the church’s right to temporal power and wealth, the sale of indulgences (letters that were believed to pardon sin), church offices, worship of saints and relics, the doctrine of transubstantiation, as well as the pope’s authority. Regularly defending himself before bishops and councils, he became a hero, creating a following named the Lollards who traveled England teaching the Scriptures to the common folk. In 1377, he was banned from writing and most of his work burned – while he was stripped of his position at Oxford and forbidden to teach his views. Working with other scholars, he used a handwritten copy of the Vulgate to create the first English translation of the Bible, which was improved in a second edition after his death, and distributed illegally by the Lollards. He was excommunicated by the council of constance after his death, and in 1428, his bones were exhumed, burned and scattered in the river. The Reformation was already well underway through his teachings and his work on the English translation of the Bible.

1413: Hus burned at stake – Ordained as a priest in 1401, John Hus taught at Charles University in Prague. A noted preacher who taught against the worldliness and moral failings of clergy (including the pope), stressed on purity of life and personal piety, as well as asserting that Christ alone is the head of the church. When he became popular among the masses, the archbishop of Prague objected to his teachings, instructing him not to preach and asking the university to burn Wycliffe’s writings. When he did not comply, pope John XXIII excommunicated the whole city, forcing Hus to leave Prague. In his book “on the church“, he claimed that only God could forgive sins, no pope/bishop could establish doctrine contrary to the bible, nor could any Christian obey a clergyman’s order if it was plainly wrong. Hus, who was summoned to the council of Constance, where he was arrested as soon as he arrived – as well as his teachings along with Wycliffe’s condemned. Stating that pope or bishop who is in mortal sin, ceases to be a pope or bishop, he added the king to the list. Refusing to renounce his “errors”, he was sentenced to be burned at the stake, and his ashes scattered on a river. His courageous death would lead to the birth of the Moravian church and fuel the reformation.

1414: Council of Constance begins – held from 1414 to 1418, the council ended the Great Schism, where rival popes claimed right as true pope of the Church. The rest of the claimants were deposed and Pope Martin V elected in their stead.

1453: Constantinople falls; end of Eastern Roman Empire –  The Ottomans commanded by Sultan Mehmed II, defeated an army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI, capturing Constantinople, bringing an end to the Eastern Roman empire. Mehmed who transferred the capitol of the Ottoman Empire from Adrianople to Constantinople declared himself Kayser-i Rum, literally “Caesar of Rome”, that is, of the Roman Empire, though he was remembered as “the Conqueror” – founding a political system that survived until 1922 with the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. While the church Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque which stands to date, the Greek Orthodox Church remained intact, even though Turkey which contains Constantinople (present day Istanbul) is now a dominant Muslim state with more than 95% of its population being Muslim.

1456: Gutenberg produces first printed Bible – At a time where the Bible was only available in Latin, copied by hand on parchment or papyrus sheets, the average person relied on the local priest and pictures or statues in the church for information on the Bible. With Gutenberg’s invention, God’s Word became readily available to everyone – no longer did the pope or a priest have to come in between the believer and his comprehension of the Bible. Previously, only the clergy had access to God’s Word, so that they could compare it to church teaching – but with the printing press, the road to reformation was paved further.

1478: Establishment of Spanish Inquisition – Spain’s rulers King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella who showed great devotion to Catholicism, received the title “Catholic Kings” from the pope, and in 1478 requested that the pope establish the Inquisition in Spain with themselves as Inquisitors. In 1492, all Jews and Muslims were expelled from Spain. The inquisition humiliated, tortured and brought people to the stake, confiscated property and sold the office of “familiar” – (a person who informed on others while enjoying freedom from arrest), all the while becoming a powerful entity. While Protestantism took hold of Europe under persecution, in Spain it fell under the harsh hand of the Inquisition. Protestant books were banned, and even suspicion that a person was Protestant brought in the Inquisitors, resulting in Protestantism never taking hold in Catholic dominant Spain.

1497: Savonarola excommunicated – In the self centered, wealth conscious society of Florence, even the church was influenced – monasteries knew little about the vow of poverty. A pious Dominican monk Savonarola, spoke harshly against it prophesying the downfall of the city. In 1494, when France attacked them, the people overthrew its rulers and appointed Savonarola instead. People changed their lifestyles, giving up their fine clothes and gambling, while bankers and traders returned whatever they had wrongfully taken from others. While crowds flocked to hear Savonarola preach, many became monks themselves. Savonarola’s attack against worldly clergy including then pope Alexander VI (who had fathered several illegitimate children) was ordered to stop preaching – to which he obeyed. After a year in silence, Alexander allowed him to preach again – and Savonarola restarted his attacks against corruption in the church. The pope excommunicated Savonarola, threatening the city interdiction. Finally the people turned against their leader who was handed over to be burned at the city’s great piazza.

1516: Erasmus publishes Greek New Testament – A catholic priest named Erasmus created his own translation of the Bible in Latin and included a Greek text as well into it. It is believed that he included the Greek  text to permit qualified readers to verify the quality of his Latin version. He is recorded saying “But one thing the facts cry out, and it can be clear, as they say, even to a blind man, that often through the translator’s clumsiness or inattention the Greek has been wrongly rendered; often the true and genuine reading has been corrupted by ignorant scribes, which we see happen every day, or altered by scribes who are half-taught and half-asleep.” This Greek version would also help fuel the reformation as it would point out errors in the Latin.

Covers of 3 Publications done by Martin Luther – Left: Dass Jesus Christus ein geborener Jude sei (That Jesus Christ was born a Jew) ; Middle: Von den Jüden und Iren Lügen (On the Jews and Their Lies) ; Right: Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi (Of the Unknowable Name and the Generations of Christ)

1517: Luther posts his Ninety-Five Theses – The new basilica which was being built in Rome needed an enormous amount of wealth – and one of the fundraising techniques was the “sale of indulgences” – where one could get their loved ones out of purgatory for a fee and earn credit against ones own sin. Tetzel, a Dominican monk in charge of indulgences would travel saying “listen to the voices of your dear dead relatives and friends, beseeching you and saying ‘pity us, pity us’. We are in dire torment from which you can redeem us for a pittance”. When Tetzel came to Wittenburg, where Martin Luther, a German priest, was a professor at – he strongly opposed the sale of indulgences and tacked a list of 95 grievances to the church door. In it he said “divine forgiveness certainly could not be bought or sold, when God offers it freely”. This was just the beginning. Luther went out to lead a religious revolution, railing against church corruption and a new understanding on papal and scriptural authority. He had criticized the sale of indulgences and worship of relics, even before tetzel came along – the meeting merely brought the conflict to the surface. In 1520, the pope issued a decree condemning Luther’s views, which Luther burned. In 1523, Luther advised kindness toward the Jews in “That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew”, but only with the aim of converting them to Christianity – when his efforts failed, he wrote “On the Jews and Their Lies” & “Of the Unknowable Name and the Generations of Christ”, in which he argued that the Jews were no longer the chosen people but “the devil’s people”, and referred to them with violent, vile language. This would give way to further antisemitism and would even be used by the Nazis to perpetrate the holocaust. His views on “justification through grace” have also become a key part of Christian theology.

1518: Ulrich Zwingli comes to Zurich – While the reformation was underway in Germany, it also rose up in Switzerland under Ulrich Zwingli. Influenced by Erasmus, Zwingli immersed himself in the Greek New Testament. When Zwingli became pastor of the main catholic church at Zurich, he announced that he would preach through the gospel of Matthew instead of the prescribed lectionary. In 1522, some of his parishioners defied the church’s rule about eating meat during lent – being supported by Zwingli who preached a sermon on freedom. At a public debate in Zurich, Zwingli’s views prevailed – and over the course of 2 years priests and nuns married, catholic images were removed from the churches and the Catholic mass was replaced with a simple service in which preaching was emphasized. The reformation was underway in Zurich.

1521: Diet of Worms –  A diet, a formal deliberative assembly held at Worms in Germany, called Luther and asked him to retract his published views – to which Luther is recorded as stating “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen”. The assembly forbade anyone from helping Martin Luther. Luther was later excommunicated and his writings banned. He was kidnapped and hidden in Wartburg castle, for his own protection by prince Frederick afterwards.

1525: Tyndale’s New Testament published – Credited as the first English translation of the New Testament done from the Greek, William Tyndale, an Oxford scholar, was inspired to create this work by Martin Luther’s German Translation of the New Testament. With heavy opposition from the church, he would leave England and publish the English New Testament, and later be strangled and burned at the stake.

1525: Anabaptist movement begins – A group of Christians under Zwingli, sought quick changes and a self governing church ruled by the Holy Spirit, instead of the church hierarchy. As this movement objected to infant baptism, the Zurich council wanted them to cease from disputations. The group that wanted the church returned to the state of the Scriptures, baptized one another (receiving the name Anabaptist “rebaptizer”), seeking to separate church and state, where political power would not compel the conscience of the believer. This radical group caused riots, being seen by Protestants and Catholics as wrongheaded, bringing persecution, death by fire and drowning to many Anabaptists. The movement spread nonetheless, attracting some Protestants and birthing the Mennonites and Brethren churches.

1529: Colloquy of Marburg – Phillip the landgrave of Hesse, brought the two great reformers, Zwilgli and Luther together, to the end of strengthening the Reform movement. Meeting at Marburg, the two theologians discussed 15 doctrinal issues, agreeing on 14. While Zwingli saw the Eucharist as a Spiritual reception of Christ’s body and blood, Luther saw it in more concrete terms. They parted ways giving way to a greater split in Protestantism – the Zwinglians and Lutherans.

1534: Act of Supremacy; Henry VIII heads English church – Henry, who had married his sister-in-law, Catherine, after his brother’s death, had no son to follow him on the throne. Attracted by Anne Boleyn, the king sought a divorce from the pope, citing Lev 20:21. The pope who was afraid of angering the holy roman emperor, Charles V, who was Catherine’s nephew, stalled Henry. The impatient English king appointed Thomas Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury, who immediately granted the divorce. Henry married Anne, who gave birth to Elizabeth the same year. In 1534 the English Parliament passed an act of supremacy, declaring “the king’s highness to be supreme head of the Church of England” – creating a state church which the pope had no authority over. The Church of England, once broken from the pope, remained separate giving way to Anglicanism.

1536: Calvin publishes first edition of Institutes – Breaking from Catholicism and leaving his homeland, France, Calvin settled in Switzerland as an exile. Pastoring the church at St.Pierre, he brought about reforms, seeking to excommunicate those whose lives did not approach scriptural standards. Geneva became a magnet for exiles from all of Europe, giving Protestantism a unique vigor. Calvinism, a major branch of Protestantism would spread to Scotland, Poland, Holland and America – with teachings such as “unconditional election”, “irresistible grace” and “perseverance of the saints”.

1540: Loyola gains approval for Society of Jesus – With Protestantism on the rise, the catholic church began a counter reformation by attempting to change some of the more offensive abuses to win back protestant converts. Stressing the need for devotion and self denial, the society of Jesus – or Jesuits were started by an injured Spanish soldier name Ignatius of Loyola. An almost military like unquestionable obedience to the pope as well as the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience drove the jesuits, who reached out with an extensive missions program. When catholic strongholds such as Spain and Portugal expanded their territories, the Jesuits went with them to evangelize, reaching all of Europe, Japan, Brazil, Ethiopia and central Africa – as well as many parts of Asia.

1545: Council of Trent begins – The council which met periodically from 1545 to 1563, was put together by pope Paul III, with reformation of the catholic church in mind. Indulgence were abolished, and clergy were exhorted to avoid even the smallest of faults. Doctrinally, the council reaffirmed the Catholic position, standing against Protestant doctrines. They restated that the church alone can adequately interpret scripture and refused the use of the Bible in any other language other than Latin. These reforms further separated the Catholic and Protestant views.

1549: Book of Common Prayer released – At the death of Henry VIII, the archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer, moved forward with the English reformation. Images were removed from churches, private confessions to priests were discontinued, and the clergy allowed to marry. But mass was still said in Latin. So Cranmer moved to create a liturgy that was pleasing to Protestants as well as Catholics. The book of common prayer was born.

1555: Peace of Augsburg – A treaty between Charles V and an alliance of Lutheran princes, which was made at the imperial city of Augsburg, – It officially ended the religious struggle between the Lutherans and the Catholics and made the legal division of Christendom permanent within the Holy Roman Empire.

1555: Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer burned at stake – When the son of Henry VIII died, his daughter Mary became queen. Attempting to return England to Catholicism, she earned the name “Bloody Mary” for her harsh reign in which Protestants were persecuted – among them reformers such as Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer who created the book of common prayer.

1559: John Knox makes final return to Scotland – A Scottish clergyman and writer who was a leader of the Protestant Reformation, founded the Presbyterian denomination in Scotland, helping to write the new confession of faith and the ecclesiastical order for the newly created reformed church in Scotland called “the Kirk”.

1563: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs published – A work of Protestant history and martyrology by John Foxe, It includes a polemical account of the sufferings of Protestants under the Catholic Church, with particular emphasis on England and Scotland – becoming highly influential in those countries, and helping shape lasting popular notions of Catholicism there.

1572: St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre – Calvinism that spread to France in 1555, had created the French Protestant Church with more than 400,000 adherents knows as Huguenots. With fighting erupting in 1562, many Huguenots were massacred by the Catholic French at Vassy. Three wars of Religion had been already fought between the two groups. There was hopes of peace in Paris in 1572, as the two warring factions were going to be united by a wedding. Henry of Navarre, a protestant, was marrying Marguerite of Valois, the daughter of Catholic Catherine de Medici. Catherine who planned to assassinate Gaspard de Coligny, a popular French war hero and leader of the Huguenots – failed miserably. With the assassination attempt foiled, Catherine ordered a massacre of the Protestant leaders in Paris. On St. Bartholomew’s day, Coligny was murdered in his room, and mobs were formed to hunt down Huguenots leaders. Huguenots who were prosperous business people were easy to find, and in the name of religious purity – the lower class massacred the middle class citizens, with bodies piled up by the hundreds. The craze which spread to other provinces, with mobs going wild, pushed the death toll to an estimated 100,000. Five more civil wars would be waged between the French Protestants and Catholics in the years that followed.

1598: Edict of Nantes – Issued by Henry IV of France, granted the Calvinist Protestants of France (also known as Huguenots) substantial rights in a nation still considered essentially Catholic. In the Edict, Henry aimed primarily to promote civil unity. It would later be revoked by Louis XIV, the grandson of Henry IV, driving an exodus of Protestants, and increasing the hostility of Protestant nations bordering France.

Conclusion
While the church went through a time of conflict, Franciscan and Dominican orders were established, the pope grew in power to the extent where he superseded man. The Inquisitions were also established where people who had differing beliefs to the Roman Catholic ways were tortured, penalized, exiled or faced death. Meanwhile, the reformation was at hand with thinkers such as Wycliffe, Hus and Savonarola being assisted greatly with the invention of the printing press which made the Bible available to everyone for the first time. The eastern part of the Roman empire, would fall to the hand of the Muslim Ottomans, becoming part of the Muslim empire although Greek Orthodox beliefs continued in the region. With the sale of indulgences, the reformation would officially begin at the hand of Martin Luther and the likes of Ulrich Zwingli. Protestantism which spread quickly even with heavy opposition from the Catholic church, even leading to wars between the two groups, would also give birth to the Anglican Church in England, a separate entity from the church in Rome. While Calvin’s teachings were soaked in by Protestantism, a counter reformation was underway inside the catholic church which did not reform many of its earlier teachings. While the Jesuits traveled on missions programs with spain and portugal as they extended their land overseas, many reformers such as Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer were executed for their beliefs – but Protestantism could not be stamped out, and would become one of the largest sects in Christianity – distinctively different from Catholicism, although borrowing and having many of its roots in the teachings of Rome.

Jump to Part I – 30AD – 300AD
Jump to Part II – 300AD – 600AD
Jump to Part III – 600AD – 1200AD
Jump to Part V – 1200AD – 2000AD

2000 years of Christianity : what happened? – Part III – 600AD – 1200AD

Picking up from where we left off, In part II of this study, we saw Christianity which had severed ties with its Jewish origins, and was severely persecuted at times, quickly became a privileged faith with the conversion of Roman Emperors to the Christian faith. With the power and prestige garnered by the Roman Church authority, came schisms, new teachings, heresies as well as rules and regulations through church councils. As the empire divided to the East and West, there were differences in teachings and understanding, while the western capitol Rome would have preeminence, making it’s bishop the pope. The language of the Bible was soon turning from the Greek to Latin and doctrines such as the trinity, veneration of mary & other saints would also become part and parcel of Christianity, while the Sabbath would be outlawed, as well as having any connection with ideas seen as Jewish. The New Testament list of books was finally decided upon, while Christianity steadily spread all over Europe extending the power of Rome throughout most areas, being dominated by the teachings and understandings of the Roman Church. For the 1st part of this study, highlighting the History of Christianity from 30AD – 300AD please go here. For the 2nd part, highlighting the History of Christianity from 300AD – 600AD please go here

As mentioned in the 1st & 2nd Parts of this study, I acknowledge that no two people would agree on a list of the absolutely important events in Christianity. This is only an attempt to simply give you a better understanding of the history of our faith. If you believe that there is an important event missing on this list, please comment with the reason why you think it would have affected the outcome of today’s Christianity, and I will add it in after review.

2000 years of Christian History – Part III – 600AD – 1200AD

614: Siege of Jerusalem by Persia with the help of Jews – The Byzantine Empire (Eastern part of the Roman Empire with Greek as it’s language and Constantinople as the capital) had ruled over Jerusalem for many years, building monasteries and churches after the reign of Constantine. Under Roman rule, the Jews had been exiled, for revolting against the empire. At the time of the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius, Sharbaraz – the Sasanian Emperor (Last Iranian/Persian Empire before Islam) along with a significant Jewish force, sieged Jerusalem capturing it in the process. It is said that many Christians died in the following riots which occurred. The Sassanids would leave the control of Jerusalem back in the hand of Jews for a short period of time before Heraclius reconquered the whole territory from the Persians by 625.

622: Muhammad’s hijra: birth of Islam – Born in Mecca, Muhammad is said to have received revelations around the age of 40, preaching a monotheism and gathering a steady stream of followers. Under persecution by the Meccan authorities, Muhammed and his followers moved to Medina (commonly known as ‘Hijra’ : Emigration) where he was not only welcomed, but where an islamic state was later established. The rest of Arabia, which saw Medina as a threat, was unable to take medina in the battles that ensued, and by 630, Muhammad gathered together all the warring tribes under the banner of islam, even conquering Mecca.

637: Siege of Jerusalem by islamic empire – With Muhammad’s death in 632, the Rashidun Caliphate was established and Caliph Umar would conquer Jerusalem receiving a formal surrender by Sophronius – the then Patriarch (Head bishop of Eastern Greek Orthodox Church) of Jerusalem under Byzantine rule. The Arab muslims who solidified their rule over the region known as “Syria Palaestina” under Roman rule, and “Palaestina Prima” under the Byzantine Empire would hold control of it till the 11th century. The Al-Aqsa Mosque which stands on the temple mount today, started as a small prayer house, which was rebuilt and expanded in 705. After an earthquake in 746, the mosque was completely destroyed and rebuilt in 754, most of it being destroyed again by an earthquake in 1033, but two years later the Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir built another mosque which is what we see on the temple mount today.

663: Synod of Whitby – Two sects of Christianity existed in England – one was Celtic Christianity propagated by Columba in 563 being centered on independent monasteries and abbots. The second was Roman Catholic Christianity being centered around Kent and Essex established by 597. Even though the sects were similar in most traditions, the major distinctions were, when they celebrated easter and whether or not the authority of the pope was valid. Oswy the king of Northumbria, called an assembly at Whitby, where both sides were heard. Celtic leaders quoted Columba while the Catholics cited St.Peter. Even though the Romans prevailed, the two traditions complemented each other bringing about an age of Art and Scholarship in Britain – an example being the Lindisfarne Gospels which was a beautifully decorated version of Gospels written in a medieval script.

716: Boniface brings Roman Catholicism to the Germans – A saxon missionary, Boniface received a commission from the church in Rome, to go the Germanic peoples, later being consecrated as bishop of Mainz and spiritual leader of all Germany. Germans who were known for their veneration of Trees and Groves were said to have a sacred tree called the Donar Oak (also called Joves Oak/Thor’s Oak) which was reportedly felled by Boniface and his retinue. The wood from the oak was used in building a church, and the fact that the German gods could not protect their tree helped Boniface’s missionary work. Because of him Germany would become a stronghold of the Roman Catholic Church up to the time of Reformation in the 1500s.

Miniature from the 9th-century Chludov Psalter with scene of iconoclasm. – hover over image for explanation

726: Controversy over icons begins in Eastern church – The Roman Empire which had broken into the East and West, creating Western Latin Catholicism and Eastern Greek Orthodoxy, were growing apart. Religious images which were abundant in the Churches, were opposed at this time by both Religious and Imperial authorities of the Eastern Church, while the West remained firmly in support for veneration of images. Both, the Emperor Leo III, and his son after him, Constantine V, opposed images and passed edicts against them removing, burning or painting over them. Veneration of images was restored by the Empress Irene of Athens, through the Second Council of Nicea in 787. Although the iconoclast controversy returned in the early 9th century, it was resolved once again in 843 by Empress Theodora, who restored the icons. These controversies would contribute to the further deterioration of relations between the Western and the Eastern Churches.

732: Battle of Tours – Islam which had rapidly expanded, saw muslims taking control over Syria, Palestine, then Alexandria, Mesapotamia, and even Carthage as North Africa was swept across by Muslims. Then they entered Spain, while forces had also entered the Punjab area of India, and was at the door of Constantinople – capital of the Byzantine Empire and the Eastern Orthodox Church. While the Western empire of Rome had fallen to the Vandals, Ostrogoths and finally to the Franks, the Roman Church held onto it’s power, growing throughout the world in influence through missions such as ‘Augustine’s to England’ and Boniface’s to Germany’. The Franks who overran Rome were now in power, and were now being threatened by Muslims who not only overthrew Political authorities, but also offered a new religious system. Charles Martel, the King of the Franks who had converted to Roman Christianity, protected the territory, meeting the forces of the Muslim General Abd-er Rahman, at ‘Tours’ pushing them back to Spain, and ending the advance of the Muslims on Europe. While Constantinople had also successfully defended itself against seiges laid by Muslims in 678 and 718, If it weren’t for Frank Martel, the Muslims could have captured all of Europe and established Islam as the main Religious system, making Christianity seize to exist in most countries around the world.

750: Donation of Constantine written about this time – A forged Roman Imperial Decree document, it announced that Emperor Constantine I had transferred authority over Rome and supremacy over the four principal ‘sees’, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Constantinople, and also over all the churches of God in the whole earth to the Pope. This document was used in the assertion of power by some of the Popes, furthering the debate that would ultimately lead to the East–West Schism in 1054.

754: Pepin III’s donation helps found papal states – In 751, Pope Zachary had Pepin the Younger crowned king in place of the powerless Merovingian figurehead king Childeric III. Pepin who defeated the Lombards – taking control of northern Italy made a gift (called the Donation of Pepin) of the properties formerly constituting the Exarchate of Ravenna to the pope. In 781, Charlemagne codified the regions over which the pope would be temporal sovereign: a territory which expanded to include Ravenna, Pentapolis, parts of Benevento, Tuscany, Corsica, Lombardy and a number of other Italian cities.

800: Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor – Charles the Great, who took the throne after his father Pepin the younger, pushed the borders of his kingdom East, controlling Burgundy, much of Italy, Alamania, Bavaria, Thurginia, as well as Saxony and Frisia in the North. After a long time, a large part of Europe had a stable leadership. Pope Leo III, would crown Charlemagne who held the title ‘King’ as ‘Emperor’ – following in the footsteps of Constantine. Under Charlemagne, Art and Scholarship thrived bringing about the ‘Carolingian Renaissance’, which preserved many ancient writings ; as well as the spread of Christianity in his empire.

861: East-West conflict over Photius begins – A well-educated man from a noble Constantinopolitan family, Photios chose to be a scholar and statesman, being appointed Patriarch(Bishop) of Constantinople by Emperor Michael III who deposed Patriarch Ignatius. Amid power struggles between the pope and the Byzantine emperor, Ignatius was reinstated, while the pope deposed Photios. Photios resumed the position once again, when Ignatius died, by the order of the Byzantine emperor. Even though the new pope, John VIII, approved Photios’s reinstatement, this incident was a clear indication of the ever widening gap between East and West.

862: Cyril and Methodius begin mission to Slavs – Methodius, an abbot of a Greek Monastery and Cyril, a philosophy professor of Constantinople, took Eastern Orthodox Christianity to the Slavs, translating scripture and church liturgy to Slavonic. Cyrillic which acted as the foundation for the Russian Alphabet (and is still used by some today) was specifically created by Cyril for this task, based on Greek letters. It was one of the very first times where the idea of worshiping in any language other than Greek or Latin was even heard of. Germany and Rome, both opposed the idea – and Cyril and Methodius traveled to Rome to argue their case, both of whom became Roman monks after the pope authorized the Slavic Liturgy. Cyril died the next year, but Methodius continued with heavy opposition from the Germans till his death in 885. Shortly afterward, Latin replaced the Slavic liturgy, but Cyril and Methodius had created a fiercely independent Christian faith and tradition that would effect the neighboring countries and the world.

909: Monastery at Cluny founded – With political struggles on the rise, church leaders were acting as secular warlords – grabbing land and power, practicing violence, deceit and all kinds of evil. At this time William the Pious, Duke of Aquitaine, setup a monastery in Cluny, built on the rules laid out by Benedict of Nursia in 540 – poverty, chastity and obedience. Becoming the largest church building in western Christendom, until St.Peter’s Basilica, it led as many as 2000 monasteries. Having a reforming effect on the church, cluny created some of the bishops and popes in the west, notably Pope Urban II who launched the First Crusade.

988: Christianization of “Russia” – Even though Christianity had penetrated Russia, it was not generally accepted till the conversion of Vladmir, prince of Russia. Vladmir, who built a number of pagan temples, had 800 concubines, 5 wives, and was known for cruelty and treachery. When he sought out to keep his people content, he reportedly sent men to examine the major religions – of which judaism and islam were not appealing to him because of their dietary restrictions. The prince who had to choose between Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy, chose Greek Orthodoxy – the religion of the neighboring Byzantine empire, marrying Anna – the sister of the Byzantine emperor Basil. In 988 Vladmir was baptized, slowly but surely converting people from pagan religions to Christianity. The Russian church which focused on worship, had the liturgy in their own language Slavonic (Thanks to Methodius and Cyril) and beautiful churches built by Vladmir and his successors.

1054: East-West Schism – In 1043, Michael Cerularius became patriarch of the East (Constantinople) and in 1049, Leo IX became pope in the west(Rome). Leo wanted Michael and the Eastern church to submit to Rome. The pope sent representatives to Constantinople; Michael refused to meet them, so they excommunicated Michael on behalf of the pope. Michael in turn excommunicated the representatives. The East and West had differences such as Language(Greek vs Latin), forms of worship, bread used in communion, date of lent, how mass was celebrated, Eastern priests could marry and grow beards(Western priests could not), the doctrine of purgatory(the East did not accept it), the western addition of “and from the son” to the nicene creed of “the Holy Spirit proceeds from the father”(seen as heretical in the east). All these differences that had existed for so long, erupted as these two bishops of the East and West declared each other as not a true Christian – creating a schism that would be unrepairable.

1077: Emperor submits to Pope over investiture – The struggle for power between pope and emperor rose to a fever pitch when pope Gregory VII attempted to enact reforms to the investiture process, but was met by much resistance from the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV. Henry insisted that he reserved the traditionally established right of previous emperors to “invest” bishops and other clergymen, despite the papal decree. Henry renounced Gregory as pope, and was excommunicated in return, being deposed by pope Gregory, at Rome. Gregory stated furthermore that, one year from that day, the excommunication would become permanent and irrevocable. When violence broke out, with many nobles threatening to elect a new king,  Henry felt he had to have his excommunication lifted. Crossing the Alps, he made the long harsh journey to meet with the pope in Augsburg. Reaching the castle of Canossa, the Pope ordered that Henry be refused entry. Waiting at the gate for three full days, henry was finally admitted – and he is said to have knelt before Pope Gregory and begged his forgiveness. Gregory absolved Henry and invited him back into the Church lifting the excommunication. The pope had officially become more powerful than the emperor.

1093: Anselm becomes archbishop of Canterbury – When William of Normandy conquered England, he brought many Norman teachers and clergy to England. Among them was Lafranc, who became Archbishop of Canterbury – and after him his student Anselm would take the position being appointed by William II, son of the conqueror. Anselm who was exiled again and again, for standing up against kings to protect church lands, funds and power – wrote “Cur Deus Homo” (Why did God become man?) at this time. Anselm’s idea of Christ’s reconciling work on the cross is the best known theological explanation of Christ’s atoning work, being called “the Satisfactory theory of Atonement”.

1095: First Crusade launched by Council of Clermont – In 1088 a Frenchman named Urban II, became pope. When emperor Alexis of Constantinople appealed to the pope for help against the Muslim Turks, even though the Catholic and Orthodox Christians were not one church, Urban sought to draw all Christendom together against a common enemy. Calling the Council of Clermont, Urban preached “Tear that land from the wicked race and subject it to yourselves” to which the people cried “Deus Vult! Deus Vult! (God wills it!) which became the battle cry of the crusades. The pope’s representatives recruited many knights from Europe who were spurred by religious goals, economic gain or the adventure of recapturing the pilgrimage sites which had fallen into Muslim hands – and almost being seen as an act of service to God. Urban assured the warriors that they would enter heaven directly or reduce their time in purgatory by warring against the Muslims. On their way to the holy land, the crusaders stopped in Constantinople. While Emperor Alexis, saw the chain-mail-clad soldiers as a threat, the crusaders saw the emperor as a traitor, for making treaties with the Turks. Provisioned by the Emperor, the army captured Antioch and Jerusalem, in the bloodbath that followed – utilizing a “take no prisoners” tactic. Muslims as well as Jews who lived in Jerusalem were butchered and Godfrey of Bouillon elected as Ruler of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. The papacy enhanced its power further by proving that it could muster a great number of soldiers who would die for their faith. The Al-Aqsa mosque was converted to a palace and a church at this time.

1115: Bernard founds monastery at Clairvaux – Known as the greatest Cistercian, he founded a monastery at Clairvaux, establishing 65 Cistercian houses and denying the doctrine of immaculate conception. The Second Crusade which was a failure, was mainly preached by Bernard.

1122: Concordat of Worms ends investiture controversy – An agreement which happened between Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, near the city of Worms – It brought to an end the first phase of the power struggle between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Emperors by abolishing the claim of the emperors to influence papal elections.

1150: Universities of Paris and Oxford founded – Higher education which took place in monasteries and cathedral schools, turned to private schools with the opening of universities in Bologna and Paris. Teachers and students who received social privileges of the clergy, yet being separate from them – developed fields of study such as Arts, Medicine, Law & Theology. Henry II who prohibited English students from studying in Paris, led to the opening of the university in Oxford – making such study centers incubators for the Renaissance and the Reformation.

1173: Waldensian movement begins – Peter Waldo, a french merchant, enlisted 2 priests to translate the bible into French, and started teaching the common folk about Christ. Waldo and his followers who believed that Jesus wanted His teachings practiced by all (instead of the prevalent belief of a religious life being required only of monks and priests), started teaching the New Testament to the common-folk by going two by two to the marketplaces. Waldo, who was excommunicated by the Archbishop of Lyons for acting outside the church, taught the priesthood of all believers.  They also rejected relics, pilgrimages, holy water, clergy vestments, saints’ days, church feast days and purgatory. In 1207, pope Innocent III offered to receive the Waldensians back if they submitted to the Catholic authorities. Many returned, and the ones who didn’t were condemned as heretics and many were stamped out by the inquisition, while others spread out through Europe being embraced by Protestants at the time of Reformation.

1187: Saladin takes Jerusalem – A Muslim of Kurdish origin, Saladin was the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. The Muslim armies under Saladin captured or killed the vast majority of the Crusader forces, at the battle of Hattin, reconquering Jerusalem, signalling the end of the first Kingdom of Jerusalem. Saladin, also restored the function of Al-Aqsa mosque to its former state.

1192: Third Crusade – Led by Philip Augustus, Frederick Barbarossa and Richard Lionheart – the campaign which was largely successful, capturing Acre, Jaffa, and reversing most of Saladin’s conquests, failed to capture Jerusalem – which was the main motivation of the Crusade. Saladin who failed to defeat Richard in any military engagements, gave way for Richard to secure several more key coastal cities. Richard departed the holy city after finalizing a treaty with Saladin, which granted the Muslims control over Jerusalem, but allowed unarmed Christian pilgrims and merchants to visit the city. The successes of the Third Crusade also allowed the Crusaders to maintain a considerable kingdom based in Cyprus and on the Syrian coast.

Conclusion
Christianity which was now the Religion of Rome, was spreading all throughout Europe. With the birth of Islam, Rome was threatened as Islam conquered most of the areas under Roman rule, even capturing Jerusalem. While the Eastern and Western churches grew apart finally breaking all ties, Muslims threatened Europe – being pushed back at the battle of Tours. The pope became significantly more powerful, superseding emperors in esteem and even owning land. The 1st Crusade would return power of Jerusalem back to Rome through much bloodshed, but would fail to hold Jerusalem in their grasp as the Muslims retook the city, inciting a failed 2nd Crusade and a partially successful 3rd. Universities of Paris and Oxford were begun creating incubators for the Renaissance and the Reformation, while movements such as the Waldensians signaled the beginning of a free thinking Christianity, which was outside the Church of the Roman Empire.

Jump to Part I – 30AD – 300AD
Jump to Part II – 300AD – 600AD
Jump to Part IV – 1200AD – 1600AD
Jump to Part V – 1600AD – 2000AD

2000 years of Christianity : what happened? – Part II – 300AD – 600AD

2000 years of Christian History – Part II – 300AD – 600AD
Starting off from where we left off – in part I, we saw that in a short span of 300 years, the faith that originated in Judea, having a majority of Jewish followers had completely become separated from its roots, being led by Greek thought and roman minds. Though the church was persecuted heavily, the number of followers grew, becoming a wholly gentile church with it’s base changing from Jerusalem to Rome. Not only did this faith which was regarded as a sect of Judaism shed any connection to its origins, antisemitic views were also on the rise. The church which was now centered on Rome, though fearless in the face of persecution, had already inadvertently added their own interpretations, traditions, thoughts and ideas which were now being embraced by more and more followers, changing the faith and the course, set out for it. For the 1st part of this study, highlighting the History of Christianity from 30AD – 300AD please go here.

As mentioned in the 1st Part of this study, I acknowledge that no two people would agree on a list of the absolutely important events in Christianity. This is only an attempt to simply give you a better understanding of the history of our faith. If you believe that there is an important event missing on this list, please comment with the reason why you think it would have affected the outcome of today’s Christianity, and I will add it in after review.

311: Edict of Toleration announced – Under Diocletian’s rule, Maximian was named Emperor of the West while Diocletian ruled the East as Emperor. Constantius Chlorus (father of Constantine) was Caesar of the west and Galerius in the east. Galerius, who was strongly anti-Christian came to power in 305 in the East along-with Constantius in the West (according to the 20 year term started by Diocletian). Galerius unleashed a fierce persecution against the Christians in the East which lasted till 310, while Constantius was generally lenient towards Christians in the West. In 311, on his deathbed, Galerius – who could not wipe out the Christian faith as per his plans, issued the Edict of Toleration which allowed Christians to meet freely, declaring “it will be their duty to pray to their god for our good estate”. This edict effectively paved the way for Constantine, who would later walk in Galerius’ footsteps making Christianity the preferred religion of the Empire.

312: Conversion of Constantine – At the death of his father Constantius – a power struggle broke out, with Constantine, being proclaimed ruler by his loyal soldiers. Maximian, who had retired after his term as Emperor, now eyed for the position again, along with his son Maxentius, who forced his father out of power. Meanwhile, Galerius had appointed one of his favorite generals ‘Licinius’ for the position in the West. Constantine forged an alliance with Licinius and fought against Maxentius. At the decisive ‘Battle of Milvian Bridge’, Constantine prevailed. It is said that Constantine saw a cross of light in the sky with an inscription “In this conquer” along with having a dream where he was instructed to mark his shields with the Greek letters ‘Chi’ and ‘Rho’ (first two letters of Christos – Greek for Christ). He won the battle after marking the shields as per the instructions, becoming the first Roman Emperor to believe in Christianity.

constantine_coin

A gold multiple of “Unconquered Constantine” with Sol Invictus (Unconquered Sun – the Solar deity of the Romans), struck in 313 – Ancient Roman coins in the Cabinet des médailles, Paris

313: Edict of Milan – Under the new government of Constantine and Licinius, they issued the Edict of Milan, granting religious freedom within the Empire, declaring “Our purpose is to grant both to the Christians and to all others full authority to follow whatever worship each man has desired”. Constantine who was now a Christian convert, restored property to the church, granting them money and calling church councils – changing the position of the church from a persecuted faith, to a privileged one. Although Constantine is known as the first Christian emperor, his actions proved otherwise, ousting Licinius in 324 and carrying the official Sun God “Sol Invictus” on his coinage up until 325. He was also the first person to decree Sunday as the Roman day of Rest saying “On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.”

312: Donatist Schism begins – One of the first Christian sects, Donatism was centered on the Roman province of Africa and existed upto the 5th century. Named after Donatus, they came to being after the persecution of Diocletian – and held to the belief that people (especially in priestly positions) who betrayed/renounced the faith should not be accepted back into the congregation. As a result towns were divided into Donatist and non-Donatist congregations creating the first major rift in the church. Even though the majority of the Roman church would rule against Donatism, it was a show of free speech and rising up against all sorts of corruption inside the church.

323: Eusebius completes Ecclesiastical History – The figure who is best known as the “Father of Church History” created the work known as Ecclesiastical History, using the vast access to documents he had through the Library in Caesarea, and stands as the main source of information from the 1st – 4th Century AD. For example he wrote “Matthew composed the words in the Hebrew dialect, and each translated as he was able” quoting Papias.

325: First Council of Nicea – A pastor named Arius in Alexandria, who held that God is unknowable and unique according to Greek Theology, taught that Jesus was divine but not God, that he was a created being who was like the Father, but not truly God. While this portrayal of Jesus was familiar to former pagans who were used to the divine superheroes of Greek mythology – Arius’ bishop had him condemned to the church council, even-though he was popular in Alexandria, with many supporters. Soon riots erupted in Alexandria, threatening the security of the Roman Empire of Constantine. To settle this issue, an empire-wide council was called in the city of Nicea, to which Constantine himself attended in multicolored, jewel encrusted garments among 300 bishops. After much debate Arius’ views were condemned and denounced, while a creed was formulated to describe the relationship of God and Christ. It described the son as “true God from true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father” – of which “one substance” (homoousios in Greek “homo-same” and “ousios-substance”) was critical. The Arian party(followers of Arius) wanted to add one more letter to form “Homoiousios” which meant “similar substance”. Two bishops and Arius who held to the belief were exiled, though his theology remained for many centuries afterward.

363: Council of Laodicea outlaws the Sabbath – A regional synod of thirty clerics met with the main purpose of putting together a set of rules on the conduct of church members. Among the 60 rules(canons) put together at this council were (• “Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day” • “It is not lawful to receive portions sent from the feasts of Jews or heretics, nor to feast together with them” • It is not lawful to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety”.) Although there were pious rules put together at this council, they effectively outlawed Sabbath keeping, calling all who rested on the Sabbath “judaizers” and that “let them be anathema from Christ”. They further sort out to break any connections between Jews and Christians, making any relationship unlawful.

367: Athanasius’ letter defines New Testament canon – Even though various lists of works were read in churches as the New Testament at the time, Athanasius was the first person to identify the same 27 books of the New Testament that are in use today. This list would be later repeated by a few other synods, being officially accepted at the Council of Carthage in 397AD as being final – officially creating the New Testament we have today in our hands. Even though there are quite a number of writings that did not enter this list, no one has deviated from the list Athanasius created.

380: Edict of Thessalonica makes Christianity, state religion of the Roman Empire – Jointly issued by the Roman Emperors Theodosius I & Gratian – this decree would be focused against the Arian theology. The decree that enforced the “Nicene creed of trinity”(created in 325), would call all of its followers to be known as Catholic Christians (from the word katholikos, “universal”) making Christianity the religion of Rome.

381: First Council of Constantinople – The restructuring of the empire done in 284 under Diocletian broke the empire in two, making Rome the capital of the West, while Constantinople became the capital of the East. Just as there were 2 emperors ruling the 2 parts of the empire, 2 Bishops headed the church from these capitals.  This council which was called by Emperor Theodosius, set out to appoint a Bishop of Nicene faith, in the East, which was bent towards Arianism. It also declared that because Constantinople is the ‘New Rome’, the bishop of that city should have a pre-eminence of honour after the Bishop of Old Rome who was the pope.

385: Ambrose defies the Emperor – The son of a high ranking official, Ambrose was the govenor of Milan, while Auxentius (an Arian) was the Bishop there. At the death of the bishop riots broke loose as the church tried to choose a successor. Ambrose who came to quell the riots was later named bishop of Milan. Ambrose who took his position seriously, excommunicated Emperor Theodosius, who had overreacted to a disturbance in Thessalonica, by sending an army to massacre the citizens. The emperor is said to have returned to the cathedral in sack cloth and knelt before the bishop asking for forgiveness. The pattern of bishop being more powerful than emperor would start off with Ambrose.

387: Augustine converts to Christianity – Known as a theologian and philosopher, Augustine was a student of Rhetoric, who later became the bishop of the North African city of Hippo. A major opponent of Donatism and Pelagianism, he wrote hundreds of letters and commentaries, making Augustine’s teachings part of both Catholic and Protestant theologians. Luther and Calvin who liked his emphasis on God’s grace would constantly quote him, making his teachings part of today’s Christianity.

398: Chrysostom consecrated bishop of Constantinople – John who was nicknamed Chrysostom, Greek for “Golden Mouth”, was a skilled preacher who was appointed bishop of Constantinople. John who borrowed heavily from Origen was envied by Theophilus – bishop of Alexandria who banished him by condemning his teachings. John preached against sin (even among the clergy) and suggestive dress of women, and was one of the few who would stand courageously before emperors for the truth.

405: Jerome completes the Vulgate – Damasus who was Bishop of Rome from 365 to 385 wanted to free Western Christianity from the dominance of the East. He wanted the accepted language of the church – which was Greek turned to Latin. Jerome, who was Damasus’ secretary was trained in Latin and Greek classics – and was handed over the job of creating a Latin translation of the Greek Bible. Jerome who moved from Rome to Bethlehem, consulted many Jewish rabbis, finishing his translation after 23 years. He also included the Apocrypha into his translation, which was known as the Vulgate (Latin for Vulgus meaning “common”). This translation was held in so much high regard by the Church, that it was prohibited to translate the bible to a common tongue from the original Latin for many years afterward.

431: Council of Ephesus and the veneration of Mary – Nestorius who was arch bishop of Constantinople had taught that the virgin mary gave birth to a man, Jesus Christ, and not God. God, he said, only dwelled in Christ, as in a Temple (Christ, therefore, was only Theophoros: The “Bearer of God”.) Consequently, virgin mary should be called “Christotokos,” Mother of Christ and not “Theotokos, “Mother of God.” The Council denounced Patriarch Nestorius’ teaching as erroneous, decreeing that Jesus was one person, not two separate “people”: complete God and complete man, with a rational soul and body, confirming the Nicene creed and forbidding any additional changes to it. The Virgin Mary, they proclaimed, is “Theotokos” because she gave birth not to man, but to God as a man.

432: Patrick begins mission to Ireland – Born in Roman Britain, Patrick was enslaved in Ireland. Later escaping slavery, he fled to a monastery in France. Going back to Ireland, he would convert most of the Irish to Christianity, establishing 300 churches and baptizing over 120,000. Because Patrick evangelized without relying on the established church in Rome, Christianity in Ireland would develop outside the Roman system of hierarchy. Centered around monasteries, Irish abbots preached, studied and ministered to the poor lacking any sort of bureaucracy. Ireland would not become Catholic until 1100s, when the pope gave the English king, Henry II, sovereignty over Ireland.

445: Decree of Valentinian strengthens papal authority – Issued by Emperor Valentinian during Leo I’s pontificate, this edict recognized the primacy of the bishop of Rome(pope) based on the merits of Peter, the dignity of the city, and the legislation of the First Council of Nicaea; and provided for the forcible extradition by provincial governors of any bishop who refused to answer a summons to Rome: Effectively making the Pope more powerful than before.

451: Council of Chalcedon and the form of Christ – A head of a monastery in Constantinople, named Eutyches taught a belief that Christ’s nature is lost in the divine. While the bishop of Constantinople declared Eutyches a heretic, Alexandria upheld him. The Council of Chalcedon, summoned by the emperor, on Leo I’s request with 400 bishops, came up with a statement of faith in reply, to end any and all disputes regarding the form of Christ – “acknowledged in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation… the characteristic property of each nature being preserved, and coming together to form one person”.

452: Pope Leo meets Attila the Hun –  Attila who had invaded Italy, was sacking cities heading for Rome. Emperor Valentinian III, sent an envoy of three inclusive of pope Leo to negotiate with Attila. Not much is known of the negotiations, but that Attila withdrew. Pope Leo is credited with this victory, showcasing his power in the field as well as in the church. Even though he managed to defend Rome from the huns, he was unable to save it from the vandals who sacked the city 3 years afterwards.

540: Benedict establishes his monastic order – Born to an upper-class family and gone to Rome for study, Benedict became a hermit. Moving to Monte cassino, he destroyed a pagan temple and built a monastery, where the monks would not have to go outside for necessities. Creating three vows – “poverty”, chastity” and “obedience”, his rule has guided monasteries for centuries, being in effect even today.

563: Columba establishes mission community on Iona – An Irish Christian traveled across Scotland and Northern England evangelizing, becoming an abbot of a large monastery in Iona. The abbots who came after him, retained his power, spreading out into Europe and beyond.

590: Gregory the Great elected Pope – Rome was no longer the capitol of the empire, though it still retained it’s prestige as it was connected to the apostles Peter and Paul. The bishop of Rome was the pope, the highest authority of the church. Gregory, who was born to a noble family, rose to the highest civil office which was Prefect of Rome. He later resigned to join a monastery, becoming an abbot, and in 590 was unanimously asked to become pope by the public. He insisted that the clergy see themselves as the shepherds and servants of the flock. During his papacy, veneration of the body parts, clothing and so on of saints was encouraged, to the extent that no church could be established without a relic of a saint placed in it. He also taught that ‘masses’ celebrated on behalf of the dead could relieve their pains in purgatory. Gregory also authorized an evangelization mission to Kent, under a missionary called Augustine, who would later become the 1st Archbishop of Canterbury – extending the power of Rome to the British Isles which had already received Christianity.

597: Ethelbert of Kent converted – With Augustine landing on Kent, which was ruled by an Anglo-saxon King named Ethelbert, and successfully converting him to Christianity – churches were established, and a wide scale conversion to Christianity began in the Kingdom. Ethelbert would provide the new mission with land in Canterbury, becoming the 1st English King to convert to Christianity.

Conclusion
Christianity which had severed ties with its Jewish origins, and was severely persecuted at times, quickly became a privileged faith with the conversion of Roman Emperors to the Christian faith. With the power and prestige garnered by the Roman Church authority, came schisms, new teachings, heresies as well as rules and regulations through church councils. As the empire divided to the East and West, there were differences in teachings and understanding, while the western capitol Rome would have preeminence, making it’s bishop the pope. The language of the Bible was soon turning from the Greek to Latin and doctrines such as the trinity, veneration of mary & other saints would also become part and parcel of Christianity, while the Sabbath would be outlawed, as well as having any connection with ideas seen as Jewish. The New Testament list of books was finally decided upon, while Christianity steadily spread all over Europe extending the power of Rome throughout most areas, being dominated by the teachings and understandings of the Roman Church.

Jump to Part I – 30AD – 300AD
Jump to Part III – 600AD – 1200AD
Jump to Part IV – 1200AD – 1600AD
Jump to Part V – 1600AD – 2000AD

Examination of the term “First day of the Week” in the New Testament

One of the regular comments I hear about “Sabbath observance”, is that the 1st Century Church met on the “1st Day of the Week” and not on the “Sabbath”. Did Peter, Paul, James and the rest of the Disciples in the 1st Century change the day of worship from “The Sabbath” to “The 1st Day of the Week”? This is an examination of the Greek behind our English translations in an attempt to understand what “The 1st Day of the Week” meant in the Original Greek Manuscripts. I encourage all of you, who take the time to examine the following, to do your own research and test these conclusions.

Lev23

Lev 23:15&16 from the 1611 print of the King James Version of the Bible (Please note the highlighted words “Seven Sabbaths” & “Fifty Days”)

»The following examination will review Greek Words using the Strong’s Greek Concordance. It maybe slightly technical, but I have tried to keep it as simple as possible. The Strong’s Greek Concordance numbers will accompany the related word within brackets (eg. G4521) for each reviewed verse. The below examination will reveal that the phrase “First day of the Week” did not have the word “day” in the Greek Manuscripts. Accordingly, our examination will show, that this phrase should read “First Week” or “First of the Weeks”. The term “First Week” or “First of the Weeks” refer to the “First” of the seven “Weeks” in the 50 day count from Christ’s Resurrection(Firstfruits) to Pentecost. Our examinations will arrive at the conclusion, that wherever the New Testament reads “First day of the Week”, it actually meant “First Week” or “First of the Weeks” in Greek. And that it exclusively referred to the “First” of the seven “Weeks” in the 7 Week count towards the day of Pentecost as seen in Lev 23:15,16, Deut 16:9,10.«

There are only 8 verses overall, in the New Testament writings, with the term “First day of the Week”. It will be our objective to check each of these 8 verses to better understand what this phrase means. The verses are as follows:

Mat 28:1  In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
Mar 16:2  And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
Mar 16:9  Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
Luk 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
Joh 20:1  The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
Joh 20:19  Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
Act 20:7  And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
1Co 16:2  Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

What most people do not understand is that, all of the above verses are connected (in some way or the other) to some of the Feasts/Appointed times of God(Passover, Week of Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits & Pentecost[50 days or Feast of Weeks]). Because of this, we need to have some background information that will help us better understand the above Scriptures before we start our examination.
A. Christ died on the day of Passover(Joh 18:28, 19:14, Mat 27:46-50, Mar 15:33-37, Luk 23:44-46). This is not a fixed day, such as “Friday” on our modern Calendars. Passover could fall on any day of the week, and depends solely on the Biblical Calendar(Lev 23:5). Read this post for more information
B. Passover eve starts off the days of Unleavened Bread which continues on for 7 days(Lev 23:6-8). The day following Passover, which is the 1st day of Unleavened Bread is always a “Special/High Sabbath” (Lev 23:7). It is known as a Special/High Sabbath, because it can fall on any day of the week, unlike the fixed 7th day Sabbath. (Joh 19:31) Read this post for more information
C. Christ’s resurrection happened on the day of Firstfruits. This is the day after the 7th day Sabbath which follows Passover(Mt 28:1-6, Mar 16:2-4, Luke 24:1-3, Joh 20:1,2). In other words, It is always the 1st Day of the week following Passover(Lev 23:10,11). Read this post for more information
D. Pentecost which means “50 days”, is counted from the Day of First Fruits. Pentecost will always fall after 50 days(7 weeks) from the Feast of Firstfruits (Lev 23:15,16, Deut 16:9,10) which is the day Christ rose from the Dead. Read this post for more information
E. For example, if Passover fell on the 4th Day(Wed) of the Week, the 5th Day(Thur) of that same week would be the 1st Day of unleavened bread which would be a special/high Sabbath. The 7th Day(Sat) of the week would be the regular fixed Sabbath. The next day, which is the 1st Day(Sun) of the next week will be the Day of Firstfruits. Counting 50 days from the Day of Firstfruits, brings us to the feast of Pentecost(exactly 7 weeks from the day of first fruits).

With the above information by our side, let’s start our examination. The 8 verses highlighted at the onset of this study has been broken down into 3 parts.

PART 1 – The “First day of the Week” and the Resurrection of Christ
Fact #1: Christ rose from the dead on the day of firstfruits(Sunday after Passover), which begins the 7 week (50 day) count towards Pentecost/Feast of Weeks.
Fact #2: Out of the 6 instances/verses given below, none of them carry the word “day” in the Greek. This word is given in italics in most English Bible Translations, denoting that it is a word inserted by translators.
Fact #3: If the word “day” is dropped from all of these verses, it would read “The First Week” or “The First of the Weeks”
Fact #4: In all of the below verses, (as Yeshua rose on the day of Firstfruits) the week that had begun or dawned, was in fact, “The First Week” or “The First of the Weeks” towards Pentecost/Feast of Weeks, as it was a counting of 7 Weeks that led to Pentecost.
Mat 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first(G3391) day of the week(G4521), came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
Mar 16:2 
And very early in the morning the first(G3391) day of the(G3588) week(G4521), they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
Mar 16:9 
Now when Jesus was risen early the first(G4413) day of the week(G4521), he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
Luk 24:1 Now upon the first(G3391) day of the(G3588) week(G4521), very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 
Joh 20:1 The first(G3391) day of the(G3588) week(G4521) cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 
Joh 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first(G3391) day of the(G3588) week(G4521), when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

G3391 – μία – mia – Irregular feminine of G1520; one or first: – a (certain), + agree, first, one, X other.
G3588 – ὁ, ἡ, τό – ho hē to – The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom): – the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.
G4413 – πρῶτος – prōtos – Contracted superlative of G4253; foremost (in time, place, order or importance): – before, beginning, best, chief (-est), first (of all), former.
G4521 – σάββατον – sabbaton – Of Hebrew origin [H7676]; the Sabbath (that is, Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extension a se’nnight, that is, the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications: – sabbath (day), week.

PART 2 – The “First day of the Week” and the breaking of bread by the Disciples
Fact #1: Similar to the 6 verses highlighted in PART 1, Acts 20:7 does not carry the word “day”
Fact #2: Acts 20:6 highlights that Paul sailed from Phillipi amid* the days of unleavened bread, coming to troas in 5 days and dwelling there for 7 days, placing the breaking of bread comfortably in “The First Week” or “The First of the Weeks” towards Pentecost/Feast of Weeks.

Act 20:6  And we sailed away from Philippi after(G3326)* the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.
Act 20:7  And upon the first(G3391) day of the(G3588) week(G4521), when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

*G3326 – μετά – meta – A primary preposition (often used adverbially); properly denoting accompaniment; “amid” (local or causal); modified variously according to the case (genitive case association, or accusative case succession) with which it is joined; occupying an intermediate position between G575 or G1537 and G1519 or G4314; less intimate than G1722, and less close than G4862): – after (-ward),X that he again, against, among, X and, + follow, hence, hereafter, in, of, (up-) on, + our, X and setting, since, (un-) to, + together, when, with (+ -out). Often used in composition, in substantially the same relations of participation or proximity, and transfer or sequence.

PART 3 – The “First day of the Week” and the collection for the saints in Jerusalem
Fact #1: Similar to the verses highlighted in PART 1 & PART 2, 1Cor 16:2 does not carry the word “day”
Fact #2: The collection mentioned in this verse was to be taken to Jerusalem
Fact #3: Visiting Jerusalem 3 times a year for the feasts, including Pentecost/Feast of Weeks, was a Commandment given by God(Deut 16:16), and Paul was aware of it (Act 20:16)
Fact #4: Paul mentions that he will stay in Ephesus till Pentecost in 1Cor 16:8, which would mean that Pentecost/Feast of Weeks was at hand, connecting 1Cor 16 verse 2 with verse 8.
Fact #5: This would mean that Paul was asking the believers to gather the collection for the saints in Jerusalem in “The First Week” or “The First of the Weeks” towards Pentecost/Feast of Weeks, rather than waiting to collect the offering till his arrival.
Fact #6: This could not have been a weekly collection as it was supposed to be sent to Jerusalem

1Cor 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
1Cor 16:2 Upon the first(G3391) day of the week(G4521) let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
1Cor 16:3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.

Another Clue: Luke’s mention of the Second Sabbath after the First in Luk 6:1
Fact #1: The phrase “Second Sabbath after the First” makes little sense in the below verse. Understanding that Seven Weeks/Sabbaths were supposed to be numbered from Firstfruits till the Pentecost/Feast of Weeks, helps us understand this phrase better.
Fact #2: According to Luke, this event happened in the 2nd Week of 7 Weeks towards Pentecost
Fact #3: This is a clear indication that the numbering of “Weeks” leading upto Pentecost/Feast of Weeks was a well known fact by Scholars such as Luke, in the 1st Century, which was used as a marker to highlight a time of year
Fact #4: The timing given by Luke (2nd Week towards Pentecost) and the disciples walking through the corn fields also make absolute sense, as this would be the time when fields are beginning to ripen and are full with grain.

Luk 6:1  And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first(G1207)(G4521), that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.

G1207 – δευτερόπρωτος – deuteroprōtos – From G1208 and G4413; second first, that is, (specifically) a designation of the Sabbath immediately after the Paschal week (being the second after Passover day, and the first of the seven Sabbaths intervening before Pentecost): – second . . . after the first.

Conclusion
The 8 verses that carry the phrase “First day of the Week” in the New Testament writings should ideally read “The First Week” or “The First of the Weeks”. Each of the 8 instances/verses in question relate to the “time” (of counting seven weeks) that lead towards Pentecost. While “First day of the Week” misinterprets and misrepresents the New Testament accounts leading people to believe that “Sunday” replaced the “Sabbath” which was commanded by God and adhered to by Yeshua & His believers, it is my belief that the above evidence proves that no such change happened at all. The only verses that are used to promote “Sunday” observance instead of the “Sabbath”, are not speaking of the “First day of the Week”, but are speaking of the “First Week” leading upto Pentecost as a marker of time. I hope all of you do your own research whether this conclusion is true, so that all of us better understand the Scriptures leading people out of the massive confusion most bible translations have made over the years.

Questions
Q1. What about the “Lord’s Day”? Isn’t that “Sunday”? The only mention made of “The Lord’s Day” in the whole of the New Testament happens in Rev 1:10. There is no evidence to believe that this is “sunday”. If at all, the day that is referred here by John, could be the “Day of the Lord”(2Pet 3:10, 1Thes 5:2, Act 2:20, Mal 4:5, Joe 2:31) which is the day when He brings judgement at His return.
Q2. Can we be sure that just because the word “day” is not seen in the Greek, it is not insinuated,and should be read as the “First day of the Week”?  There are numerous examples in the New Testament where the word “day”(G2250 – ἡμέρα – hēmera) is used along with a number (eg. first day[Mar 14:12], third day[Joh 2:1], seventh day[Heb 4:4], eighth day[Luk 1:59], etc.). The fact is, it is not used even once in these 8 instances where it could have been easily used. If it was meant to be read as “First day of the Week” and not “First Week” or “First of the Weeks”, the writers could have easily included the word day in each of these verses.

Historical Proof that Saturday is the Sabbath

Most of us have been taught that the Sabbath Day has been changed/moved to Sunday or that it is impossible to know the correct day which was kept as the Sabbath, even in the time of Christ. Even though there is no Scriptural or Historical proof to backup the theory that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday, by Christ or any of the Disciples, this is not what we hope to examine in this study.

This post provides 3 clear witnesses, as evidence to prove that the “Sabbath” day in the New Testament is in fact the day which is presently known as “Saturday”. The facts will be laid out for every discerning student of the Scriptures, to examine for themselves. Can history prove that the day we now call “Saturday” is the same day which was observed by Christ and His Disciples as the “Sabbath”? Let us examine the evidence.

Paul, in his first letter to Timothy writes “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses”(1Ti 5:19) quoting a Law on judging people which was taken from the Old Testament(Deut 19:15). Similarly, we will also provide 3 witnesses to make the case that the word “Sabbath” was in fact the day which is known as “Saturday”. We sincerely hope that you will hear the facts from the 3 witnesses and decide for yourself, what verdict should be given.

Calling of Witnesses

Witness #1
Pg 75, Jesus in Context: Background Readings for Gospel Study - edited by Darrell L. Bock, Gregory J. HerrickA Roman historian named Cassius Dio who wrote about Roman History, gives an account of Wars waged between Rome & Judea. In it he explains the capture of Jerusalem in 63BC saying “As it was, they made an exception of what are called the days of Saturn, and by doing no work at all on those days afforded the Romans an opportunity in this interval to batter down the wall. The latter, on learning of this superstitious awe of theirs, made no serious attempts the rest of the time, but on those days, when they came round in succession, assaulted most vigorously.  Thus the defenders were captured on the day of Saturn, without making any defense, and all the wealth was plundered”. Cassius wrote that the Romans who learned that the Jews rested on the Days of Saturn (Saturday which was known as Saturn’s Day in Rome), attacked the Jerusalem stronghold on those days. These words also tally with the writings of Josephus, showing us that Saturn’s Day in Rome coincided with the day kept as the Sabbath by the Jews, even in the 1st Century BC.
Reference – Cassius Dio – Roman History 37.16.1-4 [A]

Witness #2
Pg 97, Sunday in Roman Paganism - By Robert Leo OdomA Roman Soldier named Frontinus in his book named Strategems writes the account of the destruction of the 2nd temple in Jerusalem in 70AD, saying “The divine Vespasian attacked the Jews on the days of Saturn, on which it is forbidden for them to do anything serious, and prevailed.” Similar to the words of the historian Cassius Dio, this Roman soldier equated the day of rest (Sabbath) of the Jews to the Day of Saturn (Saturday which was known as Saturn’s Day in Rome). This account of Vespasian (also known as Titus) attacking Jerusalem on Sabbath days, tallies with the account seen in the Historical works of Josephus as well.
Reference – Frontinus – The Stratagems 2.1.17. [B]

Witness #3

Strong's Greek Concordance

The meaning of the Greek word Sabbaton (G4521) alongside all the occurrences in the New Testament

The Greek Language and the ancient Manuscripts of the New Testament also give evidence of the connection between the word “Sabbath” and the day which has been named “Saturday”. The Greek word “Sabbaton”(Strong’s Greek Concordance – G4521 – σάββατον) used in the Original Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament which is translated as “Sabbath” in English, is the same word that is used for “Saturday” in the Greek language even today. In other words, the day which is known to us as “Saturday”, is called “Sabbato” (σάββατο) by the Greeks even today. This is a remarkable piece of evidence which has survived almost untouched to our very present age, making “Sabbath” and “Saturday” one in the same. Saturday translated to GreekA person who is unsure about this fact can look at any Greek-English Dictionary to seek further verification. The easiest tool to translate English into Greek that anyone could use would be Google Translate, as seen in the thumbnail to your right. This goes to prove that wherever we see the word “Sabbath” in our New Testament English translations, it originally meant a particular day (which is proven to be none other than what we know as “Saturday” today.
Reference – Strong’s Greek Concordance & Dictionary [C]

Objections

Some bring objections against the above witnesses by arguing that one of the major calendar changes in history would have also affected the “Saturday Sabbath”. We need to consider this valid objection and see whether it holds true. This piece of evidence that is brought against our 3 witnesses is the “Julian to Gregorian calendar change”.

The Julian calendar was instituted in 46BC by Julius Caesar and was the most widely used calendar in Rome, making this the calendar which the Romans would have used in the time of Christ and subsequently His disciples.

The Gregorian calendar which is the civil calendar used by the whole world today, was put into effect in 1582AD by Pope Gregory XIII. Pope Gregory’s Calendar effectively skipped a few days, when this change was made to the Julian calendar in 1582. This is what most who object bring as a witness to say that the “Saturday Sabbath” would have for sure changed with this change that was done to the calendar system.

Calendar change from Julian to GregorianWhat most people do not understand is that the amount of days dropped from the Julian Calendar, when it was changed to the Gregorian calendar, did not in anyway effect the 7 day week. In other words, even though 10 days were removed from the calendar, it did not effect the individual days (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc.). An example is given in the above thumbnail which indicates this change of Calendars that was put into effect in 1752 in the UK. Note how the removal of days do not effect the 7 day week. (Please refer this link for more information on this subject)

Closing Argument

The testimony of the 3 witnesses makes it very clear that the Day which is known today as “Saturday” is none other than the “Sabbath” mentioned in the New Testament. The “Day of Saturn” or “Satur-day” was the day known by the Romans to be the same day as what was observed by the Jews as the Sabbath. The Greek word “Sabbaton” is the unmistakable proof that the word “Sabbath” in the New Testament, is in fact “Saturday”.

Through reading the New Testament alone, we know that the Pharisees disagreed on how Yeshua observed the Sabbath, but there were no arguments made against the day that was observed by Christ. This makes it clear that the same day that Christ kept in accordance to God’s 4th commandment (Mark 1:21, 6:2, Luke 4:16, 13:10) was the day which was widely observed by the Jews as the “Sabbath”.  This is also the same day that the disciples including Paul observed (Luke 23:56, Act 13:14, 15:21, 17:2, 18:4).

If Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) also kept God’s rest day on “Saturday”, it would be highly unlikely that the “Sabbath” instituted and instructed by God Almighty could be any other day. And because the 7 day week has not been effected in anyway for the past 2000 years, the “Saturday Sabbath” also has not been exposed to any change, making each “Saturday” the “Sabbath” day, instituted by our Heavenly Father and followed by Christ and His disciples. It is upto each of us to look at the provided evidence and make a judgement for ourselves. Whether we believe the Sabbath is “Saturday” as the witnesses suggest, or whether we refuse it, is completely in our own hands.

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[A] Pg 75, Jesus in Context: Background Readings for Gospel Study – edited by Darrell L. Bock, Gregory J. Herrick
[B] Pg 97, Sunday in Roman Paganism – By Robert Leo Odom
[C] Pg 1154, Main Concordance & Pg 79, Greek Dictionary of the New Testament – The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nelson’s KJV) – James Strong
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What is the Biblical Day, Week, Month, Year? and does it really matter?

Questions are often raised regarding the Biblical Day, Week, Month & Year, while some even regard it worthless. The internationally accepted calendar system(known as the Gregorian Calendar) which is in use today, is not the same as the Biblical Calendar. When God created the Sun and the Moon, it was for the benefit of His creation to know His Appointed times and also the divisions of days and years as He set it to be.

sun moon and stars
Let us examine the Scriptures and find out the Day/Week/Month/Year which is Biblically accurate, and study the differences and similarities of the Standard Gregorian Calendar which is in use today, to the Biblical Calendar instituted by God.


————————————————– DAY —————————————————

Differences/Similarities between the Gregorian Day/Biblical Day
The Standard Calendar Day is calculated from Midnight to Midnight, while the Biblical day is from one Sunset to the next. The Biblical Day and Gregorian Day both seem to agree on the division of the day into a 24 Hour period. One could think that it’s strange to calculate a 24 hour day from one evening to the next. It actually is not that strange, when you think of the Gregorian day, which is calculated from one Midnight to the next. In the case of the Biblical Day, it starts with the Sunset, while the Gregorian Day starts in between the Sunset and the Sunrise.

The Biblical Day
♦ The Biblical day was divided into 12 Hours/Parts of Daytime (John 11:9) and presumably 12 Hours/Parts of Night (Mat 20:6)
♦ The Biblical day starts at Sundown
→ God’s Prophetic Appointments were to be from evening to evening [Sundown to Sundown] (Exo 12:18, Lev 23:32).
→ Nehemiah orders the Gates of Jerusalem to be closed when it was getting dark, denoting the sabbath started at evening (Neh 13:19)
→ The laws of uncleanness denotes that a person who becomes unclean because of a reason such as coming to contact with a carcass will be unclean till evening. If the person becomes unclean at night, he/she is unclean till the next evening (Lev 11:24,25, Deut 11:23)
→ A person who is put to death was supposed to be buried before the evening (Deut 21:22,23, Jos 8:28, 10:26,27)
→ Samson asks a riddle that needed to be answered within 7 days. The philistines answer him before the eve of the seventh day, denoting the end of the day was at sunset (Judg 14:12,18)
→ The sabbath was about to start when Yeshua was taken down from the cross in the eve (Luk 23:54, Joh 19:31)

————————————————– WEEK —————————————————

Differences/Similarities between the Gregorian Week/Biblical Week
Both the Gregorian and Biblical Calendar weeks consists of 7 days. In ancient times, some cultures have had weeks which contained differing number of days and some cultures still use these today. Even though the number of days in a week, is equal in both Calendars, the day numbers vary. (Eg: Most European countries consider Monday as the first day of the week, while many Middle-East countries consider Saturday as the first day)

The Biblical Week
♦ The Biblical Week has seven days
→ God’s creation took 6 days and a 7th day of rest, so that the week contains 7 days (Exo 20:9-11)
→ The feast of Weeks (Pentecost – which means 50 days) was to be celebrated by counting 7 weeks (Lev23:15,16, Deut 16:9,10)
→ The number seven is connected to the word “week” in the Scriptures (Gen29:27)
♦ The days in the Biblical week did not have names such as “Monday, Tuesday, etc.” The days in the Biblical week were numbered as 1st Day, 2nd Day, 3rd Day, 4th Day, 5th Day, 6th Day & the 7th Day which was known as the Sabbath. (Exo 16:5,22, Exo 20:11, Joh 2:1)
♦ The 7th Day in the Biblical Calendar is the day corresponding with Friday Eve/Sunset to Saturday Eve/Sunset in the Gregorian Calendar.
→ The Greek word used for the “Sabbath” in the Original Manuscripts of the New Testament  “sabbato” is the same name used for Saturday in Greek even today! In other words ; In Greece, the day which is called “Saturday” is still called “Sabbato” – the same word which is in the Original Greek New Testament Manuscripts which is translated as “Sabbath” in English.
→ Look at the similarities in the names used for Saturday in other Languages and “Sabbath” – Arabic: Sabet, Armenian: Shabat, Bosnian: Subota, Bulgarian: Sabota, Corsican: Sàbatu, Croatian: Subota, Czech: Sobota, Greek: Sabbato, Indonesian: Sabtu, Italian: Sabato, Latin: Sabbatum, Polish: Sobota, Portuguese: Sábado, Russian: Subbota, Serbian: Subota, Slovak: Sobota, Slovene: Sobota, Somali: Sabti, Spanish: Sabado, Sudanese: Saptu, Ukrainian: Subota
The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed. vol. 4, p. 988, tells us: The week is a period of seven days, having no reference whatever to the celestial motions — a circumstance to which it owes its unalterable uniformity… It has been employed from time immemorial in almost all eastern countries. The Hebrew people spoke of the days of the week by number rather than by name. The only day that had a name was the seventh day which was called Shabat, the Sabbath, or the rest day. In at least 108 different languages the name for the seventh day, corresponding to our “Saturday”, is a word meaning “rest day.”
Some point out the Calendar changes in history makes it impossible to know the actual day of the Sabbath. This theory is inaccurate. The change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, has had no effect whatsoever upon the order of the days of the week. (click here for details on this calendar change). Because of this, the Calendar changes has had no effect towards Saturday which is still the same day Yeshua celebrated the Sabbath on.

————————————————– MONTH —————————————————

Differences/Similarities between the Gregorian Month/Biblical Month
The Gregorian Calendar system has no reason for a Month to be 28,29,30 or 31 days. This system was a main characteristic of the Gregorian Calendar, and was done so that the days of the year would equal to 365 days. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, the Biblical Calendar depends on the Moon to calculate the beginning of the month. A complete revolution of the Moon is considered a Month in the Biblical Calendar. Science determines that a Moon revolution lasts roughly about 29.5 days, and because of this reason, a Biblical Month lasts 29 or 30 days.

The Biblical Month
The Biblical Month is connected to the Moon in Scripture
1Ki 8:2  And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month(H3391-ירח- yerach-month) Ethanim, which is the seventh month(H2320-חדשׁ-chôdesh-new moon). The 2 Hebrew words translated as Month in our English Versions are “Yerah” and “Kodesh”. “Yerah” means Month, while “Kodesh” means New Moon. See 1Kin 6:38 as well.
Gen 29:14 & Num 11:20,21 contains “space of” or “whole” month, using the Hebrew word “Khodesh” while 2Kin 15:13 & Deut 21:13 contains “full” month, using the Hebrew word “Yerah”. Both these words are clearly connected, showing the relation of Moon to Month, Biblically.
♦ The New Month, or the first day of the Month is proclaimed when there is a New Moon which is identified by the first visible sliver of the Moon.
→ The New Moon(Kodesh) is mentioned as a “particular day” in 1Sam 20:5,18, 2Kin 4:23, Eze 46:1,6 indicating that it was a day which was proclaimed in some way.
→ The word Hodesh originates from a Hebrew word called H2318-חדשׁ-châdash which means “new”, “to make new” or “renew”. The moon itself is not renewed, but with the Lunar cycle, the light of the Moon increases, becomes full, decreases and goes dark. And it is again renewed, and the cycle continues. In this way, when the first sliver of light is seen on the Moon, the beginning of the month is proclaimed.
→ Some hold to the belief that the Conjunction (Full dark Moon) is the New Moon as per Modern Astronomy. This is hard to believe, as the people in ancient times would not have been able to accurately know the day of Conjunction as the Moon can stay dark for more than 2 days
♦ Much like the sun indicates the beginning of a day, the Moon indicates the beginning of the Biblical Month. Even an uneducated person could have understood when the New Month begins, just by looking up at the sky, with this sign that God created in the Heavens.

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Differences/Similarities between the Gregorian Year/Biblical Year
The Gregorian Calendar system calculates a year by counting 365 days (366 days in a leap year) which is the time it takes for the earth to finish a revolution around the Sun, hence it is known as a Solar Calendar. The Biblical Calendar on the other hand, depends on the Sun and Moon both to calculate the beginning of the Year, hence being known as a Luni-Solar Calendar. Even though January 1st is regarded the day of the New Year in the Gregorian Calendar (Roman Consuls in the time of the Roman Empire, as far back as 153BC, first entered office on January 1st), The Biblical Calendar is determined completely differently.

The Biblical Year
♦ The Biblical Year began with the New Moon when the Barley Harvest was in the stage of ripening which was called “Abib” in the Scriptures. The period between Biblical New Years have 12 or 13 months or New Moons.
→ The month of the Abib is called the first month in Scripture (Exo 12:2, 13:4, 34:18)
Abib is a state of ripening in Grains. Exo 9:31,32 And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear(Abib), and the flax was bolled. But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up. (H24 – אביב – aw-beeb’ – A state of ripening)
→ Abib is the state which is, in between the stage of green colour ripening grain and completely ripe golden streaks of grain. It is the stage when the grain is a light yellowish colour.
→ The Month of Abib is also known as Nisan in the Scriptures (Est 3:7, Neh 2:1)
→ The Month of Abib is usually the month that the Spring/Vernal Equinox happens
♦ To this day, the Karaite Jews in Israel engage themselves in an exercise called the Abib Search to ascertain whether the First Month can be proclaimed. This way, when the Grain is Abib and the Sliver of the New Moon appears in the Sky, the First Biblical Month is proclaimed.

Conclusion
One could ask whether knowing the “Biblically Accurate” dates, really matter? Or whether there is any value in understanding and studying these things and knowing both the similarities and differences in our Standard Calendar and the Biblical Calendar? When God says 7th Day, He means the 7th Day and no other Day. When He says the 1st Month, He means the 1st Month and no other month. Jeroboam the 1st King of the Divided Kingdom of Israel, did just this. He instituted a Feast on the 8th Month, which was like God’s Feast, when God had specifically told people to celebrate the Feast on the 7th Month (1Kin 12:32,33).

As Messiah Yeshua quoted from the Book of Isaiah, saying “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men (Isa 29:13/Mat 15:8,9). It is my belief that it is better to follow God, than man. It is better to follow God’s Word, than any man’s word. And it is better to follow God’s Calendar, than any man made calendar.

I am in no way saying, that we should throw the Gregorian Calendar away, as it is recognized as the standard amongst the whole world. But I am saying that all of us need to learn God’s Calendar and use His days and His ways to worship, honor and draw close to Him. The lack of knowledge of His calendar has led to so many misunderstandings and mistakes in our walk with Him. His Appointed Times/Feast all depend on His Calendar. This is the same Prophetic Calendar which Yeshua used and fulfilled by His Death(Passover), His Resurrection(Firstfruits) and Giving of the Holy Spirit(Pentecost). It is time to mend our ways and come back to Him. Are we really too technologically advanced to adhere to His Calendar by lifting up our eyes to the Sun and the Moon that He created?

Pentecost and the Feasts(Appointed times) of God

The giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is nothing new to Christians. Most of us have read the Pentecost event over and over again, and it remains one of the main events in Christian history. While Pentecost is celebrated throughout all Christian congregations, the unknown fact is that Pentecost is first mentioned not in the New Testament of our Bibles, but in the Old. Today, we will delve into the Pentecost event and learn the hidden meaning behind this event and how it is part of “The Feasts/Appointed Times” instituted by God Almighty in Lev 23.

Let us find out the meaning of the word Pentecost from the Original Greek Manuscripts
Strong’s Greek ConcordanceG4005 – πεντηκοστή – pentēkostē – pen-tay-kos-tay’ – fiftieth

Pentecost literally meant fiftieth. But what was this event, and where did it originate from? Pentecost is mentioned 3 times in the New Testament. Namely in Acts 2:1, 20:16 & 1Cor 16:8
We know that According to Acts 20:16, Paul was keen on being in Jerusalem for the “Day of Pentecost” (Fiftieth Day, as Pentecost means Fiftieth). To learn more about “Pentecost” or “The Fiftieth Day”, we need to go to Lev 23 to learn about God’s Feast days, as Pentecost is only one of God’s 7 Feast Days.

Understanding the Feasts (Appointed Times) of God
In Lev 23:2 God spoke to Moses saying, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations*, even these are my feasts**.

Let us look at the definition of the word translated as “Feast” in the Original Hebrew Manuscripts. Strong’s Hebrew Concordance – H4150 – מועד – mô‛êd – mo-ade’ – appointment

A better word for “Feast” would be “Appointment” as per the original meaning.
God proclaimed that these are “Holy assemblies*” & “His Appointments**“, in Lev 23:2

The “Feasts” or “Appointments” of God are mentioned 1st, not in Leviticus, but in Genesis.
Gen 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:
The word “Seasons” in Gen 1:14 and “Feasts” in Lev 23:2 is the same word in the Original Hebrew Manuscripts, “H4150 – Moed – Appointment”. When Gen 1:14 talks about seasons, we would automatically think of “Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter”. But God is actually talking about His Appointments.
It would be vastly different if we read this verse as:
Gen 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 appointments, and for days, and years.

Brief Summary of the Appointments of God written in Lev 23
1. The Sabbath – Every 7th Day (Lev 23:3)
2. Passover & the week of Unleavened bread – 14th of the 1st Month is Passover / 15th to 21st is the week of U.B. ; The 15th and the 21st are Special Sabbaths (Lev 23:5-7)
3. First Fruits – The day after the 7th day Sabbath, which is right after Passover (Lev 23:10,11)
4. Feast of Weeks also known as Pentecost – The 50th day counted from First Fruits (Lev 23:15,16)
5. Trumpets – 1st day of the 7th Month (Lev 23:24,25)
6. Atonement – 10th day of the 7th Month (Lev 23:27-30)
7. Tabernacles – 15th to 22nd day of the 7th Month ; 15th & 22 are Special Sabbaths (Lev 23:34-36)

Note: God’s month starts with the new moon(1Kin 8:2 contains H3391 – yerach – month & H2320 – kho’-desh – new moon which are both translated as month in the English translation).
The new year dawns when the new moon coincides with the Harvest becoming Green. (Exo 23:15 contains H24 – aw-beeb’ – young ear of grain, green ears of corn which means “Abib” meant when the harvest was turning green).
This might look primitive to us who are living in the age of technology, but God made this system, so that even a simple farmer could go out and figure this out for himself even if all methods of technology got destroyed tomorrow.

Feast/Appointment of Weeks which is also called Pentecost in Greek Lev 23:15,16
And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.

The above verse talks about the 4th Feast in the list of Appointments given by God Almighty, to His people. It is generally known as the Feast of Weeks in the Scriptures(Exo 34:22, Deut 16:10,16, 2Chr 8:13). This was known as the Feast of Weeks because the people had to count 7 weeks from the Feast of First Fruits. (7days x 7 +1 = 50days)

“Pentecost” or “Feast of Weeks” as it is known in the Old Testament, was one of the 3 Appointments that God Specifically said all men should appear before Him.(People were supposed to come from their cities, wherever they lived, to God’s Temple in Jerusalem- Deut 16:16). These 3 appointments were,
1. Week of Unleavened Bread, which included Passover   2. Weeks   3.Tabernacles

Going back to the New Testament, Acts 1:3-5 records that Yeshua (Jesus’ true name) was seen by the disciples for 40 days after His resurrection, and that He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem till they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We know that according to the Bible, Yeshua rose on the Feast/Appointment of First Fruits. (Read this article for more information on this topic). If He ascended to the Father after 40 Days, this means that Pentecost would have been 10 days away. Acts 2:1 records that the Disciples were all together for the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost. The reason behind Jews from every nation to be in Jerusalem, at Pentecost according to Acts 2:5, was that they had come for this Feast of God according to God’s Commandment (discussed above) which said every male has to appear before God on these feasts(Deut 16:16).

Furthermore, “Pentecost” or “Appointment of Weeks” fulfilled some major prophecies given in Scripture. God had said that He will put a new Spirit in people, that they may walk in His Commandments (Ezek 11:19,20, 36:26,27).  In Acts 2:17-21, Peter also refers to what the Prophet Joel said in Joel 2:28-32 about God’s Spirit being poured out to people. Is it just coincidence that God gave His Spirit on the Feat of Weeks? Let us look at the significance of these says which are mentioned in Scripture.

The Significance of God’s Feasts/Appointments
1. The Sabbath – Weekly appointment to remember God is the Creator of all things who created the universe in 6 days and sanctified the seventh (Exo 20:11) & it is a sign between Him and His people forever (Exo 31:13,17)
2. Passover & the week of Unleavened bread – Appointment to remember how God saved His People from Egypt & Bondage through the blood of a lamb and how they did not eat leaven which signified Sin (Exo 12:5-7, 11-20)
3. First Fruits – The Appointment in which people brought their Firstfruit to the priest to be offered upto God. It is believed that Israel crossed over the Red Sea on this day (Num 33:5-8)
4. Weeks, also known as Pentecost The Appointment in which God wanted people to bring the best of their Harvest. It is believed that God spoke out His Commandments on this day (Exo 19:1)
5. Trumpets – The appointment established as a wake up call to the impending day of Judgement when one is to atone for his/her Sins (Lev 23:24,25)
6. Atonement – The appointment in which the High priest would enter the Holiest of Holies to offer a sacrifice for the people’s sins, so that God’s judgement would not overcome them (Lev 23:27-30)
7. Tabernacles – The appointment to remember that God was with His people throughout the wilderness journey. (Lev 23:34-36,42,43)

Renewed Significance of God’s Feasts/Appointments in Yeshua
1. The Sabbath – Weekly appointment to remember God is the Creator of all things and that we have entered into His Covenant, keeping the Sabbath as a sign between Him and us, that we are His people. This is the only appointed day that is repeated all throughout the year, bringing us to remembrance of He who has saved us, also looking forward to the impending rest given by Yeshua which is Life after Death (Heb 4)
2. Passover & the week of Unleavened bread – Appointment to remember how God saved His People from Egypt & Bondage through the blood of a lamb and how they did not eat leaven which signified Sin. Also that God saved us from bondage to Sin & death through the blood of Messiah Yeshua who was our Passover Lamb(1Pet 1:19) and that we are to live a sinless life putting out our old sinful ways which signified leaven(1Cor 5:8) [Yeshua died on a Passover, and was in the tomb by the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread]
3. First Fruits – The Appointment in which Yeshua was offered up as the Firstfruit of all who died (1Cor 15:20) and that we also should follow in His footsteps to become a chosen people, a Firstfruit unto God (James 1:18) [Yeshua rose on the Day of Firstfruits]
4. Weeks, also known as Pentecost – The Appointment in which God started to Harvest his own fields, which are His People(Mat 9:37) The Holy Spirit was given to bring to remembrance what Yeshua taught, which were not His words, but His Father’s (John 14:23-26) [Holy Spirit given to all who follow God through Yeshua, perfectly on God’s appointed day]

Another thing to point out, is that the first 3 Appointed days happen from the 1st Month to the 3rd Month(Passover, Firstfruits & Pentecost/Weeks). Then there is a period of silence. The next 3 Appointed days happen in the 7th Month(Trumpets, Atonement & Tabernacles). The first 3 coincide with the 1st wave of Rain in Israel and the First Harvest. The last 3 coincide with the 2nd wave of rain in Israel and the Second Harvest. This in turn is also prophetic as, when Yeshua came for the first time, He initiated God’s Kingdom on earth and His followers became the first Harvest. When He comes back the second time, He will Establish God’s Kingdom on earth and collect the rest of His Harvest according to His words(Mat 13:30). Just like there is silence from the 3rd to 7th Month, today we are in a period just like this, living after the first 3 appointments and awaiting the second 3.

5. Trumpets – The appointment established as a wake up call to the impending day of Judgement. Yeshua will return on a Day of Trumpets in the future. Is this an assumption? Why is then the trumpet mentioned when it talks about Christ’s return? Mat 24:31, 1Cor 15:52, 1Thes 4:16 (Some are under the impression that we cannot know when Christ will return. This is not entirely true. We do know when He will come, even though we do not know what year it will be. 1Thess 5:4 – We will do an in depth study of this in the future)
6. Atonement – The appointment in which the people are judged. This will probably be the day when God Judges the Earth. The day which is called the Great white throne judgement (Rev 20:11)
7. Tabernacles – The appointment to remember that God was with His people throughout the wilderness journey will probably be the same day that God will “Tabernacle” with man when a new heaven & a new earth is created by Him (Rev 21:3)

In short, all of these “Feasts” or “Appointments” are REMEMBRANCES of what God has done in the past and REHEARSALS of God’s future plans that are yet to happen.

In conclusion, I would just like to reiterate that Pentecost is not a New Testament celebration. It was not instituted after Yeshua’s Death. It was instituted by God in Lev 23. It is one of the Appointments He calls “My Feasts” Lev 23:2. If God stuck to a particular calendar and gave this calendar marked with His Appointments to us, shouldn’t we be present for these appointments?

Yeshua died on the Passover eve exactly according to God’s Appointed Times. Yeshua rose on Firstfruits exactly according to God’s Appointed Times. The Holy Spirit descended on His people on Pentecost/Weeks exactly according to God’s Appointed Times. There are 3 more of His Appointed Times which have not yet come to pass. (Trumpets, Atonement & Tabernacles) Shouldn’t we be paying a bit more attention to His Word & His Times? Or are we discarding these as pure coincidence? Pentecost is celebrated by many around the world, without them even knowing the significance of it. And some celebrate Pentecost but discard the other Appointed Days as “Old Laws”. “Old Covenant things”. “Done away in Christ”. I hope you have adequately seen the significance of these Appointments. My request to you is, that you read the Word for yourself, and check everything that is mentioned in this post.

I have given answers to some of the FAQs down below. I would be happy to answer any other questions that you may have, to the best of my ability.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Feasts written in Lev 23
Q: Aren’t these Jewish Feasts?
A: God calls them “His Feasts” in Lev 23:2. Furthermore, these appointments were given to all 12 tribes of Israel. Jews descend from Judah, which is only one tribe of Israel. The reason they are known as “Jewish Feasts” is because the Jews are the ones who obey and keep these appointed days. But like His Commandments, these feasts were also given to His People, Israel.

Q: Why do we, as gentiles, need to commemorate these feasts if they were given to Israel?
A: (First of all read the definitions of Jew & Gentile here) A simple reason is that God said they were “His Appointed times”. The word “Seasons” in Gen 1:14 and “Feasts” in Lev 23:2 is the same word (Strong’s Dictionary – H4150 – Moed – Appointed time). Which means God talked about these appointed times at creation itself, when He created the Sun, Moon and Stars.
Furthermore, The 10 Commandments were only given to Israel. Don’t we need to Keep His Commandments even though it was given to Israel? How can we then pick and choose what to obey and what not to?

Q: Did Yeshua teach us to commemorate these feasts?
A: Yeshua kept the Feasts, thereby showing us how we should follow Him, even though there is no record of Him saying that we have to keep them (Luke 2:39-52, John 2:23, John 7:37-39). The bottom line is, that Yeshua taught people to obey God & His Word(John 14:24) and The Feasts/Appointments of God are part of His Word.

Q: Did Paul & the 1st Century church keep these feasts and teach about it?
A: The 1st Century church including Paul, would have kept all of the feasts in obedience to God. Some of them are recorded as well. (Acts 2:1-4, 18:21, 20:6, 20:16 / 1 Cor 16:5-9 ,5:7-8). Paul asked people to keep the Feasts(1Cor 5:8). Paul even asked people, not to let anyone judge them for keeping the Feasts(Col 2:16) – this verse is commonly misinterpreted as Paul saying not to let anyone judge them for not keeping the feasts(Read Q6 on this link for more info).

Q: Aren’t the Feasts only up till Yeshua?
A: Then why did Paul and the Apostles keep them? The best evidence for this question lies in prophecies that are yet to come to pass about Yeshua’s 2nd coming. We will need to keep these feasts even when Christ returns in the future (Zechariah 14:16-19 / Isaiah 66:22,23). So are we to believe that the Feasts were in effect upto the 1st Century Church. Now it is invalid. And it will be in effect again when Yeshua returns?

Q: How am I supposed to keep the Feasts?
A: Read the Scriptures and obey whatever God says. These are not rituals in any way. You do not need to light special candles and say special prayers. Just obey what God has said in His Word to the best of your ability, even if you are alone in doing it.

Is Sabbath, Saturday, Sunday or Everyday? Defining the Biblical Sabbath day – Part III

In the 1st Part of this study, we laid the groundwork in understanding The Sabbath day which is also God’s 4th Eternal Commandment. We learned that the Sabbath had a direct connection with the 7th Day of Creation. That God made it for man, so that he may be refreshed, just as God was refreshed on the 7th Day. That it is an important day for Him, as He calls it “My Holy day” and “My Feast/Appointment”. And that the only thing you cannot do on the Sabbath, according to God’s Commandment, is your regular work/occupation done for monetary gain. (If you have not read the 1st Part, please start there, as you will have a clearer understanding of the definitions).

In the 2nd Part of the study, we answered one of the most famous questions that people ask regarding the Sabbath; whether the Sabbath is Saturday, Sunday or everyday. We found out that the Sabbath cannot be Sunday, any day we like, or everyday as some presume, and that it has not been done away with yet. The most interesting finding was that the Original Greek Manuscripts proved that the Sabbath recorded in the new testament was indeed Saturday by showing us that the original Greek word translated as Sabbath “G4521 – σάββατον – sabbaton – sab’-bat-on” is still the name used for Saturday in Greek even today! (If you have not read the 2nd Part, please click here).

Today, as promised, we will address some of the famous questions and thoughts people have regarding the Sabbath. The questions addressed in this post are given below.

  1. Did Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) break the Sabbath, showing us that it is no more?
  2. Since the “Keep Sabbath Holy” Commandment is never mentioned in the New testament, it is clearly not important
  3. Hebrews 4 proves that Yeshua is our Sabbath rest, not any particular day. We should keep everyday holy, not any particular day
  4. The 1st Century Church met on Sunday’s since the “Lord’s Day”(Yeshua’s resurrection) is on Sunday, which means they didn’t keep the Sabbath.
  5. There is no mention of the Sabbath in the book of Revelations
  6. Col 2:16,17 proves that we do not need to keep the Sabbath
  7. Yeshua said that I am working just as Father God is always working. So we do not need to keep the Sabbath, as Yeshua & God is working on the Sabbath
  8. Yeshua gave Commandments that abolished the Old, which contained the Sabbath Commandment
  9. The Sabbath Commandment is not a Spiritual Commandment, while we are asked to keep the Spirit of the Law, and not the letter of the Law
  10. We are under grace and not under Law, so we do not need to keep the Sabbath
  11. Yeshua is the Lord of the Sabbath, so this Commandment ends with Him
  12. The Sabbath was made for Jews, not Gentiles. It was given to Israel and not the church
  13. It doesn’t matter which day you keep, as long as you keep one and you are fully convinced in your own mind according to Rom 14:5,6
  14. Sabbath keepers are working for their salvation and have fallen from Grace
  15. Gal 4:9,10 specifically says not to be in bondage to observing days
  16. Even if we do need to keep the Sabbath, we wouldn’t know which day it is because of the numerous calendar changes in history
  17. There is no proof in Scripture that the Sabbath is Saturday
  18. There is no Sabbath service near to where I live. Am I to keep Sabbath by myself? Isn’t it better for me to go on a Sunday and worship God along with others?
  19. How can this be right, when everyone I know including powerful Pastors & Teachers worship on Sunday instead of the Sabbath
  20. Their were strict Laws concerning the Sabbath such as not lighting a fire. Are we supposed to stay in the dark without cooking food just to observe this old Sabbath Law?

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Q1) Did Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) break the Sabbath, showing us that it is no more?
Accusation no.1: Yeshua defended His disciples, who broke the Sabbath by plucking and eating corn – Scriptures in concern – Mat 12:1-8, Mar 2:23-28, Luk 6:1-5

In these verses we see the pharisees accusing Yeshua’s disciple of breaking the Sabbath by plucking and eating corn. Nowhere in the Old Testament does it say, that you cannot pluck or eat on the Sabbath.  Then why and how can the Pharisees accuse the disciples of doing what is “not lawful”? (Please read – who were the pharisees). Because the pharisees had their own man made Law which is also called the “Oral Law” & “Tradition of the Elders”. (This Law has been written down today in a book form called the Talmud and is still adhered to by the Orthodox Jewish Community). Yeshua was not defending His Disciples, who the Pharisees accused of breaking the Sabbath. He was actually showing the Pharisees their error in adding to the Law of God (No one can add or diminish from God’s Law – Deut 4:2, 12:32), when there was no such Law regarding the Sabbath in the Scriptures. Yeshua’s defense was two pronged. 1) He related the story of David in 1Sam 21:3-6, thereby showing how feeding a man in hunger was not considered a sin, even when the priest gave them the bread in the temple specifically reserved for the priests themselves. 2) He showed how the Priests worked at the Temple on the Sabbath. The livelihood of the priest was their service at the temple. Even though they carried on with their day to day work, even on the Sabbath, which was working at the temple, it was not considered sin, as they were working for God.

Accusation no.2: Yeshua healed on the Sabbath, thereby breaking it – Scriptures in concern – Mat 12:10-13, Mar 3:1-5, Luk 6:6-10, 13:10-17, 14:1-6, John Chap 9

In these verses, the pharisees accused Yeshua of breaking the Sabbath as He healed people from their infirmities. (Please read – who were the pharisees) Healing was considered work by the Pharisees according to their own “Oral Law” (Refer Talmud) as discussed above in “Accusation no.1”. But Yeshua clearly stated in Mat 12:12, that it is Lawful to do good on the Sabbath, according to God’s Word, as the only prohibition was regular work/occupation for monetary gain.

Accusation no.3: Yeshua asked a person to carry a bed, which was considered working on the Sabbath, thereby breaking it – Scriptures in concern – Joh 5:5-12

In this verse, Yeshua asked the man to take his bed and walk. Carrying anything, including a bed was considered work by the Pharisees according to their own “Oral Law” (Refer Talmud) as discussed above in “Accusation no.1”. (Please read – who were the pharisees). The Pharisees who had added to God’s Law, were making false accusations in all these instances against Yeshua, who had not broken God’s Sabbath. Yeshua had only broken the Sabbath according to the Pharisaic Laws.

Conclusion: In all the above instances, the accusations that the Pharisees brought against Yeshua were false accusations that had no bearing in Scripture according to God’s Law. Believing that Yeshua broke the Sabbath because of the accusations brought forward by the Pharisees, is quite a misguided theory. They accused Yeshua of casting out demons by the power of Satan as well(Mat 9:34, Mar 3:22, Luk 11:15). Just because someone accuses another, it does not make that accusation true. The key is to know who the pharisees were, and what their teaching was.

Also, consider these thoughts. If Yeshua broke the Sabbath, according to God’s Law(which He did not), how could He be a blameless, sinless person(1Pet 2:22, 2Cor 5:21, Joh 8:46, 1Joh 3:5) as breaking the Commandments is Sin(1Joh 3:4). If Yeshua broke the Sabbath, according to God’s Law(which He did not), why did the Chief priests and elders have to find “False” witnesses? (Mat 26:59, Mar 14:56) Couldn’t they have just stoned Him to death?

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Q2) Since the “Keep Sabbath Holy” Commandment is never mentioned in the New testament, it is clearly not important
It is true that Yeshua never spoke out the 4th Commandment specifically. Mat 19:17,18, Mar 10:19, Luke 18:20 shows a certain man coming to Yeshua asking “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” to which Yeshua answers “Keep the Commandments”(Mat 19:17) and goes on to elaborate “Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother”. He never mentions the Sabbath Commandment, in fact,   He does not mention any of the first 5 Commandments. Does this mean, we can have other Gods alongside God Almighty? Does this mean we can make idols and worship them? Does this mean we can take His name in vain? And does this mean we can break the Sabbath? I believe Yeshua expected anyone who believes in God to obey all of God’s Commandments. The ones He spoke out, were specifically expressed, maybe because they were the Commandments that were not clearly adhered to at that time.

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Q3) Hebrews 4 proves that Yeshua is our Sabbath rest, not any particular day. We should keep everyday holy, not any particular day
First of all, I must say, that the Book of Hebrews is a letter written to Hebrew people by an unknown author who is trying to make a single point. This point being “How Yeshua is our new High Priest and Mediator in Heaven between man and God”. Even though we read specific Chapters and Verses off this Epistle, it was written as a letter(without chapters or verses separated), and like all letters, we cannot pick and choose pieces from here and there. We must read the whole letter from beginning to end, to understand the real meaning of it. (Please go here, for a comprehensive study on Hebrews)

In Hebrews Chapter 1, We learn that Yeshua is now better than the angels. Chapter 2 is about how Yeshua was initially made lower than the angels and how He prevailed over sin and death.  Chapter 3 calls Yeshua our New High Priest and asks the reader to hold on to God till the end, and quotes Psalms 95:7-11 to show how Israel did not obey God in the wilderness, and in return did not enter into His rest. The author then explains that the people who God was angry with and could not enter into His rest were the ones who provoked Him, sinned against Him and did not believe in Him.

Chapter 4 – the Chapter in focus – a simple commentary
4:1 Author continues the same point made in Chapter 3, saying we should fear God and not come short, and thereby not enter into His rest
4:2 Showcases the difference between us (the reader) and them (the people in the wilderness) and how they fell short because they did not have faith when it was the same Word preached to them and us
4:3,4 We who believe, enter in to this rest. Then the author quotes Psalms 95:11 showing that there is a pending rest for us, even though God finished His work on the 7th day.
4:5 Author quotes Psalms 95:11 again highlighting the word “Enter”
4:6 We must enter into God’s rest, unlike the people in the wilderness who did not enter because of their unbelief
4:7 Author refers back to Psalms 95:11, where David says “Today” and that the time when David wrote this Psalm was a long time after the wilderness journey
4:8 Even though Joshua took the people into the Promised Land (which was their “Rest”), the author suggests that God is talking about another “Rest” through David. (Special note: KJV has Jesus in place of Joshua. This is a mistake which has been rectified in most other versions of the Bible, and is one of the key pieces of evidence to suggest that Jesus had the same name as Joshua which was mistaken by the KJV interpreters)
4:9 author says that there is a Rest for God’s people. (The word translated as “Rest” in this verse is G4520 – σαββατισμός – sabbatismos – sab-bat-is-mos’ – From a derivative of G4521; a “sabbatism”, that is, (figuratively) the repose of Christianity (as a type of heaven): – rest,
and is different from the word “Rest” used in all of the other verses. (G2663 – κατάπαυσις – katapausis – kat-ap’-ow-sis – From G2664; reposing down, that is, (by Hebraism) abode: – rest.)
4:10 whoever has entered into God’s rest has ended their work as God ended His own work. The author is talking about the Rest of death, and being gathered to Abraham and our forefathers to await for the New Kingdom of God, ruled by Yeshua our King.
4:11 Author says that we must labour to enter into that rest, without falling into unbelief
4:12 For the Word of God shows us the right way without falling to unbelief
4:13 And God sees into our hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him
4:14,15 Yeshua is our High Priest who is in Heaven, who knows our weaknesses, who was tempted like us but did not fall into sin
4:16 So, let us come to throne of Grace, to obtain mercy, in the time of need.

Looking at the above commentary, we can see clearly that the author is not saying that the Sabbath is done away, or that Yeshua is our Sabbath in any way. The Rest, talked about in Hebrews 4 is the Rest we will have in Yeshua, at the end of our journey, when we enter into His Kingdom. We must keep ourselves Holy(without Sin) everyday, but the Sabbath remains a day specially consecrated by God.

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Q4) The 1st Century Church met on Sunday’s since the “Lord’s Day”(Yeshua’s resurrection) is on Sunday, which means they didn’t keep the Sabbath.
This question contain 2 parts.
1) The belief that the 1st century church met on the 1st Day of the Week, which is Sunday, discarding the Sabbath.
Acts 20:7 & 1Cor 16:2, shows us how the assembly was gathered on the 1st Day of the Week. Does this mean that they did not keep the Sabbath? Hardly. Acts 2:46, shows us how people assembled together daily. And Paul himself regularly went to the Synagogue on Sabbath(Acts 17:2). The fact is, that the 1st Century Church attended synagogue on Sabbath and met the rest of the days in the temple and each others’ houses.

2) Isn’t Sunday the Lord’s Day?
Some say, the reason behind meeting on Sunday, is that He rose from the dead on that day. (By saying this, they further establish that Saturday is Sabbath, as Yeshua rose after the Sabbath). The Lord’s Day is mentioned only once in the New Testament, in Rev 1:10, and Yeshua or His apostles never commanded us to keep that day special, while the Sabbath Commandment is seen throughout the Scriptures spoken out of the Mouth of God, written down with the Finger of God, and is part of the Commandments that are forever to which even Yeshua agreed(Mat 5:18, Luk 16:17). What most fail to see is that, “The Lord’s Day” also means the great day of judgement, which is also called “The day of the Lord” throughout scripture. (Isa 13:6, Joe 3:14, Oba 1:15, Zep 1:14, Zec 14:1, Mal 4:5, Act 2:20, 1Cor 5:5, 1Thes 5:2, 2Pet 3:10). In Rev 1:10, John could be saying that he is witnessing the great and dreadful Day of the Lord, as he is seeing what is about to happen at the end of time.

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Q5) There is no mention of the Sabbath in the book of Revelations
The book of Revelations contain a lot of information about the End Times. And true to the point made, there is no mention of the Sabbath in this book. But, is this definite proof that The Sabbath is no more? Let’s look at some facts.

Rev 12:17  And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Rev 14:12  Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Rev 22:14  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

The Commandments mentioned in the book of Revelations are the 10 Commandments given by God. The Sabbath Commandment is also part of these 10. Additionally, In the future, after the Final Judgment, the Sabbath will still be in effect (Isa. 66:22-23). If the Book of Revelations mention God’s Commandments in a positive, if not indispensable way, how can anyone say that the Sabbath is no more using the Book of Revelations?

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Q6) Col 2:16,17 proves that we do not need to keep the Sabbath
Col 2:16  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Some say, that this verse proves that Paul wanted no man to keep the Sabbath. People interpret this verse as: Let no man judge you “because you do not adhere to” meat, drink, respect of an holyday, the new moon, or the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

But the converse can also be true. It could be interpreted as: Let no man judge you “because you do adhere to” meat, drink, respect of an holyday, the new moon, or the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (Some of the Jews were known to dislike Gentiles who tried to obey God’s ways).

In Col 2:20-22, Paul goes on to explain that, we are not subject to laws, commandments and doctrines of men. We must ask ourselves only one question. Are the Food Laws or Sabbaths mentioned in the Word of God; laws, commandments and doctrines of men? The whole context on what not to do, is around laws & traditions of men (Col 2:8). Paul could be telling the new believers in Colossi, who were previously gentiles, who were trying to adhere to God’s Law, to not let anyone judge you and tell you how to keep God’s Law, other than how it is written in the Scriptures alone.

Additionally, another point to note is that Paul says that the Sabbath, Holydays, etc are “Shadows of things to come”. The reason God gave the Sabbath & holy days were as shadows of things to come. (Passover – Yeshua’s death / Pentecost – Giving of Holy Spirit / Trumpets – Yeshua’s Second Coming, etc) But, as Paul says, the completion of all things are in Yeshua.

If one says, Col 2:16,17 is proof that Paul told the Colossians not to be judged for not keeping the Sabbath. One could also say that Paul was telling the Colossians not to be judged for keeping the Sabbath as well.

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Q7) Yeshua said that I am working just as Father God is always working. So we do not need to keep the Sabbath, as Yeshua & God is working on the Sabbath
In John 5:17, Yeshua replies to the Jews who were trying to persecute Him for healing a man on the Sabbath saying that He works just as Father God does. What did He mean by “The Father works”? Yeshua did no miracle through His own power, but God worked through Him (Joh 14:10). He did the work of Father God(Joh 10:37). So, whatever miracles that Yeshua did was, actually the Father working through Him. And as we studied in the 1st part of this study, we know that the only work prohibited on the Sabbath was, what was done to make a living/ occupation done for monetary gain. Yeshua merely showed the pharisees and all who followed their teaching (which was contrary to God’s Word) that doing Good things was allowed and Lawful on Sabbath (Luk 6:9, Mat 12:12, Mar 3:4)

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Q8) Yeshua gave Commandments that abolished the Old, which contained the Sabbath Commandment
Contrary to popular belief, Yeshua never replaced the 10 Commandments with 2 New Commandments. The 2 commandments mentioned in the New Testament were directly quoted from the Old Testament(Deut 6:5, 10:12(Love God) & Lev 19:18, 34(Love neighbor). These 2 Commandments were known by others before Yeshua spoke them out (Luke 10:25-28). The 2 Commandments were summaries of the 10 Commandments. (Please refer this post for further study on this subject)

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Q9) The Sabbath Commandment is not a Spiritual Commandment, while we are asked to keep the Spirit of the Law, and not the letter of the Law
Some quote Rom 7:6, saying we are no more under the Old written Law(which included The Sabbath Commandment), but we serve Him through the Holy Spirit. The mistake these people make is not clearly understanding what Paul means by this remark. Let us review some of the things Paul says about the Law, in the letter to the Romans.

  1. Paul does not make the Law void. He establishes it (Rom 3:31)
  2. Paul says that the Law is not sin, and he would not have known what sin is, if it wasn’t for the Law (Rom 7:7)
  3. Paul says the Law & the Commandments are Holy, just and good (Rom 7:12)
  4. Paul says the Law is spiritual (Rom 7:14)
  5. Paul delights in the Law of God (Rom 7:22)
  6. Paul serves the Law of God (Rom 7:25)

Paul himself says that the Law(which contains the Sabbath Commandment) is Spiritual and that he serves, delights and establishes it. But then what does he mean by “delivered from the Law”?

Please read this post to understand more about the Biblical definitions of “Sin”, “Law” & “Grace.
In short, Sin is Breaking the Law/Lawlessness.(1John 3:4).
The Law can do only 3 things ;
1. Bless us if we keep it (Deut 11:26,27)
2. Curse us if we don’t (Deut 11:26,28)
3. Let us know what sin is (Rom 3:20, 7:7).

The new Covenant mentioned in Heb 8:8-11 which is quoted from Jer 31:31-34 says that God will put His Law inside our minds and write it on our Hearts. This is essentially the New Covenant. What Paul means in Romans 7:6 is that we are dead to the Law which said that we are cursed and deserve death for our sins, through Yeshua our Savior and His Righteousness. And that we serve God in Spirit rather than in written letter. (The written Commandments were rigid, while Yeshua taught how to connect Heart & Mind to the Commandments. Eg: The written Commandments said “Thou shall not commit adultery” while Yeshua said, “Even if you think an adulterous thought, you are committing adultery”)  Paul cannot mean that the Law & God’s Commandments are done away with, as he would be going against his own words listed up above. What he is saying is, that we no longer serve in the rigidness of the written Law, but the Spirit of the Law, which talks directly to our Hearts & Minds. In conclusion, this verse does not prove that the Sabbath with the other Laws of God have been abolished in any way.

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Q10) We are under grace and not under Law, so we do not need to keep the Sabbath
Some quote Rom 6:14 saying, we are not under the Law but under Grace, so we do not need to keep The Sabbath which is part of the Law. Please read this post to understand more about the Biblical definitions of “Sin”, “Law” & “Grace and what Paul meant by this verse.

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Q11) Yeshua is the Lord of the Sabbath, so this Commandment ends with Him
One of the favorite scriptures used to debunk the Sabbath is Yeshua being the Lord of the Sabbath (Mat 12:8, Mar 2:28, Luk 6:5). Some even say, that Yeshua showed that the Sabbath was not important by saying “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” in Mar 2:27.

The Sabbath was indeed made for man as God specifically said that it is given to man, so he would be refreshed(Exo 23:12), just like God rested on the seventh day and was refreshed (Exo 31:17).

Through Yeshua’s proclamation of being the Lord of the Sabbath in Mar 2:28, what did He mean? Remember, that this was the reply He gave to the Pharisees who accused His disciples of breaking the Sabbath, as discussed in Q1 in this post. Yeshua did not excuse the breaking of the Sabbath. He merely showed what it meant to break the Sabbath. (Please read question 1 in this post for a better understanding on this issue). And Yeshua, rightfully, is the Lord of the Sabbath. But this does not make the commandment void in any way.

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Q12) The Sabbath was made for Jews, not Gentiles. It was given to Israel and not the church
First of all read these definitions : 1. Jew & Gentile    2. Israel    3. Church
The Sabbath was not made for the Jews. It was made for man and given as a Commandment to Israel – God’s people. Jews are only one tribe of people, from the children of Israel. Gentiles are people who do not know God. Israel is God’s chosen people forever. The word “Church” means “assembly”, and it relates to the people who believe in God. If you believe in God you are part of the Church & Israel. You are no more a Gentile, when you come into the Covenant with God. If you believe in God, you have no choice but to obey His Commandments. We should obey Him because we Love Him, not because we have to obey Him. (Please read the links given above for more information on this subject).

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Q13) It doesn’t matter which day you keep, as long as you keep one and you are fully convinced in your own mind according to Rom 14:5,6
Paul in the letter to the Romans said he does not make the Law void, he establishes it (Rom 3:31). The Law is not sin, and he would not have known what sin is, if it wasn’t for the Law (Rom 7:7). The Law & the Commandments are Holy, just and good (Rom 7:12). The Law is spiritual (Rom 7:14). He delights in the Law of God (Rom 7:22). He serves the Law of God (Rom 7:25).

The same Paul seem to be suddenly saying that we have the freedom to do as we will. Is Paul saying, that if we want to, we can eat anything and If we want to, we can keep or not keep the Sabbath if we are fully convinced in our own mind? Which means each of us can do things how we see fit instead of doing what God has commanded us. Or could it be that he is talking about a completely different subject, which is Fasting? The whole chapter is talking about eating or not, and what day is better than another. The argument could have been on what day was better to fast on. The fact is, the Sabbath is not mentioned here at all. Please read the whole Chapter for a better understanding on this verse.

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Q14) Sabbath keepers are working for their salvation and have fallen from Grace
In Gal 5:4, Paul tells the people in Galatia that “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” What does it mean to be justified by the Law?

Law, as we know is God’s Commandments.
Breaking the Law is Sin(1Joh 3:4).
And the Law can do only 3 things
1. Bless us if we keep it (Deut 11:26,27)
2. Curse us if we don’t (Deut 11:26,28)
3. Let us know what sin is (Rom 3:20, 7:7).

Can we attain righteousness by keeping the Law? Can we be justified in front of God by keeping the Law? Can we attain righteousness with our own strength? This is what Paul addresses in Gal 5:4. If anyone seeks to be justified by the Law(attain righteousness through their own power by keeping God’s Commandments), that person has lost God’s favor/grace, as he or she is putting faith in him/herself rather than in Yeshua, who was the atoning sacrifice for us. If Righteousness could have been attained by each of us through keeping the Law, Christs death is in vain (Gal 2:21). Yeshua died for all of our Sin. Because of His death, Sin has no more dominion over us. When Yeshua died for our sin, we moved from being under God’s Commandments and the penalty of breaking it, which is death, to being under His favor/Grace (Rom 6:14).  But, just because we have God’s Favour, and because we are no more under the penalty, can we Sin(Break God’s Law)?  No we cannot. (Rom 6:15). Please read this post for more information on this subject.

You fall from Grace if you try to attain righteousness by your own power, by putting faith in yourself. You do not though, fall from Grace by obeying God and His Commandments (which contains the Sabbath commandment) because you Love Him. Can you fall out of someones favor because you obey that person? Just by obeying God and His Commandments(which contain the Sabbath Commandment as well) you cannot fall from His Grace.

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Q15) Gal 4:9,10 specifically says not to be in bondage to observing days
Reading Gal 4:8, we understand that the people in Galatia did not know God at one time, and was serving things that are not God. Paul then goes on to ask in verse 9, why they are turning back to weak and beggarly elements, after they have come to know God. So the days, months, times and years mentioned in Gal 4:10 cannot be God’s Sabbaths and appointments. Paul just asked them why they are turning back to weak and poor principles/beggarly elements. Are God’s Sabbath and His Commandments the weak and poor principles Paul is asking the Galatia assembly about? Is this the bondage he is talking about? Or is it that the Galatians were turning back to their former observances done before?

We know that the Galatians did not know God at one time, and they wouldn’t have kept the Sabbath, when they did not know God’s Commandments. Ask yourself this question. If it was the Sabbath, Paul was talking about, How can the Galatians be turning back to observing the Sabbath which they did not observe in the first place? These observances must be days and months that come from different pagan cultures.

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Q16) Even if we do need to keep the Sabbath, we wouldn’t know which day it is because of the numerous calendar changes in history
The Seven Day Week has never been effected with the numerous changes done to the Calendar systems in history. Meaning there has never been 2 consecutive mondays, tuesdays, etc. The 7 day week has continued on as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and so on and so forth, without any change. Which means the 7th day in Yeshua’s time is still the 7th day, today! (Please refer any Encyclopedia to recheck this theory) The 7 day cycle has never been broken to date!

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Q17) There is no proof in Scripture that the Sabbath is Saturday
As we saw in the 2nd Part of this study, the word translated as “Sabbath” in our English translations come from (G4521 – σάββατον – sabbaton – sab’-bat-on) in the Original Greek Manuscripts. The word “Sabbato” is still in use in Greece, as Greeks call Saturday “Sabbato”. (Please check this for yourself in any Greek – English Dictionary) Let me put this in another way. In Greece, the day which is called “Saturday” is still called “Sabbato” – the same word which is in the Original Greek New Testament Manuscripts which is translated as “Sabbath” in English. SABBATH = SABBATO = SATURDAY. There is no doubt about it.

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Q18) There is no Sabbath service near to where I live. Am I to keep Sabbath by myself? Isn’t it better for me to go on a Sunday and worship God along with others?
We can worship God on all 7 days of the week. You are not breaking the Sabbath by going to a Sunday Service. The only thing which was banned on the Sabbath was your regular work. Even if you go to worship meeting on Sundays, remember that the Sabbath is the day which was separated and commanded to be remembered by God. It was a sign between Him and His people(Exo 31:13,17)

This is not some kind of ritual. You don’t need to light candles and say special prayers, as none of it is Commanded in the Scriptures. Refrain from buying, selling, working or making others work for money. Set the day apart for studying and worshiping the God of Creation and the Sabbath. Do anything and everything, if it means helping others in need. The Sabbath spans from Friday Sundown to Saturday Sundown as per the Biblical day (Lev 23:32, Neh 13:19, Luk 23:34)

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Q19) How can this be right, when everyone I know including powerful Pastors & Teachers worship on Sunday instead of the Sabbath
The only thing I can say to you is, in the Bible itself there are many stories where the people who obeyed God was the Minority. Just because the majority does not obey God, it does not make the wrong, right. God could choose to use anyone to help people and release them from their infirmities (Even the pharisees had the power to cast out demons – Luk 11:19). Each of us is given a measure of knowledge by God. What matters is, what we do with that measure. “to whom much is given, much will be required”.

I used to believe that the Sabbath was no more as well, at one time. But when God opened my eyes to the Truth, I chose to obey. We cannot pick and choose what we like out of the Scriptures. We need to look at it as a whole and come to our own conclusions through the helper Yeshua left us, God’s own Holy Spirit. Pray for your friends, Pastors & Teachers, that they may also see the truth and start obeying God without question.

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Q20) Their were strict Laws concerning the Sabbath such as not lighting a fire. Are we supposed to stay in the dark without cooking food just to observe this old Sabbath Law?
Some say, Are you seriously saying we need to keep a Commandment which even has a Law attached to it, which says you cannot even light a fire on the Sabbath? If God has commanded, we have to obey. But we need to understand what He meant by this first. What did He mean by not lighting a fire? Did He mean that everyone has to go hungry that day, because you cannot cook a meal? Did He mean that you have to sleep in the cold and freeze to death because you cannot light a fire? We have to understand God’s Words and His Laws before we make any assumptions.

In Exo 35:2,3, God speaks through Moses saying, Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.
What is the context of Exo 35:3? Why does He say not to light a fire? Because God did not want anyone to do “regular monetary work” on that day. Remember that fire was essential for “work” at that time. If someone uses this verse to say “If you keep the Sabbath, you shouldn’t even cook using fire”, I would show them Exo 12:16 which talks about the High/Special Sabbaths of Unleavened Bread, and how God specifically says that people can prepare their meals on these special Sabbath days.

Some point to the punishment in Exo 35:2, and say, “Are we to put people who break the Sabbath to death? Surely, this is not a commandment for today”.
When this Commandment was given to the people, God himself reigned as King over them. He directly solved matters regarding everything through Moses. On the other hand, today, we are in exile. We are scattered around the world waiting for God to come back and establish His kingdom. He alone can punish a person who breaks His Commandments. When He said “shall be surely put to death”, that was a curse of the Law. The punishment for breaking God’s Commandments is Death. This is what Yeshua took upon Himself, so that we could have Grace when we fall short. It is not an open invitation for us to freely break God’s Commandments, just because we have Grace. That is making the blood of Yeshua into a worthless thing.

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Conclusion
The Sabbath is quite a complex subject, with people teaching that it has been abolished for many hundreds of years. We must put our faith in God’s Word, rather than any man’s preaching or teaching and audit ourselves. Test every teaching and every verse we know, that goes against God’s Word. I sincerely hope this study has helped you clear out some of the questions you had. Even though it is a very long post, there was no way of shortening it more, as without hard facts shown through Scripture, we can make our own doctrines very easily. It has already led our world to have many denominations with various teachings which have no foundations in the Word of God. As with all of my other studies, I ask you to check everything which is written in this post and to make your conclusions using only the Word of God. May God Almighty bless you for your obedience in keeping His Commandments which include The 7th Day Sabbath!

Is Sabbath, Saturday, Sunday or Everyday? Defining the Biblical Sabbath day – Part II

In the 1st Part of this study, we laid the groundwork in understanding The Sabbath day, which is also God’s 4th Eternal Commandment. We learned that the Sabbath had a direct connection with the 7th Day of Creation. That God made it for man, so that he may be refreshed, just as God was refreshed on the 7th Day. That it is an important day for Him, as He calls it “My Holy day” and “My Feast/Appointment”. And that the only thing you cannot do on the Sabbath, according to God’s Commandment, is your regular work/occupation done for monetary gain. (If you have not read the 1st Part, please start there, as you will have a clearer understanding of the definitions).

We were supposed to address questions in the 2nd part of this post, but I have decided that the more important question to address is whether the Sabbath is actually Saturday, Sunday, Everyday or no more. We will continue this study further into a 3rd part, where we will answer all the questions listed down on Part 1. Today, we will look at the 4 positions people have taken regarding the Sabbath, and come to a conclusion using Scripture as evidence. As mentioned above, the 4 positions are
1)Sabbath is Saturday   2)Sabbath is Sunday   3)Sabbath is Everyday   4)Sabbath is no more

Only one position can be true.

What exactly is the 7th Day?
In our Modern Calendars, there is a reason for a 365 Day year. There is a reason for 29,30 or 31 day Month. There is a reason for a 24 Hour Day. But is there a reason for a 7 Day Week? The 7 day week can only be traced back to the Creation account, as there is no valid reason for us to divide the year into weeks with 7 days. The question about the Sabbath amongst most Christians revolve around what this 7th Day is. Is it Saturday? Sunday? Can it be any day or everyday? Or is there no way of knowing which is the 7th day?

Even though today, we have names for the 7 days of the week, there were no names for the days of the week in the Bible, Old Testament as well as New. In the Scriptures, the days of the week are called 1st day, 2nd day, 3rd day, 4th day, 5th day, 6th day & Sabbath. You see evidence for this even in the New Testament(Joh 2:1).

What most Christians do not understand is that, “Sabbath” was also the name given for the Seventh Day(Exo 16:26). Can we call everyday Saturday? Can Tuesday be called Saturday? In the same way, the Sabbath is a name given to a particular day and cannot be moved. You cannot call the 3rd Day, Sabbath. the 7th day alone was called the Sabbath, which meant “rest”.

Is Sabbath Saturday?
Let us look at the original word used in the Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament which is translated as “Sabbath” in English.
G4521 – σάββατον – sabbaton – sab’-bat-on – Of Hebrew origin [H7676]; the Sabbath (that is, Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extension a se’nnight, that is, the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications: – sabbath (day), week.

We see that the Greek word used for the “Sabbath” (G4521 – σάββατον – sabbaton – sab’-bat-on) sounds very similar to the Hebrew word (H7676 – שׁבּת – shabbâth – shab-bawth’). The most interesting point that most have not noticed yet, is that Saturday is called by the same word in Greek even today! (Please check this for yourself in any Greek – English Dictionary) Let me put that in another way. In Greece, the day which is called “Saturday” is still called “Sabbato” – the same word which is in the Original Greek New Testament Manuscripts which is translated as “Sabbath” in English.

SABBATH = SATURDAY!!!

How can anyone refute the fact that Saturday is Sabbath, if the 2 words match? It is as if, everywhere in the New Testament where the word “Sabbath” is mentioned, you could replace it with “Saturday” instead.

For example,
Luk 4:16  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on saturday, and stood up for to read.
Act 17:2, And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three saturdays reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
Luk 23:56  And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested on saturday according to the commandment.

I wonder if it was translated as such, whether people would still refute the fact that Sabbath is Saturday and that it is still in effect.

Further proof can be seen by the days which are celebrated as Yeshua’s(Jesus’ true name) death & resurrection. Yeshua’s death was before the Sabbath according to John 19:31, Mark 15:42,43, Luk 23:52-54 and is celebrated on Friday by Christians around the world,  while His Resurrection was after the Sabbath according to Mt 28:1-6, Mar 16:2-4, Luke 24:1-3, Joh 20:1,2 which is celebrated on Sunday. What is the Day after Friday and before Sunday? Saturday of course! (Find out more about Yeshua’s Death & Resurrection here)

Further research on the words used for Saturday in other languages will also show you how The Word Sabbath is connected to Saturday. Even the Encyclopedia Britannica says that Saturday is the Seventh Day.

What about Sunday?
Sol Invictus (“Invincible Sun”) was the official sun god of the late Roman Empire. After “Constantine the Great” converted to Christianity, he changed the Saturday Sabbath to worship on Sunday. On March 7, 321, He declared “The venerable day of the Sun” (Sunday) – as the Roman day of rest. Which the majority of the world has adopted as the day of rest and worship. (Please read any Encyclopedia for this historical information). Just because the majority does it, does not make it right. I am not saying, one should not worship God on Sunday. I am merely saying that Keeping Sabbath is God’s Commandment. We can meet and praise Him the rest of the Six days as well, if we want to, but the Sabbath is special to God. (Lev 23:2,3)

What about how the 1st century church met on the 1st Day of the Week, which is Sunday?
Acts 20:7 & 1Cor 16:2, shows us how the assembly was gathered on the 1st Day of the Week. Does this mean that they did not keep the Sabbath? Hardly. Acts 2:46, shows us how people assembled together daily. And Paul himself regularly went to the Synagogue on Sabbath(Acts 17:2). The fact is, that the 1st Century Church attended synagogue on Sabbath and met the rest of the days in the temple and each others houses.

Isn’t Sunday the Lord’s Day?
Some say, the reason behind meeting on Sunday, is that He rose from the dead on that day. (By saying this, they further establish that Saturday is Sabbath, as Yeshua rose after the Sabbath). The Lord’s Day is mentioned only once in Rev 1:10, and Yeshua or His apostles never commanded us to keep that day special, while the Sabbath Commandment is seen throughout the Scriptures spoken out of the Mouth of God, written down with the Finger of God, and is part of the Commandments that are forever to which even Yeshua agreed(Mat 5:18, Luk 16:17)

The Lord’s Day also means the great day of judgement, which is called “The day of the Lord” throughout scripture. (Isa 13:6, Joe 3:14, Oba 1:15, Zep 1:14, Zec 14:1, Mal 4:5, Act 2:20, 1Cor 5:5, 1Thes 5:2, 2Pet 3:10). In Rev 1:10, John could be saying that he is witnessing the great and dreadful Day of the Lord, as he is seeing what is about to happen at the end of time.

But isn’t Sabbath Everyday?
Some say that the Commandment says to work 6 Days and rest on the Seventh Day. So we can work on any 6 Days and rest on the Seventh. The only problem with this idea is that, if this idea was true, everyone would have different days that they kept the Sabbath, While Lev 23:2,3 point to a standard day of the week, which cannot be moved.

Others say, with the numerous changes done to the Calendar in history, we cannot possibly know which day the original Sabbath is. The problem with this thought is that, people do not understand that the changes done to the calendar has never effected the 7 day week. Meaning there has never been 2 consecutive mondays, tuesdays, etc. The 7 day week has continued on as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, etc without any change. Which means the 7th day in Yeshua’s time is still the 7th day, today!

Romans 14 is the most famous verse quoted by most to say Sabbath can be everyday. Let’s put this to the test. As in all of Paul’s Epistles, we only see one side of the story. As Paul is addressing questions and issues of the particular assemblies through his letters, we have to be very careful not to misinterpret what Paul says. Remember Peter’s warning about Paul’s Letters (2Pet 3:15,16). Even though we read specific Chapters and Verses off this Epistle, it was written as a letter(without chapters or verses separated), and like all letters, we cannot pick and choose pieces from here and there. We must read the whole letter from beginning to end, to understand the real meaning of it. Reading Romans from the beginning will give you a better understanding of what Paul says. He even says that he does not make the Law void. He establishes the Law(Rom 3:31). He speaks to people who knows the Law(Rom 7:1). He says that the Law is spiritual(Rom 7:14). He delights in God’s Law(Rom 7:22). The Law contains the Sabbath commandment as well. We cannot pick and choose what Laws we want to adhere to, out of the 10. So what is Paul trying to address here in Romans 14? The issue in question, I believe is not the Sabbath, as he would be going against his previous words, if that was so. Rom 14:5,6 shows us that it is a matter of regarding one day above another and eating or not eating. So, could he be talking about Fasting? The argument could have been on what day was better to fast on? The fact is, the Sabbath is not mentioned here at all.

Isn’t the Sabbath done away with after Yeshua?
God has called His Commandments eternal. Even Yeshua has said that not a single thing will pass from the Law, till Heaven and earth exist, and till all is fulfilled. All of the Law has not been fulfilled yet. Neither has Heaven and Earth passed away. How is it that people have taught us that God’s Sabbath Commandment is no more?

If it was done away with, why did Yeshua’s disciples keep the Sabbath, including Paul after His Death? Where exactly did Yeshua say that the Sabbath Commandment is no more?

Let us check the only Scripture that has been misinterpreted to say that the Sabbath is done away with – Colossians Chapter 2
As with all of Paul’s epistles, we must clearly understand what he is trying to say. Remember Peter’s warning about Paul’s Letters (2Pet 3:15,16). Do not read a verse, but the whole letter, as Paul did not write the Epistle with verses and chapters.

Col 2:16 is quoted by many, saying “see… Paul clearly says that not to let anyone judge you for not keeping a holy day, a Sabbath or a New Moon”. Is this true? Or are we reading our own bias into this verse?

let us first see who Paul is talking to. Are the Colossians, people who used to keep the Sabbath or any Holy Days? Obviously not. They are gentiles who have started believing in God Almighty.

In Col 2:1-7, Paul praises them for their faith and asks them to build themselves up walking in Christ.

Col 2:8, he says not to let anyone spoil you with philosophy, vain deceit, after the “traditions of Men” and the “principles of the world”. (God’s Word & His Commandments are not Traditions of Men or principles of the world)

Col 2:9-15, he says that Yeshua has raised us up from death to life and taken out the “Handwriting of Ordinances” (which were the curses of the Law – Please read the “Isn’t Law a curse” subject in this post) nailing them to the cross.

Now we come to the verse in question. Col 2:16, Paul says “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath.”Is he saying that we can eat and drink anything we like and not keep any holydays, new moons or Sabbaths, which are all commanded by God? Is Paul saying we are free from all of these because Yeshua nailed the Law to the Cross? First of all, what was nailed to the cross was not the law but the curses of the Law & the barrier which said Gentiles cannot become Children of God.

While some say Paul is saying not to let anyone judge you regarding “not keeping/obeying” these things, the converse can also true. Paul could be just as easily saying not to let anyone judge you regarding “keeping/obeying” these things. Can you see how we read our own bias into the verse? We need to understand that the Colossians would have been new believers who were trying to keep/obey these laws such as food, drink, holy days, new moons & Sabbaths (which are all God’s Commandments), and were being harassed/judged for doing those by some of the Jews. So Paul says, not to let anyone judge you for keeping/obeying those laws.

Further proof for this can be found in Col 2:20-22.
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

He asks the Colossians to not be subject to ordinances/Laws which are of Men. Is the Sabbath a Law or doctrine of Man or God? God is the one who instituted the Sabbath. Not Men. Nothing which is written in the Scriptures are commandments and doctrines of men. If God Commanded the Sabbath, how can Paul say that it is a commandment of Man?

Reading our own bias into one scripture in the whole Bible and using this one scripture to support that the Sabbath is done away with, is quite an erroneous teaching. We must look at God’s Word as a whole, where one verse cannot disagree with another. One author cannot disagree with another. God’s Word is just like Him, it is timeless. Without change.

In conclusion, I hope you have adequately seen, that the Sabbath, according to the Word of God, was and remains Not Sunday. Not Everyday. But Saturday alone. It is not abolished yet and will not be so, until the end of this age, when God will bring about a new heaven and a new earth according to God’s word. My prayer for you is that you will read the word and fully understand, obey His Word and walk in His Ways which include His appointment(Lev 23:2,3) which falls every week, “His Holy Day”, The Sabbath.

Is Sabbath, Saturday, Sunday or Everyday? Defining the Biblical Sabbath day – Part I

2000 years after Yeshua, the first Apostles and the New Testament accounts written in the Bible, there is much debate about what “Sabbath” means. Some think it is of little importance while others believe it is everyday. Some say, “Isn’t love that matters? and keeping God’s Commandments?” There are others who say, “Is God really so petty, that He wants us to keep a certain day holier than others?”

As this is quite a vast subject, with lots of questions and arguments around it, we will break this study down into 2 or 3 parts. In the 1st Part we will lay the groundwork in understanding The Sabbath day which is also God’s 4th Eternal Commandment.

In Part 1, we will cover these areas

  1. Biblical Definitions behind the word Sabbath
  2. The origins of the Seventh Day Sabbath
  3. The connection between the 7th Day of Creation to the Sabbath
  4. Why was this Commandment given to man?
  5. Is the Sabbath a day of special significance to man or to God?
  6. What is this Commandment? How do we obey it?
  7. The do’s and dont’s of the Sabbath
  8. The truth behind the claim that the 7th Day of Creation is not a 24Hour day
  9. Scripture References and important facts about the Sabbath

In Part 2 of this study, we will move onto answering some of the questions and thoughts that exist about the Sabbath.

  1. Did Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) break the Sabbath, showing us that it is no more?
  2. Since the “Keep Sabbath Holy” Commandment is never mentioned in the New testament, it is clearly not important
  3. Hebrews 4 proves that Yeshua is our Sabbath rest, not any particular day. We should keep everyday holy, not any particular day
  4. The 1st Century Church met on Sunday’s since the “Lord’s Day”(Yeshua’s resurrection) is on Sunday, which means they didn’t keep the Sabbath.
  5. There is no mention of the Sabbath in the book of Revelations
  6. Col 2:16,17 proves that we do not need to keep the Sabbath
  7. Yeshua said that I am working just as Father God is always working. So we do not need to keep the Sabbath, as Yeshua & God is working on the Sabbath
  8. Yeshua gave Commandments that abolished the Old, which contained the Sabbath Commandment
  9. The Sabbath Commandment is not a Spiritual Commandment, while we are asked to keep the Spirit of the Law, and not the letter of the Law
  10. We are under grace and not under Law, so we do not need to keep the Sabbath
  11. Yeshua is the Lord of the Sabbath, so this Commandment ends with Him
  12. The Sabbath was made for Jews, not Gentiles. It was given to Israel and not the church
  13. It doesn’t matter which day you keep, as long as you keep one and you are fully convinced in your own mind according to Rom 14:5,6
  14. Sabbath keepers are working for their salvation and have fallen from Grace
  15. Gal 4:9,10 specifically says not to be in bondage to observing days
  16. Even if we do need to keep the Sabbath, we wouldn’t know which day it is because of the numerous calendar changes in history
  17. There is no proof in Scripture that the Sabbath is Saturday
  18. There is no Sabbath service near to where I live. Am I to keep Sabbath by myself? Isn’t it better for me to go on a Sunday and worship God along with others?
  19. How can this be right, when everyone I know including powerful Pastors & Teachers worship on Sunday instead of the Sabbath
  20. Their were strict Laws concerning the Sabbath such as not lighting a fire. Are we supposed to stay in the dark without cooking food just to observe this old Sabbath Law?

1) Biblical Definition behind the term “Sabbath”
So let’s get down straight to it, and check the Definition of the word “Sabbath” in the Original Hebrew Manuscripts. (We will check the Greek Definitions in the Second Part of this Study)

H7676 – שׁבּת – shabbâth – shab-bawth’ – Intensive from H7673; intermission, that is, (specifically) the Sabbath: –  (+ every) sabbath.

This word “shabbâth” originates from H7673. Let’s look at this word as well.

H7673 – שׁבת – shâbath – shaw-bath’ – A primitive root; to repose, that is, desist from exertion; used in many implied relations (causatively, figuratively or specifically): – (cause to, let, make to) cease, celebrate, cause (make) to fail, keep (sabbath), suffer to be lacking, leave, put away (down), (make to) rest, rid, still, take away.

Wherever the Seventh day Sabbath is mentioned, H7676 shabbâth is used in the Old Testament Scriptures. While H7673 – shâbath is used as the word “Rest” in most verses including Gen 2:2, where it says, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”

The connection between “Rest” and “Sabbath” can be seen in verses such as
Exo 16:29,30 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath(H7676), therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested(H7673) on the seventh day.

2Ch 36:21 To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths(H7676): for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath(H7673), to fulfil threescore and ten years.

Lev 26:34,35  Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths(H7676), as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest(H7673), and enjoy her sabbaths(H7676). As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest(H7673); because it did not rest(H7673) in your sabbaths(H7676), when ye dwelt upon it.

2) The Origin of the Seventh Day Sabbath
Some argue, that God did not institute the Sabbath on the Seventh day of Creation and even go on to say, that the Seventh Day of Creation could not be a Single 24Hour day. Let’s check whether these claims are true.

Gen 2:2,3  And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (This verse says that God Rested from His work on the Seventh Day and blessed and sanctified the Seventh Day, which He did not do to any other day. We see this connection clearly stated by God in Exo 20:10,11 when He gave His Commandments)

3)The connection between the 7th Day of Creation to the Sabbath.
Exo 20:10,11  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

4) Why was this Commandment given to man?
Exo 31:17  It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
Exo 23:12  Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
(God has said that it is a sign between Israel and Himself forever, and that it is given for rest and refreshment for man as it was for God on the 7th Day of Creation)

5) Is the Sabbath a day of special significance to man or to God?
Lev 23:2,3 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my “feasts”(H4150 – מועד – mô‛êd – an appointment). Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
Isa 58:13,14  If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
Isa 56:2-6  Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

The Sabbath is called “My Holy Day” and “My Feast/Appointment” by God along with other Feast/Appointed days which include days such as “Passover” & “Pentecost”(Pentecost means 50Days which refer to Lev 23:15,16 which was the same celebration everyone was gathered to in Acts 2:1. more on this in a later study on the Appointed days of God). He has also promised to Bless people who keep the Sabbath.

6) What is this Commandment? How do we obey it?
Since we have seen the clear connection between the Sabbath and Rest, we need to also understand a bit more about the Commandment of the Sabbath and the definition of keeping it “Holy” as well as what God meant when He said do not “Labour” and refrain from “Work“.

Exo 20:8-11  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it HOLY. Six days shalt thou LABOUR, and do all thy WORK: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any WORK, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Holy – H6942 – קדשׁ – qâdash – kaw-dash’to be (causatively make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally): – appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, (be, keep) holy (-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify (-ied one, self), X wholly.
This is the same word used in Gen 2:3 which is translated as “Sanctified” in English.

Labour – H5647 – עבד – ‛âbad – aw-bad’ – to work (in any sense); by implication to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.: –  X be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute, + husbandman, keep, labour (-ing man), bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve (-ing, self), (be, become) servant (-s), do (use) service, till (-er), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper.
This word has been translated to English as,
Till/Tiller/Tillest in Gen 2:5, 3:23, 4:2, 4:12
Dress in Gen 2:15
Serve/Served in Gen 14:4, 15:3, 15:14, 25:23, 27:29, 27:40, 29:15, 29:18,20,25,27,30, etc
Servant in Gen 49:15
Keep in bondage in Exo 6:5
Compel him to serve in Lev 25:39
Bondmen in Lev 25:46

WorkH4399 – מלאכה – melâ’kâh – mel-aw-kaw’ – properly deputyship, that is, ministry; generally employment (never servile) or work (abstractly or concretely); also property (as the result of labor): – business, + cattle, + industrious, occupation, (+ -pied), + officer, thing (made), use, (manner of) work ([-man], -manship).
– H5647 – עבד – ‛âbad – aw-bad’ – to work (in any sense); by implication to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.: –  X be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute, + husbandman, keep, labour (-ing man), bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve (-ing, self), (be, become) servant (-s), do (use) service, till (-er), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper.
This word has been translated to English as,
Business in Gen 39:11, 1Chr 26:29,30, 2Chr 13:10, 17:13, Est 3:9, Psa 107:23, Dan 8:27
Goods in Exo 22:8,11
Workmanship in Exo 31:3,5, 35:31, 1Chr 28:21
Industrious in 1Kin 11:28
Workmen in 2Kin 12:14,15, 1Chr 22:15, 25:1, 2Chr 24:13, 34:10,17, Ezr 3:9
Labour in Neh 4:22
Occupation in Jonah 1:8

According to the scores of Scripture above, you can clearly see that “Work”/”Labour” is not defined as “anything you do”(cooking, cleaning, helping someone in need, healing, etc). It is the Business you are involved with from Tilling the Ground to all other occupations we are involved in, to make a living.

7) The do’s and dont’s of the Sabbath
Further evidence for The Sabbath rest to be connected to rest from your occupation can be found in the below verse, which explains how Israel , at one time, was breaking God’s Commandment – The Sabbath, by going about their own occupations & businesses
Neh 13:15-22  In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves(Corn), and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals(game meat/hunted animals). There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware(Merchandise), and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath. 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. So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.

Frequently asked Question: If “work” in the Commandment is business oriented, why was the man in Num 15:32, who “gathered sticks” on the Sabbath punished?
The better question we need to answer here is, why was this man “Gathering” “sticks” in the first place? Let us see the meaning behind the words “Gather” and “sticks” used here.

“Gather” – H7197 – קשׁשׁ – qâshash – kaw-shash’ – to become sapless through drought; used only as denominative from H7179 [H7179 – קשׁ – qash – kash – From H7197; straw (as dry): – stubble].; to forage for straw, stubble or wood; figuratively to assemble: – gather (selves) (together).
This specific word “H7197 – kaw-shash” which is translated as “gather” is seen only 7 times in the Scriptures and is used in the case of gathering straw or wood as material for work such as Carpentry, Brick making or starting fires which was essential for industry in ancient times (Exo_5:7, Exo_5:12, Num_15:32, Num_15:33, 1Ki_17:10, 1Ki_17:12, Zep_2:1). Note: the word Gather can be seen in scripture over 150 times while this particular word is seen only 7 times

“Sticks” – H6086 – עץ – ‛êts – ates – a tree (from its firmness); hence wood (plural sticks): –  + carpenter, gallows, helve, + pine, plank, staff, stalk, stick, stock, timber, tree, wood.
This specific word is translated as “Tree” close to 200 times in the Bible, but is used only 10 times as “sticks”.

Could it be that this man was collecting wood for work? There is quite a bit of difference when you say that, “he was gathering sticks” and “he was foraging for wood”.

What about Exo 35:3, which says that one cannot light a fire on the Sabbath.
Some say, Are you seriously saying we need to keep a Commandment which has a Law attached to it, which says you cannot even light a fire? If God has commanded, we have to obey. But we need to understand what He meant by this first. What did He mean by not lighting a fire? Did He mean that everyone has to go hungry that day, because you cannot cook a meal? Did He mean that you have to sleep in the cold and freeze to death because you cannot light a fire? We have to understand God’s Words and His Laws before we make any assumptions.

In Exo 35:2,3, God speaks through Moses saying, Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day. What is the context of Exo 35:3? Why does He say not to light a fire? Because God did not want anyone to do “regular monetary work” on that day. Remember that fire was essential for “work” at that time. If someone uses this verse to say “If you keep the Sabbath, you shouldn’t even cook”, I would show them Exo 12:16 which talks about the High/Special Sabbaths of Unleavened Bread, and how God specifically says that people can prepare their meals on these special Sabbath days.

8) The truth behind the claim that the 7th Day of Creation is not a 24Hour day
Some claim that The Seventh Day of Creation like all the other days of Creation were longer periods of time, and that it has no connection to the 24Hour Sabbath Day because the 7th day of Creation was not a 24 Hour day. They claim that the week of Creation is Millions of years long and because of it, the 7th day of Creation is not a Sabbath. How else could we explain the remains of Dinosaurs and the questions that Science bring forward saying the earth is Millions of Years Old?

First of all, I must say, I do not disagree with “most” of what Science says. We clearly cannot refute the fact that Skeletons of Dinosaurs do exist, and they could be thousands of years old. I believe Dinosaurs did exist. But they had to have existed before Adam if they are Millions of years old. Whoa! some would call this notion Ludicrous. But just hear me out.

From Adam to today, is roughly close to 6000years. How do we know this? Because all of the Genealogies, Births, Deaths and dates have been provided for us in the Scripture without any missing links. (I have done my research on this, and this is not an assumption, but Scriptural fact). The Scriptures say Adam was 930 Years old when he died(Gen 5:5). If The days of Creation were long periods of time(Millions of Years), and Adam was Created on the 6th Day, wouldn’t he have died before the Seventh Day?

Reading the first two verses in the Scriptures can help us understand how the Dinosaurs, if they are millions of years old, could have lived before Adam. Let’s check this claim. (Please note that this is my interpretation of the event of Creation and not clear fact as most of the other scriptures we have read through.)

Gen 1:1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Gen 1:2  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

It is absolutely clear that God created the Heaven and Earth in the Beginning of time(whatever time this is. Please note, that this could have been Millions of years ago). But the 2nd verse shows us that the earth was suddenly formless and void with darkness upon the earth. Did God make a formless thing with darkness prevailing on it?(Remember all other things were made perfect in one go). So, could it be that there was a great amount of time between the 1st Verse and the 2nd Verse? What I am trying to say is, that God did not reveal everything to Moses(who wrote Genesis). Yes, God did Create everything at the very beginning, but between verse 1 & 2, something had terribly gone wrong with the earth(Maybe something like, what happened in the time of Noah).

Anyway, whether I am right or wrong, the Seventh Day of Creation cannot be a “Thousand Years”, as Adam would have died before entering the Seventh Day, if that was so.

Scripture References and important facts regarding the Sabbath

  1. The Sabbath is one of the 10 commandments (Ex. 20:8-11, Deut. 5:12-15).
  2. God finished His work of creation, rested, set apart and blessed the 7th day (Gen. 2:2-3, Ex. 31:14,17)
  3. God tells his people to keep the Sabbath so that we know that God is the one who sanctifies us (Ex 31:13)
  4. God tells his people to keep the Sabbath “throughout your generations – forever.” (Ex. 31:13, 16)
  5. The Sabbath is a sign of God’s authority over His people (Ex. 31:13, 17)
  6. The Sabbath commandment was written with the finger of God (Ex. 31:18, Deut. 9:10).
  7. God sent Israel into captivity for breaking and profaning the Sabbath (Nehemiah 13:17,18)
  8. Those who observe the Sabbath will be given “a place and a name better than sons and daughters” (Isa. 56:3-5)
  9. God promises to specially bless and bring those who keep the Sabbath to his Holy Mountain (Isa. 56:2,7)
  10. The Sabbath is intended to be a delight and people who keep it are blessed (Isaiah 58:13)
  11. In the future, after the Final Judgment, the Sabbath will still be in effect (Isa. 66:22-23)
  12. The Lord gave the Sabbath as a sign or a mark between Him and His people (Eze 20:12-24)
  13. God mentioned Sabbath breaking in a list of indictments against his people (Ezek. 22:8, 26, 23:38)
  14. The prophet Ezekiel describes a future temple in which the Sabbath will still be in effect (Ezekiel 46:1-12)
  15. God takes away the Sabbaths and the Feasts as a punishment (Hosea 2:1-11)
  16. Yeshua did not come to abolish even the least of God’s commandments (Matt. 5:17-19)
  17. Yeshua showed how to properly keep the 7th day Sabbath (Matt. 12:10-12, Mark 2:27-28, 3:2-4, Luke 6:1-11)
  18. Yeshua taught that the Sabbath would be in effect after his death and before the great tribulation (Matt. 24:20-21)
  19. Yeshua set an example by observing the Sabbath (Mark 1:21, 6:2, Luke 4:16, 13:10)
  20. Even after His crucifixion, some women “rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (Luke 23:56)
  21. The Jerusalem council gave gentiles four basic commandments because they knew they would learn the rest of God’s commandments in the Synagogues on the 7th day Sabbath (Acts 15:21)
  22. Paul taught the people to uphold the Law of God which are the commandments (Romans 3:31)
  23. Jesus kept the Saturday Sabbath, and Paul was an imitator of Jesus, teaching others to imitate him (1 Cor. 11:1)
  24. Paul kept the 7th day Sabbath (Acts 13:14 ; 16:13 ; 17:2 ; 18:4)
  25. We are told that love for God = obeying his commandments (1 John 5:3).
  26. Those living in the end-times who keep God’s commandments, are praised in the Book of Revelations (Rev. 12:17)

I Sincerely hope that I have covered all the important facts regarding the Sabbath and given you a new view into one of God’s eternal Commandments. In the next part of this study, we will delve into questions and misunderstandings that concern the Sabbath, proving the facts whether the Sabbath is Saturday, Sunday or everyday and try to make this Commandment of God clearer and more relevant to our lives.