Sabbath: Which Day of the Week is it?

Today, the days of the week are referred to as ‘Sunday, Monday, Tuesday …‘ and no longer as ‘first day, second day, third day …‘. In our present weekly system, which day of the week is the seventh day, the biblical Sabbath? We will examine this through various evidence.

Calendar

A calendar week has seven days. When we look at the calendar, we can see that Sunday is the first day and Saturday is the seventh day of the week.

Dictionary

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Sunday is defined as “the first day of the week”, whilst Saturday is defined as “the seventh day of the week”.

The Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, too, defines a week as “beginning on Sunday and ending on Saturday”.

Sunday … 1 the first day of the week, a Christian holiday and day of worship

Saturday … the seventh day of the week, following Friday.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1995

The Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, too, defines a week as “beginning on Sunday and ending on Saturday”.

week … a 7-day cycle beginning on the Sunday and ending on Saturday

Sun*day … the first day of the week

Sat*ur*day … the seventh day of the week

Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster lnc, 1995

Biblical records

Various Biblical records also show that “seventh day” in the Bible indicates Saturday in our present weekly system.

When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.

Mark 16:9 NIV 

 After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons.

Mark 16:9 NLT

The NIV Bible records that Jesus resurrected on the first day of the week. For the same verse, the NLT Bible expresses the day when Jesus resurrected as Sunday. That is why Christians in the world mostly celebrate the Resurrection Day on Sunday. When we compare this same verse in the two different versions of the Bible, we can understand that Sunday is the first day of the week. We can confirm this once more in the gospel of Luke.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb … He is not here; he has risen! …“

Luke 24:1-8 NIV

Very early on Sunday morning …

Luke 24:1 TEV

Since the first day of the week is Sunday, which day is the seventh day of the week, the biblical Sabbath, then?

Christian History

Among many denominations of Christianity, the Catholic Church acknowledges that the biblical Sabbath is on Saturday.

Third – A rule of faith, or a competent guide to heaven, must be able to instrust in all the truths neccessary for salvation. Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is obliged to practice. Not to mention other examples, is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday.

The Faith of Our Fathers, James Cardinal Gibbons, Tan Books and Publishers, 1980, p72-73

Some Protestant churches also expressed that Saturday, not Sunday, is the actual worship day in the Bible.

All the aforementioned evidence points us to a clear fact: the seventh day, the biblical Sabbath is Saturday.

How, then, should we keep this holy and blessed day? In order to understand about this, we should first recognize that, in the Bible, there exists the old covenant Sabbath as well as the new covenant Sabbath. As people of the New Testament age, what we should adhere to is the law of the new covenant.

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