|The Seven Days of Sabbath
| THE NEW TESTAMENT
TRANSLATIONS OF “WEEK”
We will spend considerable time on this first verse of scripture to establish a foundation
for our study of the word “week” in the New Testament. By interpreting the Greek word
“Sabbaths” as the English word “week,” the translators have erased a large chunk of the
New Testament perspective on the Sabbath, which must have been an embarrassment to
them as Sunday Keepers. This study restores, for the English reader, the knowledge that
the Christians of the New Testament embraced the Seventh Day Sabbath from the
perspective of eager anticipation for it, as well as its observance. Here, we will study the
nine occurrences of the word “week” in the New Testament.
NKJ Matthew 28:1 Now after the Sabbath (Greek: Sabbaths), as the first [day] of the
week (Greek: Sabbaths) began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came
(went) to see the tomb.
“long after [the close] of the Sabbaths”
“at the dawning into the first of the Sabbaths”
“long after [the close] of the seven days of Sabbath”
“at the dawning into the first day of the seven days of Sabbath”
FREE: Matthew 28:1 Now, long after [the close] of the Sabbaths, at the dawning into
the first of the Sabbaths, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.
Here we have our first Hebraism in the Greek, which the English translations have
rendered “week”. It was “long after” the end of the previous “Seven Days of Sabbath”;
and it was at the dawning of the first day of the new period of “The Seven Days of
Sabbath”. Here we have the Hebraism, an idiom, which requires the plural, “Sabbaths,”
and if we translate the Hebrew figure into the English literal, it requires the figure:
Heterosis of Number – the singular for the plural. However, if one comprehends “The
Seven Days of Sabbath” he understands the essence of Matthew’s comment in the literal
Hebrew, as “the first day of the seven days of Sabbath”. We know that the previous
“Seven Days of Sabbath” had one Annual Sabbath (Nisan 15 – the first holyday of the
Heptad of Passover) and one “Sabbath according to the commandment” – the “Seventh
Day Sabbath”. Moreover, the week that followed the Crucifixion week also had two
Sabbaths – the “Last Day of the Heptad of Passover (Nisan 21)” and the “Sabbath
according to the Commandment”. What goes unnoticed to most is that the Heptad of
Passover covers portions of two different “Seven Days of Sabbath” periods. In other
words, the Passover Heptad of the year of Christ’s death and resurrection did not overlap
one “Seven Days of Sabbath” cycle. The Passover Heptad began on what we call
Wednesday at sunset and ended on Wednesday at sunset. Nominally, this is eight days;
however, sunset of the first Wednesday automatically excludes that day leaving seven days
for the Heptad of Passover. The first Wednesday (the Fourth Day of Sabbath and Nisan
14) comes before the count begins, whereas the second Wednesday (the Fourth Day of
Sabbath and Nisan 21 – the last holy day of the Passover Heptad) – is part of the count. In
other words, Matthew refers to the close of the previous “Seven Days of Sabbath” and –
from the perspective of its first dawn – the beginning of the new “Seven Days of Sabbath,”
which actually began at sunset of the previous day. Another perspective we may draw
from this scripture is: The day that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb was in the middle of
the Heptad of Passover.
As the Seven Days of Sabbath always end at sunset of the Seventh Day, and as Matthew
refers to the dawn of the morning that followed the end of the Seventh Day Sabbath, he
used the Greek word (op-SEH) that has as one of its meanings “long after”. In other
words, the Greek phrase eliminates any thought that it had to have been just after sunset of
the “Sabbath according to the Commandment”. Had Matthew meant just after the Seventh
Day Sabbath – generally, he would have used the Greek word (me-TAH), an ordinary
preposition, which means “after” when speaking of time, commonly. However, even if
Matthew had used this more general and non-specific expression for time, the context
would nevertheless have to inform us how long after. It is noteworthy that Matthew used
the more specific Greek word to inform us concerning the perspective of time. In
addition, he followed this phrase with “at the dawning into” narrowing the perspective of
time to the early morning of “the first of the Sabbaths”. Here Matthew uses a Hebrew
idiom (a Hebraism in the Greek), which literally means, “the first day of the seven days of
The proposition for our comprehension leans toward the idiom explanation of “after the
Sabbaths” because it balances the second phrase “the first of the Sabbaths”. In order to
restore the idiom to its literal wording, the clause would look like this: “Now, long after
[the close] of the seven days of Sabbath, at the dawning into the first day of the seven days
of Sabbath...” In other words, it was the first dawn of the new “Seven Days of Sabbath” –
the new Hebrew Week.
Combine this information with Mark 16:2 Very early in the morning, on the first [day] of
the week (Sabbaths), they (Mary Magdalene and two other women) came to the tomb when
the sun had risen. Observation: The greater context completes the picture: Mary
Magdalene left to go to the tomb at the dawn of the morning and arrived at the tomb when
the sun had risen.
The Greek root word (ER-cho-mai)* means “to come” or “to go”. The context of Matthew
28:1 requires “to go” or “went” rather than “to come”, because it refers to the “terminus a
quo” – the beginning point of her journey rather than the “terminus ad quem” – the end of
*(We use the transliteration in place of the Greek characters, which display as
nonsense on the web page).
The BYZ Greek has literally, “Now long after, of the Sabbaths”. The phrase does not
make sense in English. Therefore, in the FREE translation, we have added the ellipsis
“the close”. One could use “the end” or some other ellipsis to provide the object of the
preposition – in order to answer the question “after what”. In other words, the preposition
“after” requires an object. One could drop the “of” and translate “Now long after the
Sabbath”. However, we want to stay as close to the Greek as possible without distorting
the message of the text; and, as we are studying the word “Sabbath,” we want to focus on
keeping that part of the text “pure”.
We should note that the Greek word translated “first” [MEE-an] is a cardinal in the Greek:
Therefore, a literal translation would be “one”. However, as a Hebraism, it is an ordinal
number requiring the translation of “first”, because of the Hebrew idiom, from which it
originated. Most of the English translations use the ordinal number rather than the cardinal
number in this phrase. The sense of the phrase would have no meaning if translated as a
cardinal number. The writers of the New Testament used many Hebraisms in their work:
A Hebraism is an idiomatic figure of speech. Hints of this sort (a Greek word that makes
no sense in the English translation when translated literally) alert us to an idiom.
Bullinger (“Figures of Speech”):
"The New Testament Greek abounds with Hebraisms: i.e., expressions conveying
Hebrew usages and thoughts in Greek words."
Some English translations of Matthew 28:1
NKJ Matthew 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first [day] of the week began to dawn,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came (went) to see the tomb.
ROTHERHAM Matthew 28:1 And, late in the week, when it was on the point of dawning
into the first of the week, came (went) Mary the Magdalene, and the other Mary, to view
YLT Matthew 28:1 And on the eve of the Sabbaths, at the dawn, toward the first of the
Sabbaths, came (went) Mary the Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre,
Observe that, in this verse, all of these translations make the error of using the English
“came” rather than the correct essence of the Greek word – based on the context –
“went”. At this point of the morning, Mary Magdalene was just leaving her home to go to
the tomb rather than arriving at the tomb. The translations create a contradiction by
choosing the wrong English word in translating the Greek. Observe that the verb for “to
come, to go” is third person singular in this verse. This information tells us that the
translators restructured the English translation. The literal Greek is singular: “she went,
Mary the Magdalene – and the other Mary – to see the sepulchre”. In other words, the
focus is on Mary Magdalene rather than the other Mary. We observe many such changes
when we look at the Greek directly rather than at the root word only, as provided by
EL-then: “to come, to go”: verb indicative aorist active 3rd person singular from root:
The nuance of the phrase translated, “the first of the week” in our English New Testaments
finds its origin in the fact that each day of the week is but a day of anticipation, for the
Seventh Day Sabbath. The authors of the New Testament used this Hebrew perspective
when writing in the Greek and we refer to this type of usage as a Hebraism – a figure of
speech in the Greek Language expressing a Hebrew thought. Moreover, the phrase “The
Seven Days of Sabbath,” as an idiom, gave the English translators an opportunity to
mistranslate the sense of the phrase.
Therefore, the literal translation of Matthew 28:1 is, “Now, long after the Sabbaths, at the
dawning into the first of the Sabbaths”. In other words, this was “on the first day of the
seven days of Sabbath” by Hebrew reckoning. It is true that the past “Seven Days of
Sabbath” had two Holyday Sabbaths: One Annual Sabbath and the Seventh Day Sabbath.
Moreover, the upcoming Sabbath week also had two Sabbaths – The Annual Sabbath and
the Seventh Day Sabbath; and, the Greek word for Sabbath is plural in both instances.
However, the real essence of the phrase is that it was dawning “on the first day of the
seven days of Sabbath” when the two Marys set out on their journey to see the tomb. From
the English translation perspective, it was the first day of the week; however, something is
missing when one translates this thought into the English without regard for the Hebraism
of the Greek Language. When one puts all of the New Testament verses together that share
this vernacular of the Hebrew culture, the impact is that the disciples were still observing
the Sabbath throughout the New Testament period. They were still using the language of
eagerness for the Sabbath, for they still used the “Seven Days of Sabbath” expression to
convey their thoughts concerning a particular day of the week. We will observe this
impact as we continue to study the New Testament verses where this Hebraism and
idiomatic expression occurs.]
NKJ Mark 16:2 Very early in the morning, on (of) the first of the week (Sabbaths), they
came to the tomb when the sun had risen.
FREE Mark 16:2 Now, very early [in the morning] of the first of the Sabbaths, they
came to the tomb, at the rising of the sun.
“of the first of the Sabbaths”
“of the first day of the seven days of Sabbath”
This verse complements the previous one – Matthew 28:1. It was the first day of the
“Seven Days of Sabbath” – what the English world calls Sunday morning that they came to
the tomb. It was still very early in the morning but not as early as in Matthew 28:1. Also,
observe that the NKJ has put two different meanings of “early” and “in the morning” for
the one Greek word (pro-EE). The adverb “very” implies “early” as the correct
translation. The NKJ translation is accurate as to truth, but not accurate as to the Greek
language, in this phrase. However, we have included “in the morning” in the FREE
translation as an Ellipsis because it facilitates keeping the “of” in the genitive phrase “of
the first”. In other words, we do not have to use the Genitive of Relation “on the first”
translation, as in Rotherham’s translation of this verse. As the sun was just rising, it was
still very early in the morning; however, the dawning of the morning had passed.
Rotherham gives the correct translation, from this perspective – leaving out “in the
ROTHERHAM Mark 16:2 And, very early, on the first of the week, they are coming
towards the tomb––when, the sun, arose.
Here we have a simple statement, “of the first of the Sabbaths”, which is an idiomatic
Hebrew phrase – a Hebraism in the Greek. The phrase literally means “of the first day of
the seven days of Sabbath”. We find this phrase in the New Testament several times; and
it indicates that the writers of the New Testament still referenced the Hebrew week with
the language of anticipation for the Seventh Day Sabbath. Each day of the Seven Days of
Sabbath was a day of looking forward to the Seventh Day Sabbath, with an eager frame of
mind. This phrase supports the abundance of the New Testament information that the
followers of Christ kept the Seventh Day Sabbath, following His example.
NKJ Luke 4:16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His
custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
Although Matthew, Mark, Luke & John present this same period, it does not follow that
they presented it from an identical perspective. Therefore, one should not try to make their
statements the same, unless the Greek requires it. Matthew presents an earlier aspect than
Mark does: It was still before sunrise when the women left for the tomb, in Matthew’s
account; whereas, Mark presents the period later in the morning: Still, very early in the
morning – just not as early as in Matthew’s account. In Mark, the women had arrived at
the tomb – “when the sun had risen”. The Greek root word: ER-cho-mai, as used in this
verse means “to come” or “to go”; the Greek word used in Mark 16:2 is just another form
of the root word, for this verb, which has 64 forms: Strong commonly used the root form
of the Greek words for his work. Strong shows the root Greek word to be the same for
this and the previous verse (#2064). The context must tell us which English verb to
apply. Matthew 28:1 is “they went” and Mark 16:2 is “they came”: Two different English
translations from the same Greek root word because the context of the two verses is
dissimilar and require a different nuance.
Greek: ER-chon-tai: “to come, to go”: verb indicative present middle 3rd person
plural – one of the 64 forms of the Greek root: ER-cho-mai: “to come, to go”.
NKJ Mark 16:9 Now when He rose early on the first [day] of the week (Sabbath), He
appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.
FREE “Now, having been raised: In the [early] morning on the first of the Sabbaths,
He was initially revealed, to Mary a woman of Magdala, out of whom He had cast
“on the first of the Sabbaths”
“on the first day of the seven days of Sabbath”
The Greek has the phrase “on the first of the Sabbaths” in the singular rather than the
plural, thus: “on the first of the Sabbath,” which is just another way of phrasing the idiom.
We know, from other scriptures, that it was not on the Seventh Day Sabbath. Therefore,
we have a figure Heterosis of Number (when translated into English) where the plural
would replace the singular. Literally, the phrase is: “on the first day of the Seven Days of
The Greek word that the NKJ translated as, “He rose” is a passive participle and means,
“to cause to raise”. We know that the Father raised Yahshua from the dead*. Therefore, a
correct translation would be “having been raised”. Moreover, the time of the verse is not
to tell us when the Father raised Yahshua from the dead; but it is to give us a reference for
when the Messiah was revealed to Mary Magdalene.
*1Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for His Son [The Father’s Son] from heaven,
whom He raised from the dead, [even] Jesus (Yahshua) who delivers us from the
wrath to come.
The phrase translated “when [He] rose” in the NKJ has three semantical inaccuracies: 1)
The primary meaning of the Greek A-na-STAS is “to cause to raise”. 2) The translators
added the ellipsis “He” to compliment their choice of the intransitive verb “rose”; and 3)
The NKJ followed this by the semantical punctuation error – leaving out punctuation for
pause – creating the illusion that Christ rose early on the first day of the week. However,
the phrase “in the morning, on the first of the Sabbaths” modifies: When Christ revealed
Himself to Mary Magdalene, it does not reference the time of Christ’s resurrection. Had
the translators acknowledged the participle aspect of the Greek word A-na-STAS, and had
they been unbiased by their belief of Christ’s early Sunday morning resurrection, they
could have rendered a more correct translation.
Moreover, the translators have ignored the passive aspect of the Greek in the phrase “He
appeared”. Rotherham has caught the passive aspect of this phrase, “He was manifested”
– although Rotherham does distort other parts of the Greek in this verse. When Mary first
saw Christ, she thought He was the gardener. It was only after Christ spoke her name that
she recognized Him, as her Teacher. Mary Magdalene holds the distinction that after
Christ’s death, she was and always will be the first human being to know that Yahshua had
triumphed over death.
ROTHERHAM Mark 16:9 [[[[And, arising early, on the first of the week, he was
manifested, first, unto Mary the Magdalene, from whom he had cast, seven demons.
Here again we encounter the “Seven Days of Sabbath” which is peculiar to the Hebrew:
Here Mark says, “On the First [Day] of the Sabbaths”. If we translate literally, we must
add the ellipsis “day” in order to complete the question – “on the first of what” – because
we have an idiom; however, as an idiom, the phrase is complete, as in the Greek. On the
other hand, we need an object to complete the prepositional phrase “on the first,” for the
English reader who does not understand the Hebrew idiom. It is important to make these
distinctions because the English reader may easily come to a false conclusion based on the
English translations. Once we become familiar with the idiom, we too may converse with
the absence of the ellipsis of restoration to the literal. Moreover, the word “week” is too
general, especially for today’s cultures. The word “week” is subject to different
interpretations by the variety of English readers. Some think of the week beginning with
Sunday and others think of the week as beginning with Monday. The five-day workweek
with a two-day weekend makes Sunday the seventh-day of the week, in the minds of many
today. Moreover, the various English “weeks” begin at midnight rather than sunset. In
order to understand the New Testament concerning the Greek word, which the translators
rendered as “week,” one needs to understand the Hebrew idiom: “The Seven Days of
Luke 18:12 ‘I fast twice a week (of the Sabbath); I give tithes of all that I possess.’
“I fast twice of the Sabbaths”
“I fast two times [during] the Seven Days of Sabbath”
The word “twice” is an adverb in the Greek. A literal translation, as to the Greek words,
is “I fast twice Of the Sabbath”. “Of the Sabbath” is a figurative phrase in the Genitive
(possessive form); and it is singular in number; therefore, we have here the figure:
Heterosis of Number: (the singular put for the plural). The phrase is idiomatic; and we
need an ellipsis to express the sense. Here we have another reference to the “Seven Days
of Sabbath”. In other words, the Pharisee fasted two times, during “The Seven Days of
Sabbath”. The Seventh Day Sabbath was not a day of fasting – it was a feast day*. The
translators did not provide an ellipsis because they chose the phrase “twice a week” (an
idiomatic phrase, in the English) rather than “of the Sabbath” (a genitive phrase – and a
Hebraism in the Greek). When we translate with the word “Sabbath” as in the Greek, we
must use an ellipsis (we have supplied “during” in the FREE translation) to avoid a
contradiction of the truth; for the Sabbath was a feast day; one never fasted on the Seventh
Day Sabbath. Moreover, the Sabbath Day is only one day rather than the two days that the
Pharisee fasted. Observe Gill’s explanation for this phrase: “I fast twice in the week”.
*Leviticus 23:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the LORD, which
you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.
3 ‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy
convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your
Gill Expounds on the Seven Days of Sabbath:
Luke 18:12 I fast twice in the week: Not "on the Sabbath," as the words may be literally
rendered... for the Sabbath was not a fasting, but a feasting day with the Jews; for they
were obliged to eat three meals, or feasts, on a Sabbath day, one in the morning, another at
evening, and another at the time of the meat offering: even the poorest man in Israel, who
was maintained by alms, was obliged to keep these three feasts. It was forbidden a man to
fast, until the sixth hour, on a Sabbath day; that is, until noon: wherefore, it is a great
mistake... that the Sabbath was kept by the Jews as a fast. But the word is rightly
rendered, "in the week"; the whole seven days, or week, were by the Jews commonly
called the Sabbath; hence, "the first of the sabbath," and the second of the sabbath,
and the third of the sabbath; that is, the first, second, and third days of the week.
Now the two days in the week on which they fasted were Monday and Thursday, the
second and fifth days; on which days the law of Moses, and the book of Esther were read,
by the order of Ezra; and fasts for the congregation were appointed on those days; and so a
private person, or a single man, as in this instance, took upon him, or chose to fast on the
same: the reason of this is, by some, said to be, because Moses went up to Mount Sinai on
a Thursday, and came down on a Monday.
NKJ Luke 24:1 Now on the first [day] of the week (Sabbaths), very early in the morning,
they, and certain other women with them, came (went) to the tomb bringing
(carrying/taking) the spices, which they had prepared.
“Now on the first of the Sabbaths”
“Now on the first day of the Seven Days of Sabbath”
FREE Luke 24:1 Now on the first of the Sabbaths, at earliest dawn, they went to the
tomb carrying the spices, which they had prepared; and some [other women went]
Here the phrase “on the first of the Sabbaths” is an idiomatic expression meaning literally:
“On the first [day] [of the Seven Days] of Sabbath”. In the literal, “Day” is an ellipsis
completing the prepositional phrase “on the first – of what”. “Of the Seven Days” is an
ellipsis to give the literal meaning of the idiomatic phrase “on the first of the Sabbaths”.
When one transfers from the idiomatic to the literal, it is necessary to put the Sabbath in
the singular rather than in the plural because the plural is part of the idiomatic expression.
In other words, in the idiom we have the figure Heterosis of Number – the plural for the
singular. It is also necessary to drop the definite article, in the literal expression. These
changes are necessary because of the translation, from the Greek idiomatic Hebraism into
the literal English. One must keep in mind that we are dealing with three different
languages: A Hebrew Idiom put into the Greek language and translated into English. Once
we understand The Seven Days of Sabbath, the exact translation of the idiomatic Hebraism
is logical. “On the first of the Sabbaths” = “On the first day of the Seven Days of
Sabbath”. An idiom is an abbreviated phrase, which replaces the original and longer
phrase because everyone knows the meaning and it becomes tiresome for those in the
know to use the literal phrase. We have a very good example in “Between the Two
Evenings”. However, the problem with using idioms is that the literal phraseology can
become lost – especially when those who use them cannot explain the original literal
terminology, which they now use from tradition rather than knowledge. Because the
English Translators did not comprehend the idiomatic expression, they came up with what
they thought the expression meant; and with their perspective of the word week, they found
the translation suitable. However, it is best to know the original literal wording of an
idiomatic expression and work from that perspective. To understand the idiom “Between
the Two Evenings” see our book, “What You Should Know About the Passover”.
RSV Luke 24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb,
taking the spices, which they had prepared.
Observe that the KJV translated EL-thon – a context driven word – as “came” rather than
“went”. The context requires “went”. We know this by studying the context of Matthew
28:1. In addition, the Greek indicates that it was at “daybreak – earliest dawn” – rather
than “very early in the morning” which is more general.
Greek Root: OR-thros [daybreak] and ba-THUS [earliest dawn]. The second Greek word
means “an extreme degree of anything”. In other words, the women left for the tomb as
early as possible: At the beginning point of dawn. Had they left earlier, it would still be
night – had they left later, it would not be the earliest of dawn. In other words, just as
soon as they had enough light to see how to walk, they began their journey to the tomb.
The word “certain” in the NKJ has several nuances of meaning, in the Greek. We have
chosen the meaning, “some”. The phrase comes at the end of the sentence rather than in the
middle, as translated in the NKJ. The KJV preserves the position of the phrase. The KJV
added an ellipsis “others” and the NKJ added the ellipsis, “other women,” as the word
translated “certain” or “some” is a feminine plural pronoun in the Greek. We have used
the NKJ ellipsis and added a verb to give a complete clause in the English Free
Translation: “and some [other women went] with them”.
FREE Luke 24:1 Now on the first of the Sabbaths, at earliest dawn, they went to the
tomb carrying the spices, which they had prepared; and some [other women went]
John 20:1 Now on the first [day] of the week (Sabbaths) Mary Magdalene went to the
tomb early, while it was still dark (of the darkness), and [once she arrived, she] saw
that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
“Now on the first of the Sabbaths”
“Now on the first day of the Seven Days of Sabbath”
Here again, we have the idiomatic expression “on the first of the Sabbaths”. The literal
expression is “on the first day of the Seven Days of Sabbath”. For a fuller explanation,
see the previous verses.
It was just beginning to dawn: Greek – “yet of the darkness”: In other words, the night was
still having its effect on the morning when they left for the tomb; however, the sun had
risen by the time they got to the tomb; therefore, upon arrival, Mary could see clearly that
someone had removed the stone from the tomb. YLT gets at the essence of the Greek word
for “dark” – “there being yet darkness”. If one endeavors to create a literal translation –
the objective of Young’s Literal Translation – he must consult the context to do so. The
obvious: Mary Magdalene could not arrive at the tomb while it was still “of the darkness”
and the sun rising at the same time!
YLT John 20:1 And on the first of the sabbaths, Mary the Magdalene does come (did go)
early (there being yet darkness) to the tomb, and she saw the stone having been taken
away out of the tomb,
The proposition, if we include the arrival information of Mark 16:2 is that a certain
portion of time elapsed during the walk to the tomb – probably 30 – 45 minutes, from the
earliest dawn to sunrise. Therefore, John 20:1 expresses both aspects of the journey: 1)
The time Mary left for the tomb, and 2) The time Mary arrived at the tomb. The word
tomb is in the genitive form “of the tomb,” therefore, one must supply an ellipsis to
complete the sense: We have supplied “the mouth” in the free translation:
FREE John 20:1 Now, on the First of the Sabbaths, Mary - the woman of Magdala -
went, in the early morning – it being yet of the darkness - and [when she arrived, she]
saw [that] the stone had been removed from [the mouth] of the tomb.
John 20:19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week
(Sabbaths), when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of
the Jews, Jesus (Yahshua) came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be
"On the first of the Sabbaths"
"On the first day of the Seven Days of Sabbath"
FREE John 20:19 “Then, it being of the evening – that day – on the first of the
In John 20:19, the Greek word for Sabbath is plural: In other words, “That same day in the
afternoon – on the first day of the Seven Days of Sabbath”. Here John uses the same
idiomatic expression “on the first of the Sabbaths” for the literal expression “on the first
day of the seven days of Sabbath”. See further explanation under Luke 24:1. The
immediate context does not specify which of the two evenings; however, the phrase “on
the first of the Sabbaths” reveals that it was “Between the Two Evenings” or in the
afternoon, the first evening, of the first day of the seven days of Sabbath. The second
evening, which began at sunset, commenced “the second day of the Seven Days of
Sabbath”. The Greek is specific, using the Dative “on” the first of the Sabbaths. In other
words, Christ stood in their midst sometime between noon and sunset of the same day that
He made Himself known to Mary Magdalene – on the first of the Sabbaths.
Acts 20:7 Now on the first [day] of the week (Sabbaths), when the disciples came together
to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day (on the morrow), spoke to them and
continued his message until midnight.
“Now on the first of the Sabbaths”
“Now on the first day of the Seven Days of Sabbath”
FREE Acts 20:7 Now on the first of the Sabbaths, when the disciples came together
to break bread, Paul spoke to them – intending to depart in the morning – and
prolonged his message until the middle of the night.
In Acts 20:7, the Greek for “Sabbath” is plural. Here, Luke uses the idiomatic expression:
“On the first of the Sabbaths” for the literal “On the first day of the Seven Days of
Sabbath”. See a fuller explanation under Matthew 28:1.
The context implies that it was soon after the Sabbath rather than the morning of the first
day of the week. The first day of Sabbath began at sunset of the Seventh Day Sabbath.
Observe that the NKJ has added the word “day” in their translation. As the context
mentions only one meal, and as the day has three meals, the proposition is that they came
together for the evening meal, after which Paul spoke to them until midnight. Put into the
mix that if the context supported a morning meal one could not make the assumption, as is
often the case, of “The Lord’s Supper,” which is not “The Lord’s Breakfast”. The context
requires that the time in question be at the end of the day – sunset, which is the beginning
of the new week: “The first of the Sabbaths”. Therefore, Paul would have begun his
journey on the first day (morrow/morning) of the week. They were not observing Sunday-
morning worship, as some seem to think. In other words, they were meeting after the
Sabbath between sunset and daybreak of the first day of the week (Sunday), when Paul
would begin his journey. The Greek is without vagueness. The meal they ate, and the
beginning of Paul’s journey, were both on “the first of the Sabbaths”. It was not “the next
day” as suggested by the NKJ but “on the morrow” of the same day that they ate the meal –
in other words, it was on the morrow of the first of the Sabbaths when Paul began his
1Corinthians 16:2 On the first [day] of the week (Sabbaths) let each one of you lay
something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.
“On the first of the Sabbaths”
“On the first day of the Seven Days of Sabbath”
Here, Paul uses the idiomatic expression: “On the first of the Sabbaths” for the literal, “On
the first day of the seven days of Sabbath”. See a fuller explanation under Matthew 28:1.
In other words, on the first work day of the Sabbaths – what we call Sunday [keeping in
mind that the day began at sunset rather than midnight] – they were to take account of how
they had prospered in the past “Seven Days of Sabbath” and put aside something for the
poor saints in Jerusalem.*
*1Corinthians 16:3 And when I come, whomever you approve by [your] letters I will
send to bear your gift to Jerusalem.
Romans 15:26 For it has pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain
contribution for the poor saints, which are at Jerusalem.
SUMMARY: Thus, we comprehend that the word “week” in the New Testament is an
interpretation by the English translations from the Greek word for “Sabbath” – used as a
Hebraism, by the New Testament writers. Moreover, once we restore the idiomatic
phrase “the first of the Sabbaths” to its literal meaning, “the first day of the seven days of
Sabbath” we comprehend that the ecclesiastical perspective of the New Testament Church
of God was pro-Sabbath. In other words, the Church had remained faithful to the
Commandments of God. Furthermore, by restoring the idiom, we clear away some of the
misconceptions of these verses because we understand them in detail rather than in
general. Moreover, we understand them from the Hebrew Week rather than the English
Week. For example, this is very important in Acts 20:7 in order to sort out the truth of
when they ate the meal and when Paul began his journey.