How can we know when the Sabbath is? (Part 2 of 2)
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.
How can we know which day of the week the Sabbath is on?
From the time that the manna was given in Exodus 16, the Jewish people have preserved this day. In the Bible and the Jewish culture, the Sabbath is the only day of the week that is named. The other days of the week are named “first day”, “second day”, “third day”, etc. This is why no day of the week except Sabbath is named in the Bible.
This is one reason why it has been easy for the Jewish people to keep up with the day of the week that the Sabbath falls upon from Exodus 16 until now. It is the same day kept in Jesus’ time and the same day kept by them today. Despite the persecution of the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Muslims, Catholic Inquisitions, and Nazi Germany, they have held on to the Sabbath. But there is more evidence that we can rely on to come to the same conclusion.
In the third century, The Roman Historian Cassius Dio tells us that the Jewish people rested on the day that the Romans called “the day of Saturn” (Cassius Dio, Roman History, 37.16.1-4). Saturn is the name the Romans gave to the day of the week we presently call Saturday.
In over 100 current and ancient languages, the word for Saturday is sanbat, sabatu, saptu, sabado, sabato, or a variation thereof. A chart below gives you a short list. Let’s take one example. In Spanish, sabado is the word for Saturday. The foundations for the Spanish language were formed starting in 711 AD when the Moors conquered Spain. From then to now, the name for Saturday has been unchanged.
Indonesian – Sabtu
Tagalog (Philippines) – Sabado
Latin – Sabbatum
Spanish – Sabado
Portuguese – Sabado
Russian – Subota
Arabic – Al Sabt
Somali (East Africa) – Sabti
Mandingo also called Mandinka (West Africa) – Sibiti
Ormo or Galla (East Africa) – Sanbata tenna
Kisii, also called Gusii or Ekegusii (Africa) – Esabato
God mentions the Sabbath over 140 times in the Bible. God never mentions a requirement in the Bible without giving us a way to understand how to obey it. The Way of God is easier than the burdensome ways of man (Deut. 30:11-15, John 5:1-5, and James 1:25-27). He has left us a witness through history, language, and the example of the Jewish people. He made provision for us; He made sure that we would know when the Sabbath is today.
Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). He did not say the Sabbath was made just for the Jewish people. They have preserved the Sabbath, but the Sabbath is for all mankind!
Kelly is the President of the BSA and an Evangelist with Hungry Hearts Ministries. www.hungryheartsministry.com