Wasn’t the Sabbath changed from Saturday to Sunday because Yeshua arose from the grave on the first day of the week?
First we must consider what possible bearing the day of Yeshua’s resurrection could have on what day the Sabbath is to be celebrated. Outside of church tradition there is no reason for changing the Sabbath day – certainly none to be found in the Bible. (See the next chapter for more information on this.)
Second we have to ask the question, “Is it even true that Yeshua was resurrected on Sunday?”
ARE YOU SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS?
Discover the Answers you have Always Wanted about the Seventh-Day versus the First-Day of the Week Sabbath Debate.
Some will argue the definition of “day.” But Yeshua clearly stated that there are 12 hours in a day, not including the night (John 11:9-10). Therefore when Easter Sunday proponents take His remark and conclude that Yeshua was in the grave three days x 12 hours = 36 hours, we can see that they are leaving out the “three nights.” There are approximately 12 hours of daytime and 12 hours of nighttime in one 24-hour day! So three days and three nights are definitely 72 hours. But was it exactly 72 hours? Yeshua said He would arise “AFTER three days” (Mark 8:31) – i.e. no less than 72 hours. But He also said He would rise “IN three days” (John 2:19, 21) – i.e. no more than 72 hours. This is absolutely clear – 72 hours exactly! And YeHoVaH is always right on schedule.
Also consider that when the women came to His tomb Sunday morning, “it was still dark” (John 20:1) and He had already risen. How could this be? The Sunday resurrection proponents contend that He had risen just moments before. If they were correct, then “three days and three nights” earlier would be just before sunrise on Thursday morning. Yet no one believes that Yeshua was buried on Thursday morning (or any morning for that matter), and with good reason. When Joseph of Arimathea laid Yeshua’s body in the tomb, “the Sabbath drew near” (Luke 23:50-54). Biblical days including Sabbaths begin at sunset and end the following sunset (cf. Genesis 1:5-31; Leviticus 23:32) – a nighttime period followed by a daytime period.
Yeshua then was buried in late afternoon – before a particular Sabbath began at sunset. Three days and three nights later would be the same time of day, or late afternoon! Now we have another problem. If we assume that Yeshua was buried on Friday afternoon as the Good Friday tradition asserts, then His resurrection (72 hours later) would be Monday afternoon. Yet no one believes this either, and again with good reason. For remember that Yeshua had already risen before the women came to His tomb prior to daybreak Sunday morning! What then is the answer?
Why have so many thought that Yeshua was put in the grave on Friday afternoon? Mark 15:42 states that “it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath.” Since the weekly Sabbath always occurred on the seventh day of the week (now called Saturday), the “Preparation Day” was normally on Friday. However we have already seen the problem with this. The answer to the apparent dilemma is that the weekly Sabbath is not the only Sabbath mentioned in the Bible. Leviticus 23 lists seven annual Holy Days that occur in YeHoVaH’s Festivals. Each of these days was considered a Sabbath (or a “rest” from normal labor). All annual Sabbaths or “High Days” (except Pentecost) fell on particular calendar dates rather than set days of the week.
Now the mystery can be solved by reading John 19:31. The Jews wanted to remove the crucified victims “because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a HIGH DAY).” Yeshua ate His last supper with His disciples the night before His death (Luke 22:15). He died on the cross the next afternoon, which was still Passover (the 14th of Abib or Nisan according to the Hebrew Calendar – Leviticus 23:5). Leviticus 23:6-7 reports that the next day, beginning the evening after His crucifixion, was not a weekly Sabbath but an annual Sabbath – the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Now put together the facts. It is clear from the Bible that Yeshua died and was buried on Passover afternoon and that the following day was an annual Sabbath. It is also clear that He was resurrected at the same time of day – late afternoon. But which afternoon? Since the women found Him already gone Sunday morning, it would be sensible to conclude that He had been resurrected the previous afternoon on Saturday! This would mean He had been buried three days and three nights earlier or Wednesday afternoon. It would also mean that Passover (Nisan 14) fell on a Wednesday that year. And indeed that is what happened in A.D. 31, a year that fits the time frame the Bible demands.
Scripture also provides further proof that there were TWO Sabbaths that week – an annual and a weekly one. In Mark 15:47, Mary Magdalene and her companion watched Joseph of Arimathea lay Yeshua in the tomb near the end of the Passover. The next verse, Mark 16:1, tells us that after the “Sabbath,” Mary Magdalene and her companions bought spices with which to anoint Yeshua’s dead body. However Luke 23:56 shows that they prepared the spices before the Sabbath. Naturally they couldn’t have prepared spices before they were even bought! The only explanation that makes sense is that they bought the spices on Friday and prepared them the same day – after the annual Sabbath on Thursday and before the weekly Sabbath on Saturday! Then they rested on the weekly Sabbath; at the end of which Yeshua was resurrected. The next morning (Sunday) they came to the tomb before sunrise and found Him already gone.
But some will point out Mark 16:9 which says: “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week…” Yet how can this be? To understand we should read the verse in the original King James Version and continue further in the sentence: “Now when Yeshua was risen [the perfect tense is correct here – He was already risen] early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene.” He was not “rising” on Sunday morning. As we’ve seen, He rose Saturday afternoon. So early Sunday morning He was already “risen.” Also realize that in the original Greek there was no punctuation. Had the King James translators simply put a comma after the word “risen” and not after “week,” this would make complete sense. The Centenary Translation renders it this way: “Now after his resurrection, early on the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene.”
To conclude, a Sunday morning resurrection could not be the reason for changing the weekly day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. But even if Yeshua were resurrected on Sunday, why would His disciples (who had kept the seventh-day Sabbath with Him) have abandoned His example of keeping the Ten Commandments and switched to Sunday-keeping? And why would they have picked Sunday, a day already associated with pagan sun worship? The Bible is very clear that Yeshua was not resurrected on Sunday morning and thus this attempt to change YeHoVaH’s Torah is NOT scriptural!
If you enjoyed this blog post, you will love the book, “Sunday Is Not The Sabbath?”
Thank you for this essay. It is very enlightening. And it is one that I’ve preached. But in a way frustrating because the Christians before whom I preached basically shrugged and said, “So you want us to stop believing what we’ve been taught all our lives?” They wanted to believe he was buried before Friday evening and arose Sunday morning. I was casting pearls before swine so to speak.
Sometimes it may take many instances of hearing the truth for someone to receive a revelation. Keep sowing seeds!