Throughout the Torah, G-d’s people are told to stop there weekly mundane tasks and rest on the Sabbath day. We are also told to gather to worship G-d and Isaiah says to stop from seeking our own delights on the Sabbath day. Hasatan, cursed be his name, wants to do everything in his power to influence everyone to stop following the true Sabbath. Most would agree that he has done a marvelous job of fooling the masses. One way this was and is accomplished is by translations of the Bible. This is not the first time I have discussed this topic, but I felt prompted to write about it again.
The Bible was not fully translated into English until the early 1500’s. Certainly, there were certain sections of the Bible translated into was is called Old English, but not the entire Bible. Shortly, after the Bible was translated into English, the printing press was invented and the rest is history.
What was going on during the periods just before and during this English translation? The inquisitions! Do you think this anti-semetic time period had anything to do with the way Jews and what was considered there ways were looked upon? Absolutely they did. Anything associated with Judaism was looked at with disdain and disgust. So, portraying the Sabbath as something that was still the norm could not happen. Don’t hear what I am not saying. I understand that many of the so-called church fathers started this trend of not following the Sabbath. This idea did not spring during the 1500’s, but the translations into English was just one more cog in the wheel of believers removing themselves from God’s instructions.
The Sabbath from the beginning of time was set to be what is considered today as Saturday, the 7th day of the week. Technically, the Sabbath starts at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday. Many within the believing community think the Sabbath was moved to Sunday contrary to Scripture. There are certain verses used to help support this viewpoint, but do they truly say what people think these verses say. That is the crux of this article.
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. Acts 20:7
Acts 20:7 is used by many people to state their case that the new Sabbath was moved to Sunday. They say “see, the disciples starting meeting on Sunday, the Lord’s day.” You can’t blame people too much, this is just what they were taught by their teachers. So let’s take a look at the verse and you can make your own decision. The first thing to take notice of is the word day. Notice that it is in italics, which means it is not in the original Greek. The translators added it to help you understand the verse better. I would contend that if the verse said “and upon the first of the week” that most people (practically all) would understand what that means. Yet, the translators felt it was necessary to make sure you knew that this was the first day of the week.
The next word we are going to focus upon is first or in the Greek, mia. The word is used 79 times in the Gospels and Epistles. The KJV translates mia as one 62 times or nearly 80% of the time. The other 20% is split up with four other translations. Mia means one or a certain first. There is one other word translated as first, proton. Proton actually means first in time or place and is translated as first or a derivative of first 56 of 61 times. If first really what was meant then the author would have used proton not mia. Mia is better translated as one.
The word translated as of the week is Sabbaton. This word is used 68 times in the Gospels and Epistles and means Sabbath. It is translated as Sabbath 59 times and as week 9 times as it was in this verse. If you have a Christian viewpoint then you will are already biased in the translation of this word. You don’t want to show the disciples gathering together on the Sabbath because that goes against your theology. Yet, I contend Sabbaton is better translated as Sabbath as it was done some many times throughout the Gospels and Epistles. I looked at over 20 translations and all of them except one translated Sabbaton as of the week. The Jubliee Bible 2000 translated Acts 20:7 like this:
And the first of the Sabbaths, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart the next day, and continued his word until midnight.
I contend the verse should be translated as (note this is my translation):
And upon the one of the Sabbaths, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
The above translation is translating mia sabbaton as the two words are normally translated. Now we can view the verse in the context of the time period and the people involved. The time period is approx. 20-25 years after the resurrection of Yeshua. The people involved were all Jewish or at the very least a majority of them were Jewish. If you do not know anything about Judaism and the Sabbath, then you may not know that Jews bookend the beginning and the end of the Sabbath with blessings, songs, Torah talk, and food. The end of Shabbat is marked by a Havdalah Service. There is a lot of joy and a little sadness as the Shabbat comes to an end. The service is held after one can see 3 stars in the sky or approx. 45 minutes after sundown. Many of your family and friends are around to mark the end of Shabbat and when people gather, food (breaking bread) is usually involved. Havdalah is more than likely what was going on here in Acts 20.
One could say they never mention having havdalah, but one must look at the proper context. We cannot interject our context of today’s living by non-Jews into the picture. The disciples and Paul were all Jews who lived during the 1st Century. They all followed Torah long after Yeshua was resurrected based on the evidence in Acts and the Epistles. They did not stop being Jewish by any means and therefore you must understand what it means to be Jewish. Looking at all Scripture and specifically Acts 20:7 with this in mind will help one see Scripture in the proper context.
Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is Hashem!