Some teach that through various calendar changes and other factors, the true seventh day of the week cannot be accurately identified. But this is simply not true. Here are four evidences that help us identify the true Sabbath today:
1. The sixth day, seventh day, first day …
According to Scripture, Christ died on Friday, the sixth day of the week, and rose on Sunday, the first day of the week. Practically all churches acknowledge this fact when they observe Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Here is the Bible evidence:
“This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near” (Luke 23:52–54). This is strong evidence that Jesus died the day directly before the Sabbath. It was called “the preparation day” because it was the time to get ready for the Sabbath.
Let’s now look at the next few verses: “And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (vv. 55, 56). Please notice that the women rested over the Sabbath “according to the commandment.” The commandment says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath” (Exodus 20:10), so we know they were observing the seventh day (Saturday).
The very next verse says, “Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb” (Luke 24:1, 2).
How clearly these three consecutive days are described for us! Jesus died on Friday, the preparation day, the sixth day of the week. He rested in the tomb, “according to the commandment,” on Saturday, the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. And then Jesus rose from the grave on Sunday, Easter Sunday, the first day of the week.
Anyone who can locate Good Friday or Easter Sunday will have absolutely no difficulty finding the true Sabbath “resting” right between them!
2. Calendar changes haven’t changed the seventh day.
Some suggest that a calendar change made by Pope Gregory XIII means the days of the week have been confused and, therefore, we can’t know the true seventh day today. It’s true that, in 1582, Pope Gregory made a change to the calendar. (Our calendar today is called the Gregorian calendar because of this change.) However, this change did not interfere with the weekly cycle.
What exactly did Pope Gregory do to the calendar? Before 1582 the Julian calendar had been in effect, instituted by Julius Caesar around 46 BC. But the Julian calendar had calculated the length of the year as 365-1/4 days, but the year is actually eleven minutes fewer than 365-1/4 days. Those eleven minutes accumulated, and by 1582, the numbering of the calendar was ten days out of harmony with the solar system. Gregory simply dropped those ten days out of the numbering of the calendar. It was Thursday, October 4, 1582, and the next day, Friday, should have been October 5. But Gregory made it October 15 instead, dropping exactly ten days to bring the calendar back into harmony with the heavenly bodies.
Did Pope Gregory’s calendar change really confuse the days of the week? No. Friday still followed Thursday, and Saturday still followed Friday. The same seventh day remained, and the weekly cycle was not disturbed. So when we keep the Sabbath on Saturday, we can be positive that our seventh day of the week is the same seventh day of the week that Jesus observed—which He did every week, according to Luke 4:16.
3. The seventh day is named as a “rest day” in many languages.
The word for “Sabbath” in many languages spoken around the world is the very word used to name the seventh-day of the week—known as Saturday by English-speaking nations like the United States. For example, the Spanish word for “Saturday” is “Sábado,” which means “Sabbath.” When these languages originated long, long ago, the seventh day of the week—Saturday—was recognized as the Sabbath day, and Sabbath was incorporated into the very name of the day.
4. Jews have kept the seventh day as Sabbath for millennia.
Another fascinating evidence is the long history and practice of the oldest ethnic and religious group on earth helps us to accurately identify the seventh day. The Jewish people have been observing the Sabbath on the seventh day from the time of Abraham, and they still keep it today. Here is a whole nation—millions of individuals—who have been counting off time meticulously, week after week, for thousands of years. Could they have lost track? Not likely! The only way they could have lost a whole day of the week would have been for the entire nation to have slept an extra 24 hours and for no one to tell them about it afterward!
There has been no change or loss of the Sabbath day since God created it in Genesis. The origin of the week is found in the creation story, and there is no astronomical reason for measuring time in cycles of seven days. The seventh-day Sabbath is the purposeful design of God and has been miraculously preserved throughout time—and it will be preserved and observed throughout all eternity:
“ ‘For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make shall remain before Me, says the LORD, so shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,’ says the LORD” (Isaiah 66:22, 23).