This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Hebrew Roots

We don’t put down Christians because they want to observe the sabbath (seventh day of the week) or want to eat kosher, we can understand that if they have a Jewish background. But unfortunately most of the Hebrew Root Movement (HRM), 7th Day Adventist, Church of God, etc. do condemn us evangelical Christians as pagans or unsaved for not imitating them.

All these groups argue that Sunday worship was invented by the Roman Catholic Church, that Sunday is ‘sun’-day to worship the sun god, the mark of the beast, etc. But if Sunday is the day of the sun, then Saturday is the day of Saturn, and Monday the Moon day, etc. etc. If you find the doctrines of HRM are similar with the Church of God & 7th Day Adventists and the sacred name or Holy Spirit as a force same as Jehovah’s Witnesses, its not a coincidence, all these religious groups originated from the same source, William Miller’s (Millerites) doctrines, more here ‘One Law Two Sticks‘.

The word “Sabbath” comes from a Hebrew verb meaning “to cease, to come to an end, to stop, to rest.” Sabbath keepers are not so because they have studied the subject thoroughly, but because they have not studied the subject enough. To us Christians Jesus is our sabbath & our Rest. The early church called the day Jesus rose from the dead, ‘the Lord’s Day’ Rev. 1:10 or “Dies Domini” in Latin (where the word ‘Domingo’ Sunday in Spanish comes from) and we celebrate His resurrection every Sunday and was also the day the Christian church was born. Pentecost falls on a Sunday. The earliest Christians never considered Sunday to be a rest day or the Sabbath. The first mention of Sunday being a day of rest was in 220 AD by Origen.

The first record of any kind of Sabbath observance is found in Exodus 16. The Sabbath was a sign between God and the nation of Israel Exodus 31:13-17. There is no record that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or Joseph observed the Sabbath. Job lived in the patriarchal period, and although we read of him offering sacrifices, etc., there is no mention of any Sabbath observance.

It is worthy of note that whenever the ten commandments are repeated in the New Testament (e.g. Matt. 19:18-19; Romans 13:9, etc.), the Sabbath commandment is never included in the list. In the book of Acts the Sabbath is set forth not as the “Christian day of worship;” rather, it was used as a day of evangelism (see Acts 13:14-16; 13:42; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4). For Paul and the other Christian evangelists, the Sabbath day was indeed a work day, as they labored for souls! & early church writings confirm this.

Hebrew Root teachers first make you doubt the translation of the Word of God, so then they can introduce and convince you of their wrong interpretation. But wrong doctrines always create contradictions and there are not contradictions in God’s Word. Regarding to keep the sabbath they say ‘first day of the week’ in Acts 20:7 & 1 Cor 16:1 is a mistranslation:

‘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,

The first (G3391 μία= mia) day of the week (G4521= σάββατον= sabbaton, plural). HRM say G3391=mia, is not first but one and G4521 is sabbath, translating according to them: “One of the Sabbaths” meaning ‘One of the Saturdays’.


Screenshot from video lesson of a Hebrew Root ministry

Hebrew weekdays names didn’t exist, so they were determined in a referenced order from one weekly Sabbath to the next weekly Sabbath (the interval between 2 Sabbaths). G4521 sabbaton is translated sabbath or ‘week’. In the 8 passages were we find ‘the first day of the week’ is designated by the numeral “one” and the genitive of sabbaton, mostly in the plural. The fact that the numeral is feminine indicates that the feminine noun “day” is understood, sabbaton is a masculine or neuter noun, translating ‘day one of the week‘. So connecting mia (feminine numeral) with masc. or neuter noun sabbaton is wrong grammar. Still not convinced, even Greek scholars overwhelmingly agree?

After Jesus resurrection we read in Mat.28:1In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.” Greek- Opse de sabbatōn , tē epiphōskousē eis mian sabbatōn, . . .- If we translate these 2 words as ‘sabbath’ it would be a contradiction. ‘In the end of the sabbath at the beginning of the sabbath’ ?

Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday not a Sabbath: Mark16:1-2, “Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. And very early on the first (day) of the week, they come to the tomb having arisen the sun”

And . . . . . . . .having been past . . . . . . the . . . . . . . .sabbath, . . . . . . . . . .Mary Magdalene . . . .

kai (#2532) diagenomenou (1230) tou (3588) sabbatou (#4521), Maria hē Magdalēnē . . . .

And . . . . . . . .very . . . . . . . . . early . . . . . . . the. . . . . . . . first (day ) . . of the . . . . . . . week . . . . . . . . . . . . they come . . .

kai (#2532) lian (#3029) proi (#4404) te (#3588) mia (#3391) tōn (#3588) sabbaton (#4521) erchomai (#2064)

After spending many years examining ancient Jewish writings, Hebrew Scholar John Lightfoot wrote a Commentary on the New Testament in which he explains the Hebrew method of counting the days of the week. He noted: “The Jews reckon the days of the week thus; One day (or the first day) of the sabbath: two (or the second day) of the sabbath;” etc. (1859, 2:375, emp. in orig.). Also I know Jewish people and they assure that they use the word yom (dia) plus a letter representing numbers from 1-6, because sabbath the seventh day is the only one with a name. So Yom Reeshone is first day ( equivalent to Sunday), Yom Shaynee is second day (Monday), etc. It is very strange that the Hebrew Roots Movement (experts or with Hebraic mind set) don’t know this.

Also found in Jewish Calendar : “The days of the week are simply known as first day, second day, third day, etc. Sometimes they are referred to more fully as First Day of the Sabbath, etc. Below is a list for those who are interested“.

It is well known that the Pharisees fasted on Mondays and Thursdays or twice a week. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; (#4521 sabbaton) I give tithes of all that I possessLuke 18:12.

The Didache, a manual of church instruction from near the end of the first century were the word sabbatōn is understood as week & also confirms Luke 18:12 : “And let your fasts not stand with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second day of the week and on the fifth (deutera sabbatōn kai pemptē “the second [of the] week and the fifth;” i.e. Monday and Thursday), but you shall fast on the fourth and on the Preparation (i.e. Wednesday and Friday)”.

The HRM also mentions there is a word for week in Greek that was not used instead of sabbath. But the regular Greek word for “week”- hebdomas, which had been used in the Septuagint, (not a reliable translation by the way) is not found anywhere in the New Testament. However they don’t mention that the Greek titles of a few of the Psalms in the Septuagint, e.g. Psalm 24 (Psalm 23 in Septuagint) is designated tēs mias sabbatōn, “for the first day of the week.” Psalm 48 (Psalm 47, Septuagint) has in its title deutera sabbatou, “for the second day of the week.” Psalm 94 (Psalm 93, Septuagint) is designated as tetradi sabbaton, “for the fourth day of the week” (Wednesday), etc.

Early Christians always gathered together on Sunday, the first of the week. The only time Sabbath keeping was mentioned regarding Christians was by a cult-sect known as the Ebionites . The Ebionites were gnostics Jew believers in Jesus as Messiah, it was a cult of Judaizers who enforced circumcision, rejected Apostle Paul’s teachings, denied Jesus’ virgin birth and his deity. The earliest reference to a group that might fit the description of the later Ebionites appears in Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho (c. 140).

After the deaths of the Apostles, many men who became the leaders in the Church wrote extensively and many of their writings have been preserved. While their writings are not considered inspired like the bible & shouldn’t change doctrine, still they are very valuable in that they let us know the state of the Church in their day and what early Christians believed and practiced. (Instead of looking at writings of Jews who rejected Jesus, like Talmud, etc. the HRM teachers should look better at early Christians writings). Here are just a few early Christian writing (when Roman Catholic Church didn’t exist yet) that proof that since the beginning of the church they worshiped on Sunday or what they called the ‘Lord’s day‘:

-90 AD DIDACHE: “Christian Assembly on the Lord’s Day: 1. But every Lord’s day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. 2. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. 3. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, saith the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.” (Didache: The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, Chapter XIV)

-100 AD BARNABAS: Moreover God says to the Jews, ‘Your new moons and Sabbaths I cannot endure.’ You see how he says, ‘The present Sabbaths are not acceptable to me, but the Sabbath which I have made in which, when I have rested [heaven: Heb 4] from all things, I will make the beginning of the eighth day which is the beginning of another world.’ Wherefore we Christians keep the eighth day for joy, on which also Jesus arose from the dead and when he appeared ascended into heaven. (15:8f, The Epistle of Barnabas, 100 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, pg. 147

-IGNATIUS, Bishop of Antioch 107 AD, In the Shorter Recension of Ignatius’ Epistle to the Magnesians, Chap.IX, he says: “If therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His dead — whom some deny, by which mystery we have obtained faith, and therefore endure, that we may be found disciples of Jesus Christ, our only Master.”

-150AD JUSTIN: ” The command of circumcision, again, bidding [them] always circumcise the children on the eighth day, was a type of the true circumcision, by which we are circumcised from deceit and iniquity through Him who rose from the dead on the first day after the Sabbath, [namely through] our Lord Jesus Christ. For the first day after the Sabbath, remaining the first of all the days, is called, however, the eighth, according to the number of all the days of the cycle, and [yet] remains the first.”. (Justin, Dialogue 41:4)

-150AD JUSTIN: …those who have persecuted and do persecute Christ, if they do not repent, shall not inherit anything on the holy mountain. But the Gentiles, who have believed on Him, and have repented of the sins which they have committed, they shall receive the inheritance along with the patriarchs and the prophets, and the just men who are descended from Jacob, even although they neither keep the Sabbath, nor are circumcised, nor observe the feasts. Assuredly they shall receive the holy inheritance of God. (Dialogue With Trypho the Jew, 150-165 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, page 207)

-150AD JUSTIN: But if we do not admit this, we shall be liable to fall into foolish opinion, as if it were not the same God who existed in the times of Enoch and all the rest, who neither were circumcised after the flesh, nor observed Sabbaths, nor any other rites, seeing that Moses enjoined such observances… For if there was no need of circumcision before Abraham, or of the observance of Sabbaths, of feasts and sacrifices, before Moses; no more need is there of them now, after that, according to the will of God, Jesus Christ the Son of God has been born without sin, of a virgin sprung from the stock of Abraham. (Dialogue With Trypho the Jew, 150-165 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, page 206)

-150AD JUSTIN: “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. … But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.” (First apology of Justin, Weekly Worship of the Christians, Ch 68)

-150AD JUSTIN: Moreover, all those righteous men already mentioned [after mentioning Adam. Abel, Enoch, Lot, Noah, Melchizedek, and Abraham], though they kept no Sabbaths, were pleasing to God; and after them Abraham with all his descendants until Moses… And you [fleshly Jews] were commanded to keep Sabbaths, that you might retain the memorial of God. For His word makes this announcement, saying, “That you may know that I am God who redeemed you.” (Dialogue With Trypho the Jew, 150-165 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, page 204)

-150AD JUSTIN: There is no other thing for which you blame us, my friends, is there than this? That we do not live according to the Law, nor, are we circumcised in the flesh as your forefathers, nor do we observe the Sabbath as you do. (Dialogue with Trypho 10:1. In verse 3 the Jew Trypho acknowledges that Christians ‘do not keep the Sabbath.’)

-155 AD Justin Martyr “[W]e too would observe the fleshly circumcision, and the Sabbaths, and in short all the feasts, if we did not know for what reason they were enjoined [on] you–namely, on account of your transgressions and the hardness of your heart. . . . [H]ow is it, Trypho, that we would not observe those rites which do not harm us–I speak of fleshly circumcision and Sabbaths and feasts? . . . God enjoined you [Jews] to keep the Sabbath, and impose on you other precepts for a sign, as I have already said, on account of your unrighteousness and that of your fathers” (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 18, 21).

-180AD ACTS OF PETER.- Paul had often contended with the Jewish teachers and had confuted them, saying ‘it is Christ on whom your fathers laid hands. He abolished their Sabbath and fasts and festivals and circumcision.‘ (1: I)-2

-190AD CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: He does the commandment according to the Gospel and keeps the Lord’s day, whenever he puts away an evil mind . . . glorifying the Lord’s resurrection in himself. (Ibid. Vii.xii.76.4)
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