SABBATHS (PLURAL) IN THE BIBLE

Bob Jones www.BibleFood.com

I) INTRODUCTION

First of all, as you know, there was not only the "seventh day" Sabbath, but the first and last days of the seven Old Testament feasts were special Sabbaths, to be observed just as a seventh day Sabbath. (See Exodus 12:1-6; and 14-16 and Leviticus 23:1-8).

So, there were at least 64 "Sabbaths" in each calendar year. Many weeks had multiple "Sabbaths", one a seventh day Sabbath, the other a "Holy Convocation", the first or last day of a feast. Often, there were Sabbath days back to back - two days in a row. And. probably just as often, a Feast day Sabbath occurred the same day as the seventh day Sabbath.

Secondly, "Sabbaton", neuter plural, is also used to refer to a "week" of days, in other words, what we call a seven day "week". Whether "Sabbaton" refers to "Sabbath days" or to a "week", must be determined from the context.

Note the use of "Sabbaton" plural, referring to a "week" in Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1 & 19, Acts 20:7, and 1 Cor. 16:2.

II) SELECTED PASSAGES

A) [Mt 12:1, 5, 11-12]:

(v. 1) At that time, (part of the year) it was Jesus' custom to eat corn from the fields on the Sabbath days. He ate whenever He wanted to, whether it was one of the Sabbath days or not.

(v. 5 ) The priests in the temple work on all the Sabbath days. 10 Doing good on any of the Sabbath days.

(v. 11) Doing good on any of the Sabbath days.

(v. 12) Doing good on any of the Sabbath days.

B) [Mt 28:1]:

"After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb."

opse ..de .......sabbatOn .....tE ........epiphOskousE eis .............mian

After but the Sabbath [pl] at [the] dawning ..........toward the first

.......sabbatOn [pl] ...Elthen mariam hE magdalEnE...

day of the week ........came ...Mary ....the Magdalene..."

There are two occurrences of "sabbaton" in this verse. The first use of "sabbaton" is in the genitive plural and occurs in the phrase "after the sabbaths" which refers to a point in time "after the sabbaths" - referring to more than one sabbath. This phrase is then followed by and paralleled with "toward the first day of the week" where 'week' = 'sabbaton', genitive plural.

Considering the word rendered "first" which modifies the second "sabbaton", genitive plural; we must conclude that this second 'sabbaton' refers to a "week", or period of seven days.

This proves that there was more than one "Sabbath" during the week Jesus was crucified. The first day of the feast of unleavened bread was past. Sabbath number one beginning on Wednesday Evening. And the second sabbath which was past was the weekly Saturday sabbath. The point in time after the sabbathes is stipulated as on the first day of the week = "sabbaton" when the first trip to the empty tomb is recorded = Sunday dawn.

A.T. Robertson, in his "Word Pictures" calls Matt. 28:1 a "careful chronological statement".

C) [Mk 1:21]:

Immediately, upon arriving at Capernaum, Jesus began teaching on each of the Sabbath days.

D) [Mk 2:23, 24]:

At that time, (part of the year) it was Jesus' custom to eat corn from the fields on the Sabbath days.

E) [Mk 3:2, 4]:

They watched to see if Jesus would heal anyone on any of the Sabbath days.

F) [Mk 16:1-2]:

"Sabbaton" genitive plural, is used for a "week", or period of seven days. Note that in Mark 16:1 "sabbatou" is genitive singular with the article "the", speaking of the Saturday Sabbath.

G) [Mk 16:1, 9]:

Also note how the KJV translators were not consistent, in that they translated "sabbatou", singular, as "week" in Mark 16:9. "Sabbatou", singular in Mark 16:9 should be translated "Sabbath", the seventh day Sabbath. Jesus rose from the grave before the end of the seventh day Sabbath, Sunday morning. The tomb was first reported empty by Mary Magdalene on the morning after the Friday-Saturday weekly Sabbath.

H) [Lk 4:16]:

It was Jesus custom to go to the synagogue on each of the Sabbath days.

I) [Lk 4:31]:

Again, it was Jesus' custom to go to the synagogue on each of the Sabbath days.

J) [Lk 6:2]:

Why do you do that which is not lawful on the Sabbaths?

K) [Lk 13:10]:

Again, It was Jesus custom to go to the synagogue on each of the Sabbath days.

L) [Lk 24:1]:

"Sabbaton" plural meaning a "week".

M) [Jn 20:1]:

"Sabbaton" plural meaning a "week".

N) [Jn 20:19]:

"Sabbaton" plural meaning a "week".

O) [Acts 13:14]:

This verse and the next, Acts 16:13 point to a specific day. In Acts 13:14 "Sabbaton" plural could mean that the day was both a seventh day Sabbath and a Feast Day Sabbath. Or, with all the Aorist tenses, it could be saying that the Apostles began visiting the synagogue on all the Sabbath days. Doctrinally, I don't see that it matters, but, the plural must be there for some reason.

P) [Acts 16:13]:

Again, "Sabbaton" plural could mean that the day was both a seventh day Sabbath and a Feast Day Sabbath. Or, it could be saying that the Apostles began the practice of visiting the place of prayer outside the city by the river, on each of the Sabbath days.

Q) [Acts 17:2]:

On the occasion of three Sabbaths.

R) [Acts 20:7]:

"Sabbaton" plural meaning a "week".

S) [Col 2:16]:

Jesus has freed us from all "Sabbath keeping", both seventh day Sabbaths, and Feast day Sabbaths. Now, every day is a "Sabbath" where we rest from our own works, and allow God to work through us.

T) [1 Cor. 16:2]:

In the Textus Receptus, "Sabbaton" plural also occurs in 1 Cor. 16:2, referring to a "week" of seven days.