Why the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday

Why the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday

Many assume that because the Jews worship on Saturday, the Biblical weekly cycle was always continuous with only the annual festivals having a lunar connection. This is not an assumption shared by Jewish scholars.

Talmudic tradition teaches that if one looses track of when the Sabbath occurs, all one has to do is worship on every seventh day. This is the rationale used to justify keeping Saturday as the seventh-day Sabbath.

Constantine had outlawed the use of the Jewish calendar for Christian observances. Constantius forbade the use of it by the Jews, too. “Under the reign of Constantius (337-362) the persecutions of the Jews reached such a height that . . . the computation of the calendar [was] forbidden under pain of severe punishment.”3 The significance of this act cannot be overlooked. Under intense persecution, the Jews themselves modified their calculation of time. Patriarch Hillel II, the last president of the Sanhedrin, was himself responsible for a change that, ultimately, led to the acceptance of Saturday as the Sabbath.

The miserable condition of Judea was the occasion of an act of self-renunciation on the part of the Patriarch Hillel, which has not yet been thoroughly appreciated. The custom had prevailed up till now of keeping secret the computation of the new moon and the leap year, and of making known the times of the festivals to the communities in the neighboring lands by announcing them by messengers. During the persecutions under Constantius this method had proved itself to be impracticable and useless. Whenever the Synhedrion was prevented from fixing the date of the leap year, the Jewish communities in distant countries were left in utter doubt concerning the most important religious decisions. In order to put a stop to all difficulty and uncertainty, Hillel II introduced a final and fixed calendar . . . With his own hand the Patriarch destroyed the last bond which united the communities dispersed throughout the Roman and Persian empires with the Patriarchate.

The fact that this change occurred over 1,600 years ago explains why people assume that Saturday is the true Sabbath simply because the Jews worship on it. Jewish scholars, however, remain well aware that this was a complete change of calendar:

Declaring the new month by observation of the new moon, and the new year by the arrival of spring, can only be done by the Sanhedrin. In the time of Hillel II, . . . the Romans prohibited this practice. Hillel II was therefore forced to institute his fixed calendar, thus in effect giving the Sanhedrin’s advance approval to the calendars of all future years.

It cannot be emphasized enough: Jewish scholars are fully aware that the calendar they now use is different than the one established by Yahuwah, and confirmed by Moses at the Exodus. The historical documentation in this article is taken entirely from the writings or statements of the Jews themselves. They establish that not only is Saturday not the Sabbath of the Bible but they know it is not.

The seventh-day Sabbath was not part of a continuous weekly cycle as is the modern Saturday.

The New Moon is still, and the Sabbath originally was, dependent upon the lunar cycle . . . Originally, the New Moon was celebrated in the same way as the Sabbath; gradually it became less important while the Sabbath became more and more a day of religion and humanity, of religious meditation and instruction, of peace and delight of the soul.

The truth is, regardless of what the average Jew believes or practices, Saturday is not the Sabbath of the Bible.