In order to enjoy this part of the series the most, go get a third grader who is decent at reading. You’ll need them in a few minutes to demonstrate that this one does NOT take a degree in rocket science, or even Greek knowledge… Rather, we’ll give a ‘poster child’ case for eisegesis, reading INTO the text what one wants it to say.
Parts 1 & 2 are here, if you want to read them.
Here is the verse in question:
Let’s take a look at the Greek. Here’s where you need your third grader.
εν δε τη μια των σαββατων συνηγμενων των μαθητων του κλασαι αρτον ο παυλος διελεγετο αυτοις μελλων εξιεναι τη επαυριον παρετεινεν τε τον λογον μεχριμεσονυκτιου
NO knowledge of Greek and you may be able to figure out at least one word in that verse… a word that does not appear in any translation you have in your home unless you have a translation that is about 600 years old!!
So, just in case your third grader had trouble, I’ll transliterate to so the letters match the sounds. Bet they get it this time:
εn δε τe mια τon sαββατon sυnegmεnon τon mαtheτon του κlαsαι αrτοn ο pαυlος dιεlεgετο αυτοις mεllon εxιεnαι τe εrαυrιοn pαrετειnεn τε τοn lοgοn mεchrιmεsοnυκτιου
Did you see this word: σαββατων transliterated as sαββατon? Yep, if you said, ‘sabbath’ you are 90% right. The word, technically is ‘sabbaths.’ The phrase ‘μια των σαββατων‘ or ‘mια τon sαββατon,’ when rightly and simply translated says, ‘one of the sabbaths.’
As we have done in the past couple posts, let’s see this verse in multiple translations:
(ABP+) And onG1722 G1161 G3588 day oneG1520 of theG3588 Sabbaths,G4521 [3having been gatheredG4863 1theG3588 2disciples]G3101 to breakG2806 bread,G740 G3588 PaulG* reasonedG1256 with them,G1473 being aboutG3195 to exitG1826 theG3588 next day;G1887 and he extendedG3905 G5037 theG3588 wordG3056 untilG3360 midnight.G3317
(Bishops) And vpon one of the Sabboth dayes, when the disciples came together for to breake bread, Paul reasoned with the, redy to depart on the morowe, and continued the worde vnto mydnyght.
(Geneva) And the first day of the weeke, the disciples being come together to breake bread, Paul preached vnto them, ready to depart on the morrow, and continued the preaching vnto midnight.
( KJV-1611) And vpon the first day of the weeke, when the disciples came together to breake bread, Paul preached vnto them, ready to depart on the morrow, and continued his speach vntill midnight.
(KJV) 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.
(KJV+) AndG1161 uponG1722 theG3588 firstG3391 day of theG3588 week,G4521 when theG3588 disciplesG3101 came togetherG4863 to breakG2806 bread,G740 PaulG3972 preachedG1256 unto them,G846 readyG3195 to departG1826 on theG3588 morrow;G1887 andG5037 continuedG3905 his speechG3056 untilG3360 midnight.G3317
(LBLA) Y el primer día de la semana, cuando estábamos reunidos para partir el pan, Pablo les hablaba, pensando partir al día siguiente, y prolongó su discurso hasta la medianoche.
(NBLH) El primer día de la semana, cuando estábamos reunidos para partir el pan, Pablo les hablaba, pensando salir al día siguiente, y prolongó su discurso hasta la medianoche.
(KJVA) 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.
(WoY) And upon the first 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.
(The Scriptures 1998+) And on the first day of the week,the taught ones having gathered together to break bread, Sha’ul, intending to depart the next day, was reasoning with them and was extending the word till midnight.
(NET) On the first day29 of the week, when we met30 to break bread, Paul began to speak31 to the people, and because he intended32 to leave the next day, he extended33 his message until midnight.
(ISV) On the first day of the week, when we had met to break bread, Paul began to address the people. Since he intended to leave the next day, he went on speaking until midnight.
(ASV) And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and prolonged his speech until midnight.
(ESV) On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
(YLT) And on the first of the week, the disciples having been gathered together to break bread, Paul was discoursing to them, about to depart on the morrow, he was also continuing the discourse till midnight,
(LBP) And on the first day of the week, while the disciples were assembled to break bread, Paul preached to them, and because he was ready to leave the next day, he prolonged his speech until midnight.
(ANT) in but the one [one] [of] the breaks (weekly) having been gathered us to break bread The Paul discussed [with] us Intending to leave [on] the [one] next [He] prolonged also the word until midnight
(EMTV) Now on the first day of the week, the disciples being assembled to break bread, Paul was discussing with them, being about to leave on the next day, and extended his message until midnight.
Now, lest we think that we made some grave mistake, standing against dozens of ‘modern’ translations and many men with fancy degrees behind their names, let’s see what the Greek words for ‘first,’ ‘day’ and ‘week’ are… Again, this is not rocket science.
- First = πρῶτον prōton G4412
- Day = ἡμέρα hēmera G2250
- Week = ἕβδομας hebdomas related to G1442 (ἕβδομος hebdomos ordinal number ‘seventh’)
If the text said ‘first day of the week’ then the Greek should read ‘πρῶτον ἡμέρα των ἕβδομας’ not ‘μια των σαββατων.’
To my limited knowledge, there is not a single incidence in all of secular Greek literature that uses the phrase ‘μια των σαββατων’ for ‘first day of the week.’ That interesting translational phenomenon happens nine time in Scripture. Seven in relation to the day of Messiah’s resurrection, once in the verse we are looking at (Acts 20:7) and once in 1 Corinthians 16:2.
The verse in question (and the others by implication) is then used to justify Sun-day worship when ALL of Scripture points to the Sabbath… Even post-Tribulation!! Rav Shaul (Paul) is never spoken of in Scripture as teaching anytime other than the Sabbath (though I would assume daily witnessing in the marketplace). Even when dealing with ‘Greeks,’ he did so on the Sabbath. See these two verses among others:
And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 [a]explaining and [b]giving evidence that the [c]Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the [d]Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, [e]along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and [f]a number of the leading women. Acts 17:2-4
And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. Acts 18:4
So, why did the authors of the Gospels as well as Acts use the phrase ‘one of the Sabbaths’ in their writing?
As previously stated, this phrase is used nine times, seven of which refer to the resurrection, one to a Sabbath in Troas and the last in a letter to the congregation at Corinth. Every single use of the phrase, ‘one of the Sabbaths’ occurs during a particular timeframe and is a verifiable Hebraism in the Jewish culture. Leviticus 23:15-16 commands the annual counting of the Sabbaths leading up to Shavuot/Pentecost.
You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. 16 You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord.
These Sabbaths are referred to as the ‘First of the Sabbaths,’ ‘Second of the Sabbaths,’Thir….’ you get the point. Y’shua was raised from the dead at the end of the ‘First of the Sabbaths’ at sunset as the new day was beginning. (See: Pastor can’t count to three??) This was right at the beginning of the Day of First Fruits. (Remember, Hebrew days begin at sunset and end at sunset… ‘the evening and the morning were the first day…’)
Here is an interesting verse in Luke substantiating the ‘counting of the Sabbaths:’
And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. (KJV)
The Greek says, εγενετοG1096 [G5633] δεG1161 AND IT CAME TO PASS ενG1722 ON σαββατωG4521 SABBATH “THE” δευτεροπρωτωG1207 SECOND FIRST διαπορευεσθαιG1279 [G5738] PASSED ALONG αυτονG846 HE διαG1223 THROUGH
Rav Sha’ul (Paul) was at Troas during this window of annual ‘counting of the omer.’ Acts 20:6 identifies that they sailed after ‘the Days of Unleavened Bread,’ indicating a time stamp and the fact that Sha’ul was KEEPING the feasts. Acts 20:16 identifies that this occurred before Pentecost, because Sha’ul was hurrying to be IN Jerusalem for the feast… Yep, he’s keeping the feasts, but we won’t chase that tangent. Simply, the Troas worship service was on ‘one of the Sabbaths.’
In the typical fashion of Messianic and Jewish synagogues, they had a meal after the Sabbath afternoon’s worship and teaching and then he, being a special guest with great understanding, was cornered into teaching more and he did so until midnight, what we would call saturday night/sunday morning. It was a VERY late Shabbat service!
The scribes, however, use this verse as a basis to overturn seven precise and clearly articulated times wherein YHWH personally tells us in the Torah that the Sabbath is set-apart (kadosh/holy). More words are dedicated to this commandment than any other, bu it is the one churchianity, under the watchful eye of Rome chooses to chisel off of the tablets of stone.
As we’ve seen in the previous installments of this series, it doesn’t take much of a twist to set-up a whole new theology and religion. Supposedly, this verse is the basis for proving Sha’ul was doing a sunday gig, contrary to Torah, contrary to Sha’ul’s own testimony and contrary to the NUMEROUS Sabbath mentions throughout the Book of Acts.
Let’s look at each of these three sections:
The Torah says…
By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created [a]and made. Genesis 2:2-3
then he (Moses) said to them, “This is what the Lord [a]meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over [b]put aside to be kept until morning.” Exodus 16:23
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who [a]stays with you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11
But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. 14 Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. 16 So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to [a]celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ 17 It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:13-17
The Lord spoke again to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these:
3 ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings. Leviticus 23:1-3
Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you.13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who [a]stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day. Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Simply, I defy anybody to show me where the very Word of YHWH was overturned, reversed, changed, etc on the matter of the Sabbath! I have half an ink cartridge worth of printing for those long passages and you can not show me one single solitary text that states with clarity that it was changed!! Why? Because it was never changed by YHWH!!
Sha’ul’s testimony on multiple occasions was that he KEPT the Torah of Moses! Passage links show larger context:
…all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law….. Acts 21:17-26
…But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve [a]the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets;… Acts 24:13-19
After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him which they could not prove, 8 while Paul said in his own defense, “I have committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” Acts 25:7-8
After three days [a]Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews, and when they came together, he began saying to them, “Brethren, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our [b]fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18 And when they had examined me, they were willing to release me because there was no ground [c]for putting me to death. Acts 28:17-18
Rav Sha’ul’s testimony is clear. He kept the Torah/Law and did nothing against it. He worshipped on the Sabbath, not some other day as many try to twist our focal verse, Acts 20:7, to say. Because the translators chose not to take a direct, or as one pastor told me, ‘wooden’ approach to this phrase, ‘one of the Sabbaths,’ and instead massaged it into ‘the first of the week’ according to their false presuppositions, we have a whole false teaching separating believers from the day that the Father ordained as HIS holy day!
“How can you say, ‘We are wise,
And the Torah of YHWH is with us’?
But behold, the lying pen of the scribes
Has made it into a lie. Jeremiah 8:8!
Sadly, here is what the Messiah said,
Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [a]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:22-23