What Day Is the Sabbath?

“Does anybody really know what time it is?” asked a 1969 hit song. What about “holy time” ordained by God? Do we really know what day is the Sabbath?

Some say God’s Sabbath is Sunday; some say it’s Saturday. Others say both are wrong, and that Friday is God’s holy time. Still others say it doesn’t make any difference which day we pick as long as we worship and honor God on that day.

How can we know for sure which day was the Sabbath of the Bible? The Bible was written so long ago and there have been so many calendars, calculated in so many ways, since then, haven’t there?

Are the days of the week counted as they were at the time of creation? Or even since the time of Christ?

Some of those who ask such questions then tell us that “since we can’t know for sure what day is the Sabbath today” we just need to acknowledge “one day in seven” to worship, and all will be well!

Sounds logical, doesn’t it? After all, there are more than 40 different calendars in use today around the world. There have been so many changes and so many different ways of calculation, that some may think “time has been lost.”

That may sound right and provide an excuse to justify not carefully proving which day is the Christian Sabbath. But the fact is that this premise is false. Time has not “been lost,” and we can know for certain that the seventh day of the week (commonly called Saturday) is still the Sabbath established at creation.

The seventh day of the week is still the seventh day of the week

For starters, note this reference from the article “General Chronology” in The Catholic Encyclopedia: “The days of the week are numbered according to their natural order, viz. Sunday=1, Monday=2, Tuesday=3, Wednesday=4, Thursday=5, Friday=6, Saturday=7. (At the time from which the Christian Era starts there were of course no weeks, such a measure of time not being known among the Greeks and Romans. Counting backwards, however, according to our present system, we can divide all time into weeks, and it is to be noted that in the Christian period the order of days of the week has never been interrupted.)”

It’s clear from this source, representing a denomination that worships on Sunday, that the order of the days of the week is unchanged since the time of Christ. And Christ, certainly, knew what day is the Sabbath!

What about before Jesus’ time?

How did Moses and the Israelites know that the seventh day of the week, as they understood it, was the same one Adam received from God?

After the descendants of Abraham went into Egyptian captivity, God miraculously revealed the weekly cycle to Israel. He did so by providing manna for their food, but it was only provided six days of the week—none would fall on the Sabbath day.

“Then he said to them, ‘This is what the LORD has said: “Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.”’ So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it.  Then Moses said, ‘Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field.  Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none’” (Exodus 16:23-26).

Even if the weekly cycle had somehow become lost to Israel, God certainly restored that knowledge by miraculously revealing which was the seventh day of the week.Even if the weekly cycle had somehow become lost to Israel, God certainly restored that knowledge by miraculously revealing which was the seventh day of the week.

Throughout Israel’s history, the importance of the Sabbath was emphasized and blessings were promised for observing it (Isaiah 58:13-14). The prophet Jeremiah wrote of national blessings for observing the Sabbath and punishment for ignoring it (Jeremiah 17:19-27). The people knew when the seventh day of the week was. They simply refused to honor it.

Looking for the church behind Life, Hope & Truth? See our “Who We Are” page.

So what day is the Sabbath?

Basic research removes any doubt and can answer the question rapidly: The seventh day of the week today is the same day of the week that God sanctified at creation (Genesis 2:1-3). That day is the day we call Saturday. It is the seventh-day Sabbath.

It is clear to those who regard the Bible as God’s inspired Word that the weekly cycle remains unbroken and unchanged. God’s Word proclaims the seventh day as the Sabbath.

What day will you keep holy? For further study about the Sabbath and how to keep it, see the articles in our section about the Sabbath.

Don’t lose any time!

About the Author

Ron Kelley

Ron Kelley

Ron Kelley was born and raised in West Virginia. He spent 31 years working in hospital finance in Ohio before entering the full-time ministry in 2006.

Read More

Continue Reading


Discern is published every two months and is available in digital and print versions. Choose your preferred format to start your subscription.

Print subscriptions available in U.S., Canada and Europe


Please choose your region:


Discern Article Series

Christ Versus Christianity
Walk as He Walked
Christianity in Progress
Wonders of God's Creation
Ask a Question