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What Does the Bible Say About..Sabbaths?

I am interested in knowing about the weekly sabbath, annual sabbath, was there a seven year Sabbath? Were there two sabbaths the week that Jesus was crucified? Could that explain his being in the grave three days and three nights, as was Jonah in the whale? What day of the week was Jesus crucified? He was risen on Sunday morning?


Indeed the Jews were required to keep several Sabbaths. They are listed in Leviticus 23 and 25. There was the weekly Sabbath on the seventh day (Lev 23:3, Ex 16:23-29; Ex 20:8-11). Then there were four Sabbaths during the fall each year: Rosh Hashanna (Lev 23:34); Yom Kippur (Lev 23:32); the first day of the Feast of Booths (Succoth) (Lev 23:39) and Shemini Atzeres (the eighth day after the first day of Succoth) (Lev 23:39). Then there was a whole year Sabbath for the land every seventh year (Lev 25:2-7), although most modern Jewish authorities say this only applies in Israel itself. Even though no work was to be done on the first day of Passover it was never specifically called a Sabbath. There were two justifications for the weekly Sabbath. The first is that God rested on the seventh day of creation. The second is to remind the Jewish people that they were slaves in a foreign land. Non-Jews were never required to keep the Sabbaths, and non-Jewish Christians are likewise not required to keep them. Whether Jewish Christians are required to do so is currently a matter of debate.

Some have tried to prove that Jesus was crucified on a Thursday, calling the Passover on Friday a Sabbath, and then the weekly Sabbath. While they do present some good arguments they come up against the fact that the scriptures never call the first day of Passover a Sabbath. If Jesus was crucified and buried on Friday and arose Sunday morning that would be sufficient to be called three days in Jewish thinking. To the Jewish mind any part of a day equals a whole day. Thus if Jesus died on Friday and was buried on Friday, the day before the Sabbath (Mark 15:42-46), that counts as one day. Because he was buried in the evening (Mark 15:42), that is, after sundown but before nightfall, that could count as one day and night. The Sabbath (Saturday) would be day two, even though it was the only full day of the three. Then if he rose on Sunday (anytime after sunset Saturday night) that would count as day three (and night three), even though it was only a partial day. I will not absolutely rule out the possibility that he was crucified on Thursday, however. The clearest the scriptures come is in saying that he was buried on the day or evening before a Sabbath.