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Right On Time

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all His work which He had done in creation." (Genesis 2:1-3 RSV) (see The Seven Days Of Creation). Some people have been concerned that, since the creation happened so long ago, and because of all that has happened since then, humanity may have lost track of the original days of the week. How do we know, how can we be sure, that, for example, the seventh day of the week on our calendar coincides with the actual seventh day of creation?

The Natural Calendar

Creation To The Exodus

The earliest people of Bible History were almost certainly well aware of the correct days of the week, but even if they weren't, that would have had no bearing what so ever on the fact that God knew. God made plain to Moses at Mount Sinai as to which day was the seventh when He gave the Israelites The Ten Commandments. The original calendar was therefore not lost between the time of Adam and the time of Moses.

Exodus To The Babylonian Exile

The Israelites, or at least those of them who wanted to stay alive, were very careful to keep an accurate reckoning of the days of the week, long after the time of Moses. Knowing what day it was, for certain, was a very serious matter for them:

"Say to the people of Israel, 'You shall keep My Sabbaths, for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, The Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you; every one who profanes it shall be put to death; whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to The Lord; whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign for ever between Me and the people of Israel that in six days The Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.'" (Exodus 31:13-17 RSV)

The Babylonian Exile To The Time Of Christ

The Jews never lost track of the original calendar, or their own identity (unlike the northern kingdom of "Israel" who became lost to both history and themselves). Despite the Babylonian captivity (see Why Babylon?), the Jews' knowledge about the correct identification of the days of the week remained crystal clear. Even Jews who were also widely scattered from Africa to Europe to Asia in ancient times were later all found to be observing exactly the same day, despite no contact between them for centuries.

By New Testament times, the Jews, including Jesus Christ Himself, remained fully aware of the correct days of the week:

"And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And he came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and He went to the synagogue, as His custom was, on the Sabbath day. And He stood up to read" (Luke 4:15-16 RSV)

God would never have left Jesus Christ, the Savior who never sinned, to violate the Fourth Commandment by observing the wrong day of the week.

The Time Of Christ To The Present

Although much of the Western world uses the Roman calendar today, the seventh day on it (given the pagan name "Saturday" after Saturn, the Roman "harvest god") is the same seventh day of the Bible week. Even during the change from the Julian (named after Julius Caesar) to the Gregorian (named after Pope Gregory XIII) calendars, in which 11 days were skipped to correct accumulated inaccuracies of the older Roman calendar, the days of the week themselves were not affected e.g. when the change was made in Spain and Portugal in 1582, Thursday October 4 was followed by Friday October 15 - 11 days "didn't happen" on the man-made Roman calendar, but the God-proclaimed days of the week were themselves the same as usual.

Fact Finder: What about "Joshua's long day" in which the sun was delayed in setting? Did it affect the calendar?
See Joshua's Long Day

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