In The Day After The Sabbath

How to count to Shavuot, Practical Matters

In The Day After The Sabbath

How to count to Shavuot, Practical Matters

Shavuot counting is the only command where it says ‘you shall count’ (Lev. 23:15; Deu. 16:9; Lev. 23:16). Other times have to be counted and calculated, but there is no formal command ‘you shall count.’ Therefore, it is understood that ‘you shall count’ is an instruction to conduct a formal counting to Shavuot.

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The counting is conducted in the daytime, contrary to Jewish tradition which conducts the counting at nighttime. This is because the day for offerings begins at daybreak.1 The counting begins with the wave sheaf offering, which was brought in the morning about 9 am on the day after the annual Sabbath.2 It says ‘from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering.’ (Lev. 23:15). This offering was never made during the night coming between the Annual Sabbath and the first-fruits day. The beginning of the counting begins with the day of the offering. That is why we count in the daytime, since all offerings counted their days from daybreak to daybreak. Note: Sabbaths are the exception, kept from evening to evening.

So we count a formal count. We count in the daytime. There are four parts to the counting. Firstly, we count 50 days. This is directly stated in Lev. 23:16a, “until3 in the tomorrow of the seventh Sabbath you are counting a fiftieth day.” The English here uses a Hebrew idiom meaning ‘time after’ (explained later in this essay). So it means ‘until in the time after the seventh Sabbath you are counting a fiftieth day.” So when coming to the ‘seventh Sabbath’ the counting continues to the 50th day.

The next part of the counting is to count ‘seven Sabbaths; they shall be perfect’ שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת תְּמִימֹת תִּהְיֶינָה sheva shabbatot temimot tihyeynah. The word ‘perfect’ or complete is temimot תְּמִימֹת. This is a further indication of counting the seventh day, since seven is the number of perfection, wholeness, or completion. It says ‘they shall be perfect’ temimot tihyeynah תְּמִימֹת תִּהְיֶינָה. This language is to specify to count only the seventh days. The seventh day of unleavened bread is also a Sabbath, as is the first day of unleavened bread, but these Sabbaths are not counted. They are not perfect seventh days according to creation, which fall in the perfect, unbroken cycle of seventh days.

Therefore, we count 50 days. We count in the daytime. We count seven whole Sabbaths, and the 50th day comes in the time after the seventh Sabbath (Lev. 23:16). Now in one case out of seven years, the day after the Annual Passover Sabbath may be the first weekly Sabbath. In this case the 43rd day of counting comes on the seventh Sabbath, and the 50th day also comes on the next weekly Sabbath. But this weekly Sabbath is not counted as an eighth Sabbath. We don’t count an eighth Sabbath in this case. It just happens that the 50th day, the Shavuot Sabbath, comes on the weekly Sabbath. The seven Sabbaths are only counted during seven weeks, or seven sevens, as I will now explain. The 50th day is the extra day on which the feast occurs.

The command in Deut. 16:9 says ‘you shall count seven sevens’ (shivah shavuot) שִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעֹת. This is where the word Shavuot comes from. Shavuot is the plural of Shavua, which means period of time lasting seven units. The units may be days or years. In one case, the seven days of Passover are referred to as: חָג שְׁבֻעוֹת יָמִים, ‘a feast of seven days,’ hag shevuot yamim (Ezek. 45:21). Clearly, the seven days, of a shavua, here, is any week of seven days. For example, in English, we can say ‘a week from today,’ which means the same day next week. The counting of ‘weeks’, therefore, can begin on any day of the regular week.

Therefore, the counting of seven weeks begins on the day after the Annual Sabbath. We count these weeks by the day and by the week. So each week is individually counted days 1-7. And then the seven weeks, shavuot, are counted 1-7. As a matter of course, my interpretation is to count the week in which the days fall every time the days are counted. So I say “the xth day of the yth week.” Some people only count on the pattern, “x weeks, and y days.” If you do this then you have to remember that when you get to say “6 weeks, and 7 days” to also count the 7 days as the 7th week. This is usually done on the next day “7 weeks, and 1 day.” However, I prefer to count each week while we are still in that week, and not after the fact. All the days are counted on their respective days, the Sabbaths too. So I think that the weeks should be counted while on the respective week, and not in the week after the week. I think the precept implies doing the counting at the same time as you are counting the time.

For example, on the day after Passover, we count, “Today is the 1st day of the 1st week.” The next day we count “Today is the 2nd day of the 1st week,” and so on, incrementing the days and weeks.

When the first Sabbath after Passover comes, we say “Today is the first of the Sabbaths”4, and keep upping the number with each succesive Sabbath. So the counting has four parts, according to three texts: Lev. 23:15, 16, and Deut. 16:9. There are other texts, but they simply repeat the matter. The fourth part, counting the days of each week, is only an implied commandment. It is not technically an infraction to fail to say which day of the nth week it is. So long as you say which week we are on, count each Sabbath, and count each of 50 days, then the precept is fulfilled, making sure to count everything when it is, and not after the fact. Counting time is kind of like counting disappearing marbles. You can count them when they are before you, but they disappear after a time, and you can’t count them. Likewise, with the days. You count time as it passes, not after the fact. Other times we may count before or after the fact, such as Passover we can mark seven days before it on our calendar, but we don’t have to count each day formally when it is.

I have written the following blessings to encompass all parts of the counting. If the counting is before the first Sabbath:

Blessed are you Adonai YHWH who sent your Son as the first-fruits of the resurrection and enjoined on us to count the Omer. Today is the {1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th} day of the 1st Shavua (week), IN THE DAY AFTER THE CEASING,5 even the {1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th} day IN THE DAY AFTER THE CEASING.

If the counting is on one of the seven Sabbaths:

Blessed are you Adonai YHWH who sent your Son as the first-fruits of the resurrection and enjoined on us to count the Omer. Today is the {1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th } day of the {1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th } Shavua (week) IN THE DAY AFTER THE CEASING, even the {1st, 2nd,...50th} day IN THE DAY AFTER THE CEASING, and today is the {1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th } of the Sabbaths that are perfect IN THE DAY AFTER THE CEASING.

If the counting is on a weekday before day 50, and after the first of the Sabbaths:

Blessed are you Adonai YHWH who sent your Son as the first-fruits of the resurrection and enjoined on us to count the Omer. Today is the {2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th } day of the {1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th } Shavua (week) IN THE DAY AFTER THE CEASING, even the {2nd...50th} day IN THE DAY AFTER THE {1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th } of the Sabbaths which {is, are} complete and perfect.

And if the count is on day 50:

Blessed are you Adonai YHWH who sent your Son as the first-fruits of the resurrection and enjoined on us to count the Omer. Today is the 50th day IN THE DAY AFTER THE CEASING, even the 50th day IN THE DAY AFTER THE SEVENTH SABBATH.

It is not necessary to use this blessing. Just count the 50 days, seven weeks, seven days of each week, and seven Sabbaths. I use the blessing because it reminds us of Messiah and the Hebrew idioms used. Now one may also substitute the words ANNUAL SABBATH in place of CEASING if you wish.

The counting reminds us of the testimony of Messiah Yeshua and his resurrection, and the witness of Yeshua is the spirit of prophecy. It should be no surprise then that the matter has been turned into a huge number of controversies by different sects.

Getting to the Bottom of the Controversy


Briefly, a proper translation from Hebrew to English of Lev. 23:16, (without using any Hebrew idiom in English) is: “until you are counting, in the time after the seventh Sabbath, a fiftieth day.” This is because in Hebrew idiom the word “day” means “time” in a general sense. “Machar” means time after OR day after. Further, the Hebrew is “fiftieth day” and not “fifty days.” So a fiftieth day is counted in the time period after the seventh Sabbath, which may fall anywhere up to a week after it. Therefore, there is no requirement for the 50th day to land on Sunday.

The first 50th day fell on the Sabbath. For Moses waited six days after it, and the Most High spoke to him on the seventh day (Exodus 24:16). Also Israel entered Sinai on the third new moon, they traveled three days (cf. Exodus 3:18; 5:3; 8:23), and then prepared for two (Exodus 19:10), and were ready the third day (Exodus 19:11). This makes the third day the 6th day of Sivan that year, and the previous days are days of preparation. Therefore, to claim that this Shavuot was on Sunday is the same as claiming, 1. that the Sabbath was made into a day of preparation just before the ten commandments were given, 2. that the Most High avoided having a holy convocation with Israel on the Sabbath in favor of having it on Sunday. Since the first feast of Shavuot is found not to be on Sunday, it is proved that the Karaite teaching that it is always Sunday is error.

The New Testament identifies the resurrection day as “the first of the Sabbaths.” This is enough to prove that the 50 days to Shavuot began their counting on the 2nd day of Passover after the annual Sabbath (cf. Lev. 23:11 and Lev. 23:15), and that the first weekly Sabbath after Passover in AD 34 was “the first of the Sabbaths.”

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“And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’ And He answered and said to them, ‘To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens, but to them it has not been granted’” (Mat. 13:11). A mystery is something hidden, or something not easily discovered. The scripture is sometimes cryptic on purpose. It is clear as mud to those without the key, and plain as day to those having the keys. To get the key, you have to fear the Most High and His word more than you fear men and their interpretations (or translations) and traditions. Believe me, there stand generations of false teachers, and people dedicated to coming in between you and what Scripture really says, and not always because they are trying to be obtuse. It is just that they have a tradition they have never gotten to the end of. Like a football running back, you have to punch through that line into the end zone of truth.

The keys to the the secrets of the kingdom are written in Scripture. The chief reason that people lost the keys, or cannot find the key, is that they have a mental roadblock preventing them from seeing or finding the key. The mental roadblock is really a ‘cage’ of going from reasoning to reasoning which never arrives at the truth. The cage trap was designed and built by Satan, and supplemented by false translations and assumptions so that the trapped person does not recognize they are in a trap. There is an army of religious people, rank upon rank of them, guarding the way to truth, and they themselves do not know they are standing in the way. The Scripture says about the beast, “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them...” (Rev. 13:7), and he “shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change the appointed times and the Law” (Dan. 7:25). Therefore, there is a war being fought over time. If some of the saints succeed in breaking through part of the enemy line, then the enemy pulls in the reserves to form a backup line, to keep the saints from all the truth.

I don’t say these things to make it hard. I say these things because it is hard, and that is what the Scripture says, “narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it” (Mat. 7:14). The devil knows quite well that faith (fidelity) is shown by loyalty to Yeshua, and that faithfulness is shown in no greater way than obeying his commandments, particularly his times and seasons. Therefore, Satan substitutes false times and seasons to draw off the saints and defeat them. A lot of people realize the Church is in error, and they leave the error they see, only to be stopped short of discovering all the errors. I do not personally fault most of them. They are not able to defeat all of the errors, just the few that are revealed to them. So in a certain sense, the final deliverance will be a national deliverance, when a whole lot of people are shown the truth, and receive it according to the plan and purpose of the Holy Spirit. But make no mistake the process is going to broil with a lot of turmoil and dissension, and rebels will surface to take up the enemy’s teachings.

At the heart and center of times and seasons in Scripture is the mystery of counting Sabbaths to Shavuot. It is a mystery that the enemy is most eager to keep a secret, and never let the faithful find out! For it points straight to the resurrection of Messiah when revealed. Judaism for its reasons does not want Torah to prove the resurrection of Yeshua. Christianity for its reasons does not want the Torah to have anything to do with Christian memorial observances. The Almighty will deal with both houses of Israel, and only a remnant that obeys Him will be left.

The day after the Passover Sabbath sets us on the road from forgiveness and salvation to sanctification and holiness. We go from Passover to Shavuot in seven times seven plus one day. There is the Day of Redemption and the Day of Sanctification. Accordingly, the day after the Passover Sabbath is one long day of sanctification, which is finalized at Mt. Sinai. The Scripture speaks of the day of creation in these words, “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the DAY of Yahweh Almighty’s making earth and heavens” (Gen. 2:4) בְּיוֹם עֲשׂוֹת beyom asot. We see here that DAY is used to mean a period of time lasting six literal days, because all the creating was done on those six days.

It also says, “but in the DAY you eat from it, death you shall die” (Gen. 2:17) בְּיוֹם אֲכָלְךָ beyom achalcha. Really, man did not die on the same literal day that they ate from the tree. DAY means a period of time lasting 1000 years. The 1000 year Millennial kingdom is also called the DAY of Yahweh. I will give one more example. Jacob speaks to Laban, and says, “Then my righteousness shall have answered for me in the DAY tomorrow when you come concerning my wages” (Gen. 30:33) beyom machar בְּיוֹם מָחָר. In all these cases ‘day’ means some extended period of time. This usage of the word DAY is the key to understanding Shavuot.

With this in view, let us break down the word mimocharat מִמָּחֳרַת. The word first has a preposition prefixed to it: mi מִ. It also has a construct ending at ת. The middle part is machar מָחָר. This means ‘tomorrow’, ‘hereafter,’ or ‘time to come.’ The meaning we are interested in is illustrated in Exodus 13:14, “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ then you shall say to him, ‘With a powerful hand Yahweh brought us our from Egypt, from the house of bondage.’” The word machar is properly translated here by the NAS as ‘time to come’, but it is literally ‘tomorrow.’ There are several other passages that can show this meaning, i.e. Josh. 22:24, 27. So add this to your Hebrew understanding.

There are several more bits to be put together here before the coup. The first a trivial bit of Hebrew knowledge. The construct in Hebrew is formed on the pattern “x of the y”, i.e. ‘tomorrow of the Sabbath’ (Lev. 23:11). In English we are bound to add in ‘the’ to the phrase: ‘the tomorrow of the Sabbath.’ Hebrew never uses ‘the’ twice in the construct, but it is understood that when Y noun has the word ‘the’ (ha- in Hebrew) then the whole phrase is definite. So we translate ‘the tomorrow of the Sabbath.’ It should also be pointed out that machar is just the compounded contraction of two Hebrew words yom and achar meaning ‘day’ and ‘after’ אחַר + יוֹם = מָחָר.

Now another detail of Hebrew needs to be mentioned. If I simply say tomorrow in Hebrew, then I just say machar (cf. Exodus 9:5). But if I want to use it in the construct, and say the ‘tomorrow OF’ something, then I have to add a construct ending at ת. A vowel reduction at the end of the X noun or an added Tav are among the regular ways to show construct in Hebrew, i.e. “x of the y.”

Finally, we come to the preposition mi. This is the trickiest part of the Hebrew, as this preposition is a patient of quite a variety of meanings. The translators of Lev. 23:11-16 have given in to translating it ‘from’ in vs. 15, ‘on’ in vs. 11, and completely ignoring it in vs. 16. This need to translate the thrice used preposition three different ways in the same context is a flag that something is terribly wrong. It appears to be quite arbitrary. And so it is. It is because the translators did not have the key to the mystery of Shavuot when they made the translation!

It would be easy to solve the Shavuot problem simply by translating vs. 16, “until from the seventh Sabbath counting a fiftieth day....” This way the 50th day is not forced to be Sunday. They translated ‘from’ in vs. 15, so why not do the same in vs. 16? No one who insists that Shavuot is always on a Sunday has ever been able to refute this argument. No Karaite has shown why ‘from’ is allowed in vs. 15 and forbidden in vs. 16. They ignore the point. The Rabbinic schools never make the point, because they ‘solved’ the problem by translating ‘sabbaths’ as ‘weeks’ in vs. 15 and 16. The Rabbis changed it to ‘weeks’ because the wanted to cover up the fact that Messiah rose from the dead on the ‘first of the Sabbaths.’ The real solution to this problem must 1. translate Sabbaths correctly, 2. be consistent with the preposition mi, and 3. start counting after the Passover Sabbath, 4. render the Hebrew idiom machar correctly in the context.

Only when the above four points are satisfied does the ‘first of the Sabbaths’ agree with the ‘first of the Sabbaths’ as Yeshua’s resurrection day. So let us now get to the real meaning of the preposition mi. This is best illustrated via the literal sense ‘out of’ with a few English examples, i.e. “You need to take time OUT OF tomorrow to see the doctor” “Please take time OUT OF your vacation to finish that term paper.” We may just as well use the word IN to express the same ideas, “take time IN the day after you get your paycheck to take a vacation.” Now, I think the astute reader is beginning to get the idea why this Hebrew idiom is so important.

Therefore, Lev. 23:11 goes like this, “[taking time] out of the tomorrow of the Sabbath he shall wave it” which means the same as “IN the tomorrow of the Sabbath he shall wave it.” And Lev. 23:15, “You shall count for yourselves IN the tomorrow of the Sabbath, from the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, seven Sabbaths shall be complete.” And vs. 16, “Until IN the tomorrow of the seventh Sabbath counting a 50th day.....”

‘The tomorrow of’ something is an indefinite period, i.e. hereafter, defined by the requirement to count seven Sabbaths in vs. 15, and a 50th day in vs. 16. Said 50th day need not come on Sunday. Machar simply means ‘time after’ or ‘time to come.’ In vs. 11, only one day is required to wave the sheaf, and therefore, tomorrow simply means the next day after the Passover Sabbath. Between 43 and 49 days are needed to count off seven Sabbaths, and between 1 and 7 days are needed after the seventh Sabbath to reach the 50th day.

The Karaite sect of Judaism insists that there is no annual Passover Sabbath. Generally, they are Jews who don’t believe in the testimony of Messiah, however, a good many Christians have adopted a Karaite point of view on Lev. 23:11, and have FAILED to compare this opinion with John 19:31 where it is proved that the annual Passover holy day is called “the Sabbath.” The crucifixion was on a Wednesday. Then the annual Sabbath began at sunset. Likewise, it is proved in Mark 16:1, since the women bought the spices on Friday after the annual Sabbath. Also Luke 23:56 refers to the same annual Sabbath. So the testimony of Messiah immediately strips the foundational argument from under Christians who want to adopt the views of the Karaite Jewish sect.

They may not realize this, but Karaite Christians also have a huge problem. Jewish Karaites rejecting Messiah need not deal with the testimony of the Evangelists. However Christians Karaites do. One of the Jewish Karaite ace arguments is that they get to translate ‘Sabbaths’ literally in Lev. 23:15. Very good, because if they did not, they would shoot down their own argument for Lev. 23:11 meaning only the weekly Sabbath. Christian Karaites adopt this argument, but then when they get to the resurrection passages in the Evangelists they translate ‘Sabbaths’ as “week.” Bingo. They have destroyed the whole basis for avoiding ‘weeks’ as a translation in Lev. 23:15. There is only one passage in Scripture where ‘sabbath’ might mean ‘week,’ and that is Luke 18:12, “I fast twice a Sabbath.” But this has little to do with the price of tea in China. If Christian Karaites argue Luke 18:12 for the resurrection passages, then they are bound to do the same for Lev. 23:15. If they argue “week” in the resurrection passages, they are bound to do the same in Lev. 23:15, and from there, their whole position unwinds.

I will mention a few other things here. The first is that if it is ever proved even once that Shavuot did not fall on Sunday, then the Sunday Shavuot and Sunday First fruits theory of Christian Karaites is entirely and completely disproved. This is called disproving a claim by a counter example that simply will not fit in with the claim. Well, there are several cases in Scripture. The very first Shavuot was on Sabbath, because after it, Moses waited six days and Yahweh spoke to him on the seventh day (Ex. 24:16). That makes the day before the six days also a Sabbath. Shavuot that year was on the Sabbath. That is all it takes. Just one counter example to the Karaite theory, and it is disproved.

But we don’t just have one counter example. When the sons of Israel came into the land, it says, “And they ate from the produce of the land in the tomorrow of the Passover, unleavened bread and grain in the same day, that very day. And in the tomorrow the manna ceased...” (Josh. 5:11-12). The Passover refers to the second Passover offering on the 15th day of Aviv. Now the 15th day was NOT the weekly Sabbath that year, because if it were the weekly Sabbath, then the manna would have last fallen on Friday, and would have ceased on the 15th. But it must here cease after a Sabbath. The only way that manna can cease after a Sabbath is if that Sabbath is an ANNUAL Sabbath on which manna DID fall in the morning! Cooking and preparing was allowed on a feast day Sabbath. Therefore, manna did fall on it. Finally, I will add that Scripture chronology proves this case out. In 1592 BC, Aviv 16 landed on Tuesday.

As a third witness, we have Luke 6:1, “the second first Sabbath” when the disciples picked grain on the edges of the fields was during a Sabbath. Now in the Karaite version of things, there is only one first of the Sabbaths, namely one that is seven days after the weekly Sabbath falling in the feast of unleavened bread. This is because they deny that the first day of unleavened bread is a Sabbath. However, Luke calls it the second first Sabbath. Where then is the first first Sabbath? The first Sabbath of unleavened bread is the first first Sabbath. This makes the first of the seven Sabbaths counted after that annual Sabbath the second first Sabbath. Now, the Torah prohibited eating any of the new grain until the sheaf was waved at the Sanctuary after the annual Sabbath. However, here we are on the second first Sabbath, and they are already eating the grain. That means the sheaf was waved earlier in the week. We know when it was waved. The year was AD 31. The sheaf was waved on Thursday, March 29th that year, after the first first Sabbath (the annual one on Aviv 15). The second first Sabbath was the weekly Sabbath, March 31st that year.

According to the Karaites, it was illegal to eat the new grain until Sunday, April 1. We note that the disciples were not accused of breaking Lev. 23:14. They were accused of breaking the Sabbath. Yeshua refuted the charge on the basis of Sabbath counter examples. And last, but not least, the resurrection passages themselves refute the Sunday Shavuot, and the Easter Sunday. They state that the resurrection was on “the first of the Sabbaths.” What Torah observant Messianics, who hold to the testimony of Yeshua, have to realize is that all the Sunday views were ploughed by the Roman Church. That includes Pentecost Sunday, Easter Sunday, and all the other perpetual Sundays.

II. On the word Sabbath

It is assumed by Karaites that the words “The Sabbath” means only the seventh day. Then using this assumption they say that “The Sabbath” in Lev. 23:11 and 15 means only the seventh day. This is what is called begging the question, or in other words circular reasoning. It is called assuming what you want to prove. In Hebrew “the Sabbath” does not mean “the seventh day.” HaShabbat means “the ceasing,” “the resting” or “the cessation.” In the Hebrew language meanings are based on verb roots. The root for Sabbath is shavat which means ‘to cease.’ The verb does not specify what is ceased from. It only specifies that something ceases.

Non-Hebrew speakers or readers have a hard time spotting this sense of ceasing, and so when they read the word Sabbath they technically equate it with the seventh day. But the Scripture does not make this equation. The commandment really says, “Remember the day of the cessation” (Ex. 20:8). The whole context refers to the seventh day of creation, ‘day of the cessation.’ In Exodus 16:29 it says, “See, for Yahweh has given you the cessation....” However, this usage does not prevent ‘the cessation’ from being used for a different, equally definite cessation. If ‘the cessation’ is used on combination with the word ‘day’ as in ‘day of the cessation’ in construct, then it refers to the seventh day. However, if ‘the cessation’ is used independently, then it may refer to some other definite cessation pointed to by the context.

Leviticus 23:11 does not mention the seventh day. It speaks of ‘the cessation’ (or ‘the ceasing’) which beings on the day after Passover (Joshua 5:11). ‘The ceasing’ is the first day of unleavened bread because Israel ceases from leaven on that day and from servile labor. Leaven is caused to cease on the head-most day of the feast, Aviv 14 (cf. Ex. 12:15), and the cessation from leaven formally begins at sunset on Aviv 14 (Ex. 12:18). The ceasing from leaven continues for seven days, but the ceasing from servile labor lasts only until sunset on the 15th day. So the ‘tomorrow of the ceasing’ is Aviv 16.

It is pointed out that John 19:31 calls the day after the crucifixion ‘the Sabbath’ ῷ σαββάτῳ, and τοῦ σαββάτου. See also Mark 16:1, and Luke 23:56. In Mark 16:1, the Aramaic Peshitta uses שׁבתא, which means ‘the Sabbath’; the Aleph (א) on the end of the word is the definite article in Aramaic: שׁבת+א = the Sabbath. In John 19:31, the Peshitta has דשׁבתא, which means, ‘of the Sabbath’; it occurs twice. The ‘d’ is a genitive marker hence ד+שׁבת+א = of the Sabbath. In Luke 23:54, the Peshitta has "And the Sabbath" (ושׁבתא). Although Codex Bezae differently in Luke 23:54, it shows that the Peshitta has no problem calling the Annual Sabbath, ‘the Sabbath.’ And in Luke 23:56, ‘ובשׁבתא’ = ‘And on the Sabbath.’ This too refers to the Annual Sabbath as the syntax demands with Luke 24:1. There can be no debate that Mark 16:1 and John 19:31 refer to the annual Sabbath, while there might be some disagreement over Luke 23:56, since Messiah died on a Wednesday and was in the grave three days and three nights. So for the Annual Sabbath, the Peshitta uses the exact equivalent of Lev. 23:11 and 15, ‘the Sabbath.’

Also the LXX (Septuagint) uses the words τοῦ σαββάτου NINE times. These are the exact same words used in John 19:31 and Mark 16:2 referring to the annual Sabbath. In every one of the nine cases, the words are translated from the Hebrew הַשַּׁבָּת. Therefore, one cannot argue that this phrase means another Hebrew word Sabbaton (שַׁבָּתוֹן), which means ‘Great Cessation’ or ‘complete cessation.’ This is really the word ‘sabbath’ with an Aramaic intensive ending וֹן on. The LXX sometimes uses the word σαββάτων or ἀνάπαυσις to show this word, and never σαββάτου. Therefore, there is no evident intention either in the Aramaic Peshitta NOR in the Greek to call the Annual Sabbath a ‘Shabbaton,’ which has been used to discount the Annual Sabbath being called ‘the Sabbath’ in the Evangelists. It should also be pointed out that the weekly Sabbath is called ‘Shabbaton’ on Lev. 23:3. Therefore, there can hardly be any intention of categorizing Sabbaths and Sabbaton’s so as to prevent Aviv 15 from being called ‘the Sabbath.’

The argument that Aviv 15 cannot be called ‘the cessation’ is entirely circular, based upon assuming that only the seventh day is ‘the cessation’ or the only kind of ‘the cessation’ possible. This opinion is destroyed by Passion Chronology, by the Peshitta, and by the Greek Evangelists. It is also refuted by the overall chronology of Scripture, namely that the first Shavuot was on the Sabbath, and not Sunday (see Ex. 24:16), and that the sheaf was waved after the Passover in Joshua 5:11, and not after the weekly Sabbath. This too is proved by the ceasing of the manna, and the actual chronological year.

1. Post Second Temple Jewish Traditon (after AD 70) discarded the daybreak to daybreak day used in the Temple for sacrificial services, and exclusively counted the day from evening to evening. The Rabbis, therefore, say to count after sunset. Planned link to article concerning the reckoning of a day.return

2. The first daily offering was slain and put on the altar as soon as it was daybreak according to the Mishnah. After it was burning, then the wave sheaf offering was prepared with its lamb, grain offering, and drink offering. See Lev. 23:12-14. All the offerings remained on the altar for the duration of the day and all the following night. Lev. 6:9-10. It may therefore be that the offerings were made before the 9 am traditionally stated by commentators. So strictly speaking they were made after the daily offering, but then as soon as practical after it.return

3. This word also means 'onward'; or even 'while' if we point the vowel differently.return

4. The first of the Sabbaths is especially significant to Messiah's resurrection, since it is on this day that he was raised. According to the Greek texts it was: Τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων = the first Sabbath day.return

5. or ANNUAL SABBATH. The word Sabbath means 'cessation' or 'ceasing.'return