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Traditionally Acts 20:7 is translated, "And upon the first day of the week
...", and it is used to bolster the Sunday worship argument. However,
like all the other "first day" texts, this one also has been mistranslated:
§276 Acts 20:7 correctly reads:
And on the first of the Sabbaths, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and he continued his speech until midnight.§277 In the Greek the underlined words are . The Greek word means "one" in Greek. Sometimes it means "first," but usually it means "one," or simply "one" in the sense of our indefinite article "a." Where the context makes it clear that the "first Sabbath" after Passover is meant, then the translation of "first" would be proper. Otherwise "one," or "a" Sabbath day would be the proper translation.
We sailed away in the midst of the days of unleavend bread..
The days of unleavend bread were the 15th to the 21st,, being the seven
days of the Passover feast that year, since there was an Adar II,
the pre-ceeding month having 30 days, the first seder would be on the 14th,
not the 16th. Hence they sailed on the 16th of Aviv, but Luke implies
that the trip took 5 days in vs. 6, viz. 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th
days of Aviv, or by the common day, the 16th before sunrise =1 day, 16th=2,
17th=2, 18th =4, 19th=5. On the 21st of Aviv was the last day
of Pesach, when they would have rested and had an holy convocation, or
if in doubt also on the 20th. And on the 22nd day of Aviv was the
first of the Sabbaths, when they met in Acts 20:7.
§281 There is a confusing matter at the end of vs. 6 in the English text, where we stayed seven days, but which should be rendered with the Majority text, reversing the accents on ou as we did not rub through seven days, meaning that they did not use up all the seven days of unleavened bread before thay arrived at Troas.
§282 If this explanation is not correct, as I believe it is, then we will be forced to render the passage, On one of the Sabbaths, leaving out the def. article the as being generic in Greek. In that case it could be even the second or third Sabbath after Passover.
§283 Finally, Shavout that year did land on Sunday, and the Sadducees and Pharisees counting of the Sabbaths and days to Shavuot coincided, but let us not think that the Sadducees were correct in always placing Pentecost on Sunday. For Shavuot was 50 days after the Exodus, and marks the anniversary of the giving of the Law (which was on Sivan 6, the Sabbath day), and the Sadducees would have that period as variable. The count to Shavuot properly begins on the day after the Passover rest day, the Sabbath of Lev. 23:11.
§284 John Calvin, the reformer, agrees with us that Acts 20:7 speaks of the Sabbath day; first he translates it "on one day of the Sabbaths," and then he comments,
[This] means either the first day of the week, the day after the sabbath, or one particular sabbath [emphasis mine], and the latter would seem to me more likely for this reason, that according to custom that day was most suitable for holding a meeting (Calvin's Commentaries, Acts 20:7).§285 Calvin continues,
For to what end is there mentioned of the Sabbath, save only that he may note the opportunity and choice of the time? Also, it is a likely matter that Paul waited for the Sabbath, that the day before his departure he might the more easily gather all the disciples into one place (ibid).§286 In his commentary on John 20:1, he comments,
On the first day of the week; or literally, on the first day of the Sabbaths. The Evangelists do not relate when or how Christ rose; for it was enough for them to explain at what time, and to what persons, His Resurrection was made known. John therefore says, that Mary came on the first day of the Sabbaths. Literally the words may be rendered, on one (mia) day of the Sabbaths; but it is customary with the Hebrews to use the word () one, instead of first because in reckoning we begin with one.§287 Isn't that incredible! The patron saint of half the Protestant world let the cat out of the bag 500 years ago.
Christ rose in 34 c.e., to this add 3 years until the conversion of Saul
(37 c.e.), and then 3 more in Arabia (to 40 c.e.), plus 14 years to the
Jerusalem council. This brings us to 54 c.e. His third journey
was after the council (54 c.e. - 57 c.e.). He spent three years in
Ephesus (54, 55, 56) and then he went to Macedonia, Achaia, and Corinth,
where he stayed three months. Early in 57 (see Fig. 25) he returned
through Troas to Jerusalem.
§290.1 Relevant Astronomical Data:
The Year is 4197 A.M. (Anno Mundi: Year 1 = 4140 B.C.E.).
4/ 9/ 57 SAB Julday:
Last High Sabbath 4/15/ 57 FRI Julday: 1741982
Pentecost 5/29/ 57 SUN Julday: 1742026
Trumpets 9/20/ 57 TUE Julday: 1742140
Day of Atonement 9/29/ 57 THR Julday: 1742149
Tabernacles 10/ 4/ 57 TUE Julday: 1742154
Last High Sabbath 10/11/ 57 TUE Julday: 1742161
* Feast Days begin on preceeding day at sunset.
For example if the
feast is listed as 4/1, then the feast high sabbath begins on 3/31
at sunset and ends on 4/1 at sunset.
Spring Equinox: 3/22/ 57 11h:50m
Fall Equinox: 9/24/ 57 22h:0m
All the New Moons of the Year
1. AVIV (Nisan)
FRI 3/25/ 57
29 days Jul: 1741961.16
2. ZIV (Iyyar) SAB 4/23/ 57 30 days Jul: 1741990.17
3. Sivan MON 5/23/ 57 30 days Jul: 1742020.19
4. Shoshana WED 6/22/ 57 30 days Jul: 1742050.20
5. Av FRI 7/22/ 57 29 days Jul: 1742080.20
6. Elul SAB 8/20/ 57 30 days Jul: 1742109.18
7. ETHANIM (Tishri) MON 9/19/ 57 29 days Jul: 1742139.15
8. BUL (Marchesvan) TUE 10/18/ 57 29 days Jul: 1742168.13
9. Kislev WED 11/16/ 57 30 days Jul: 1742197.11
10. Tebeth FRI 12/16/ 57 29 days Jul: 1742227.11
11. Shebat SAB 1/14/ 58 29 days Jul: 1742256.12
12. Adar SUN 2/12/ 58 30 days Jul: 1742285.14
* Months begin at sunset on the day listed
(not the day before)
* Months in capital letters are Pre-exilic biblical names
* All other month names are post exilic Hebrew-Babylonian
* I have taken the liberty to replace 'Tammuz' with 'Shoshana'
* since 'Tammuz,' (the the son of Semiramis, who styled herself
* the 'Queen of Heaven,') should not by honoured by a month name.
Astronomical Circumstances of Each New Moon
1. AVIV (Nisan) AL: 19.6 AV: 19.5 AN:
6.1 D: 13.4 PR: -2.0
2. ZIV (Iyyar) AL: 12.2 AV: 12.2 AN: 8.6 D: 3.6 PR: <7
3. Sivan AL: 15.9 AV: 14.6 AN: 7.3 D: 7.3 PR: <7
4. Shoshana AL: 21.0 AV: 14.8 AN: 6.7 D: 8.1 PR: -4.0
5. Av AL: 27.3 AV: 14.0 AN: 2.5 D: 11.5 PR: -0.9 AMBpr
6. Elul AL: 22.0 AV: 7.9 AN: 6.0 D: 1.9 PR: -9.5 AMB
7. ETHANIM (Tishri) AL: 29.3 AV: 12.1 AN: 1.1 D: 11.0 PR: -2.8
8. BUL (Marchesvan) AL: 23.4 AV: 11.2 AN: 5.1 D: 6.1 PR: -7.9
9. Kislev AL: 16.9 AV: 10.8 AN: 7.0 D: 3.8 PR: <7
10. Tebeth AL: 24.7 AV: 21.0 AN: 4.2 D: 16.8 PR: -1.0
11. Shebat AL: 18.2 AV: 17.9 AN: 6.6 D: 11.3 PR: <7
12. Adar AL: 12.3 AV: 12.1 AN: 8.6 D: 3.5 PR: S>M
* AL = Arc of Light = Angular distance
between sun and moon
* AV = Arc of Vision = Difference between sun and moon altitude
* AN = Arc Needed for Visibility (altitude difference)
* D = AV-AN (AV over or under that needed).
* AMB = Ambiguous (New Moon uncertain when D<2.0 degrees.
* PR = notes on circumstances of previous day
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