My little brother, Master-Prophet, asked the question: “WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK SHOULD WE WORSHIP ON as a corporate body?” In turn my question is: When was the first day of the week determined and mentioned; who named the first day of the week; what is the true name of the first day of the week;and where was the first day of the week named?
My etymological research has revealed as follow:
- O.E. Sæterdæg, Sæternesdæg, lit. “day of the planet Saturn,” from Sæternes (gen. of Sætern; see Saturn) + O.E. dæg “day.” Partial loan-translation of L. Saturni dies “Saturn’s day” (cf. Du. zaterdag, O.Fris. saterdi, M.L.G. satersdach; Ir. dia Sathuirn, Welsh dydd Sadwrn). The Latin word is itself a loan-translation of Gk. kronou hemera, lit. “the day of Cronus.”
Unlike other day names, no god substitution seems to have been attempted, perhaps because the northern European pantheon lacks a clear corresponding figure to Roman Saturn. An ancient Nordic custom, however, seems to be preserved in O.N. laugardagr, Dan. lørdag, Swed. lördag “Saturday,” lit. “bath day” (cf. O.N. laug “bath”). Ger. Samstag (O.H.G. sambaztag) appears to be from a Gk. *sambaton, a nasalized colloquial form of sabbaton “sabbath,” also attested in O.C.S. sabota, Rus. subbota, Fr. samedi.
- Sabbath (n.)
- O.E. sabat “Saturday,” observed by the Jews as a day of rest, from L. sabbatum, from Gk. sabbaton, from Heb. shabbath, prop. “day of rest,” from shabath “he rested.” The Babylonians regarded seventh days as unlucky, and avoided certain activities then; the Jewish observance may have begun as a similar custom. From the seventh day of the week, it began to be applied early 15c. to the first day (Sunday), a change completed during the Reformation. The original meaning is preserved in Sp. Sabado, It. Sabbato, and other languages’ names for “Saturday.” Hung. szombat, Rumanian simbata, Fr. samedi, Ger. Samstag “Saturday” are from V.L. sambatum, from Gk. *sambaton, a vulgar nasalized variant of sabbaton.
- O.E. Sunnandæg, lit. “day of the sun,” from sunnan, oblique case of sunne “sun” (see sun (n.)) + dæg “day” (see day). A West Germanic loan-translation of L. dies solis “day of the sun,” which is itself a loan-translation of Gk. hemera heliou. Cf. O.N. sunnundagr, Ger. Sonntag “Sunday.” Like other weekday names, not regularly capitalized until 17c.
- In accordance with my brother’s statement,
There are many different opinions as to how the history of the seven-day week came about, but the most common explanation is that the seven-day week seems to have originated when Babylonian astrologers assigned their planet gods to the days of the week around 700 BCE. The Romans later replaced these names with their own planet-gods.
Astrology has had a major influence on our weekly calendar in which it is responsible for the order of the days. Ancient Mesopotamian astrologers linked a planet-god to each hour of the day and then arranged them to their correct cosmological order. They used a seven-sided figure to keep track of the proper names of the hours and days in relation to the planet gods where each vertex was marked with a planet’s name in the proper order.
Most Latin-based languages derived the names of the seven days of the week from the Roman period where they related each day of the week with the seven planets, the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
The English language has retained these names for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, however the planet names for the other days of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday) were replaced by their equivalent Norse gods. Some Asiatic languages such as Hindi, Japanese and Korean have a similar relationship between the week days and the planets.
As for the first day of the week, which is at question,
The first day of the week varies all over the world. In most cultures, Sunday is regarded as the first day of the week although many observe Monday as the first day of the week. According to the Bible, the Sabbath or Saturday is the last day of the week which marks Sunday as the first day of the week for many Jewish and Christian faiths, while many countries regard Monday as the first day of the week.
According to the international standard ISO 8601, Monday shall be the first day of the week ending with Sunday as the seventh day of the week. Although this is the international standard, countries such as the United States still have their calendars refer to Sunday as the start of the seven-day week.
So, as inferred we must take into consideration as to what calendar in which we are operating and aligning our activities.
At no time in Gen. 1:5, does God give the first day a name nor is there any indication as to what distinguishes one day from the other.
As you can, our language and understanding of it is predicated on the Latin/Greek derivatives,which has totally erased our original communication and history by categorizing our ancient cultural practices and rites of passage as being paganistic.
All in all, it depends on what lens we are looking through to determine the value, worth, and necessity of a particular ritual.
A further example of the astrological influences on ritual practices is the calendar year we live by. For instance, in Latin the word for ten is “deca-“, “deci-“, “dece-“, the question would be why does the month of (Dec)ember fall into the 12th position, and how do you rectify the calendar to make it fit appropriately?
What is my position on this matter? My position is that the days of the week and other related matters are merely man’s desire to give some level of organization to what they considered chaotic in their particular community or society at that time. And it further perpetuates their denominational adaptation. This is also the same for the Reformation (Protestant) movement.
Here again, we inadvertently, allude to the necessity of “broadening one’s mind”, in order to make informed decisions.
I welcome all comments and rebuttals.