High Sabbaths

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This article is about a group of seven Biblical festivals. For Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur specifically, see High Holy Days. For Sabbath before Pesach, see Shabbat haGadol.

High Sabbaths, in Christian and Messianic Jewish usage, are seven annual Biblical festivals and rest days, recorded in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy.[1][2][3] This is an extension of the term "high day" found in the King James Version at John 19:31-42.

Biblical rest days[edit]

The seven festivals do not necessarily occur on weekly Shabbat (seventh-day Sabbath) and are called by the name miqra ("called assembly") in Hebrew (Lev. 23). They are observed by Jews and a minority of Christians. Three of them occur in spring: the first and seventh days of Pesach (Passover), and Shavuot (Pentecost) which occurs in summer. Three occur in fall, in the seventh month, and are also called shabbaton: Rosh Hashanah (Trumpets); Yom Kippur, the "Sabbath of Sabbaths" (Atonement); and the first and eighth days of Sukkoth (Tabernacles).[4] Sometimes the word shabbaton is extended to mean all seven festivals.[5]

The Gospel of John says of the night immediately following Christ's burial that "that sabbath day was a high day" (19:31-42). That night was Nisan 15, just after the first day of Passover week (Unleavened Bread) and an annual miqra and rest day, in most chronologies. (In other systems, it was Nisan 14, i.e., weekly but not annual Sabbath.) The King James Version may thus be the origin of naming the annual rest days "High Sabbaths" in English.

High Holy Days[edit]

The ten-day period between the High Sabbaths of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur inclusive is commonly referred to as the High Holy Days.


One Christian denomination, High Sabbath Adventists, takes its name from their definition of High Sabbaths. They define a High Sabbath as "when a Jewish ceremonial Sabbath... [lands] on a weekly Sabbath."[6]


  1. ^ "After the Crucifixion: The Three Days and the Three Nights". Theological FAQs. Blue Letter Bible. 
  2. ^ Parsons, John J. "Reshit Katzir: Messiah as the Beginning of the Harvest". Hebrew for Christians. 
  3. ^ "FAQ: Is a 'high day' a weekly Sabbath?". Sabbath.org. Church of the Great God. 
  4. ^ White, Lew. "The Seven Sabbaths of the Year". Fossilized Customs. 
  5. ^ Chumney, Eddie. "The Festival of Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzah)". The Seven Festivals of the Messiah. Feasts of the Lord. 
  6. ^ Dickinson, Ray. "God’s Timekeepers". The Last Countdown.