Scriptures

The Sabbath Day

Introduction

Some religious groups today, maintain that the 4th commandment found in Exodus 20:8, ‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy,’ is binding on Christians today. But by simply showing that this command, along with the rest of the old law, has been abolished proves this view to be wrong.

The Sabbath

The Sabbath command was given in 1446 B.C. The children of Israel came into the wilderness, Exodus 16:23. It was enforced when the children of Israel were at Mount Sinai, Exodus 20:8. Nehemiah reminds the people where it originated from, namely, Mount Sinai, Nehemiah 9:13-14.

The Sabbath was given by God, Exodus 20:8 / Nehemiah 9:14. And notice to whom it was given, the children of Israel, Exodus 31:13 / Deuteronomy 5:15.

But what was the purpose of this Sabbath Day? Why was it given to the Israelites? It was a sign between God and the children of Israel, that they may know He is the Lord who sanctified them, Exodus 31:13 / Genesis 2:3.

Notice it’s not stated here that God rested from all activity, but that He rested from creation, ‘the work which he had been doing,’ which is an expression repeated twice. Please note that this has no reference whatever to the Jewish Sabbath. This doesn’t refer to the days of the week, but to the days of the creation.

This day of God’s rest is still going on, Hebrews 4:4-6 / Hebrews 4:11, and will obviously continue until Christ returns. There is no command here for man to rest, no revelation whatever to Adam or his posterity suggesting or commanding the observance of any such thing as the Jewish sabbath.

Notice also, the specific thing from which it’s stated that God rested is the work of creation, a fact which is obvious enough in the fact that the creation isn’t still going on. There is also no mention here of ‘evening and morning,’ which tells us that the close of the seventh day is still in progress.

We must remember that the sabbath that God blessed was the first day of Adam’s life, not the seventh, and there’s no indication whatever that Adam ever heard of a sabbath. The sabbath was made known, not to Adam, but to Moses, Nehemiah 9:13-14, and the reason for the Jewish observance of the sabbath given to them wasn’t because God rested on the creation sabbath, but ‘the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt,’ Deuteronomy 5:15

The sabbath was never a sign between God and all men, but, ‘It is a sign between me (God) and the children of Israel.’ Exodus 31:17

God created everything in six days, Genesis 1 / Exodus 20:11. At the end of the sixth day, God looked at everything He had made and said it was ‘very good’, Genesis 1:31. The next day, day seven, God rested from His work of creating because it was all finished, Genesis 2:2. God then blessed this day because it was the day that He chose to rest from His work, Genesis 2:3.

Why did God rest?

Was He tired from all the work of creating? Not at all! The Bible tells us that God doesn’t get tired or sleep, Psalm 121:3-4. He rested to establish a pattern for us to follow.

Now as Christians, we believe what the Bible says and that is simply, that the Sabbath was abolished in 30 A.D. with the death of Christ on the cross, Colossians 2:14 / Hebrews 9:16-17.

The Sabbath observance was abolished at Jerusalem, at Golgotha, Calvary, Matthew 27:33 / Luke 23:33. And so, it’s very clear that the Bible teaches it was abolished by Christ Himself, 2 Corinthians 3:7-11 / 2 Corinthians 3:14 / Ephesians 2:15 / Colossians 2:14 / Hebrews 8:13.

Why did Christ abolish the Sabbath?

Well simply because Jesus was the only person who ever fulfilled the old law, Matthew 5:17. In Christ, we now have a better covenant, Hebrews 8:6-13.

Some religious groups today make a lot of assumptions. They believe that the law, the ten commandments, existed before sin came into the world, since creation. They believe the Sabbath was given at creation and they use the following Scriptures to make their point.

1. God made all things, John 1:1-3.

2. The Sabbath was made for man, Mark 2:27.

3. Adam was a man, Genesis 2:7.

4. Sabbath must have been made at creation for Adam to keep.

Some religious groups today believe that the Ten Commandments were given at creation. Below is their argument for thinking this way.

1. Adam couldn’t have known sin without the law, Romans 3:20 / Romans 5:13.

2. Adam sinned, Genesis 3:6.

3. Ten commandments must have existed since creation. They give a couple of examples,

a. Adam broke the 8th commandment by stealing the fruit, ‘Exodus 20:15.

b. Adam broke the 6th commandment because he brought death upon himself, ‘slow suicide’. Exodus 20:13.

However, the Bible teaches otherwise, the Bible clearly teaches that the Sabbath wasn’t given at creation. The Sabbath isn’t even mentioned before Exodus 16. Exodus 16:23.

The Bible clearly teaches that the Sabbath was given to Israel, not Adam, Exodus 31:16.

The Bible clearly tells us that the Sabbath wasn’t made known until the law was given, Nehemiah 9:13-14.

The Bible nowhere teaches that the Ten Commandments were given at creation. The Covenant wasn’t made with anyone before creation, Deuteronomy 5:3 / Deuteronomy 5:15.

Again, this is reinforced, because we know that the old law was given after the promise to Abraham, Galatians 3:17. And if we read on we’ll see that the old law was given because of sin, Galatians 3:19.

Did Adam have law?

Well yes, but it was simply this, ‘and the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’

We also have to understand that the ‘handwriting of requirements’, is different from God’s great moral law, the ten commandments, Colossians 2:14.

We must ask the question, what exactly was abolished by Christ on the cross?

Below are some examples of what some religious groups believe on this topic. Notice how it’s split into two groups.

Now what does the Bible say about the moral and ceremonial laws?

The Bible says that the Law of God and Law of Moses are the same thing, Ezra 7:6 / Nehemiah 8:1 / Nehemiah 8:18 / Nehemiah 10:29.

The Ten commandments are the first covenant, Deuteronomy 4:13.

and the ordinances and services were part of the first covenant, Hebrews 9:1 / Matthew 22:36.

It’s clear to see that the Ten commandments and the ‘ceremonial law’ were grouped together, Leviticus 19:1-37. Another example of this, is found in that the ‘ceremonial law’ was called the law of the Lord, Luke 2:23-24.

So again, we ask the question, what was abolished? The Bible tells us that the Law was shadow of things to come, Hebrews 10:1. Jesus Himself lists some commandments that remain in place, Matthew 19:18-19.

But we have to remember that Christ came to fulfil the law, Matthew 5:17-18 / John 19:30.

What was abolished?

Jewish observances were abolished, Colossians 2:16 / Galatians 4:9-11. Jewish observances were abolished and this includes the Weekly Sabbath, 1 Chronicles 23:31 / 2 Chronicles 2:4 / 2 Chronicles 8:13 / 2 Chronicles 31:3 / Nehemiah 10:33 / Ezekiel 45:17.

Now compare all those verses above with Galatians 4:10. Compare all those verses above with Colossians 2:16. Do you see how the days, months, years pattern has changed?

The Bible tells us that the entire old law was abolished, Jeremiah 31:31-32 / 2 Corinthians 3:7-11 / 2 Corinthians 3:14 / Romans 6:14 / Romans 7:4 / Romans 7:6 / Romans 8:2 / Ephesians 2:15 / Hebrews 7:12 / Hebrews 8:7 / Hebrews 8:13.

So, what remains today?

The new covenant remains, 2 Corinthians 3:11. There remains a rest, in Christ this is heavenly but not command to keep the Sabbath, for the people of God, Matthew 11:28 / Hebrews 4:10.

Some religious groups believe that the Old Testament law was considered binding by New Testament writers. They say it’s, ‘Profitable for doctrine, means profitable for authority’ ‘All scripture is profitable for doctrine, 2 Timothy 3:15-17

so we should teach that Christians must keep the Sabbath. They also believe that the first-century Christians kept the Sabbath. They say that Paul kept the Sabbath, Acts 18:4. They say there is a New Testament example of keeping the Sabbath, Luke 23:56. They also say that the Sabbath is the Lord’s Day, Luke 6:5.

The Bible teaches, ‘Profitable for doctrine, means profitable for doctrine’, 2 Timothy 3:15-17. The Old Testament is profitable for doctrine, teaching, it was written for our learning, Romans 15:4.

The Bible teaches that the Old Testament was a tutor leading to Christ, and is no longer needed, Galatians 3:19-25. The Bible teaches that the first-century Christians did NOT keep the Sabbath. Why? Because the New covenant didn’t come into effect until death of Christ, Hebrews 9:16-17.

The Bible teaches that the old law is a yoke that no one could bear, Acts 15:10. The law teaches that you must be circumcised and keep the law, but the apostles gave no such commandment, Acts 15:28-29.

Notice that the Holy Spirit told them not to lay upon the Gentiles any greater burden than those essentials. Obviously, the Holy Spirit didn’t think Sabbath keeping was an essential thing anymore!

The Bible teaches that the disciples came together on the first day of the week, Acts 2:1 / Acts 20:7 / 1 Corinthians 16:2. The Lord’s Day is the first day of the week, Psalm 118:24 / Matthew 28:1 / Revelation 1:10.

The 7 post-resurrection appearances of Christ show that Jesus purposefully chose the first day of the week to meet with His disciples to encourage and exhort them. The evidence shows that five of these appearances occurred on a Sunday, the first day of the week. We don’t have a record of what the actual day on which the other appearances, John 21 and Acts 1:6-10, occurred to His disciples.

What we can say with accuracy is this, after Jesus’ resurrection whenever He met with His disciples and the day is identified, it is NOT the Sabbath, it is the first day of the week!

1. To Mary, On the morning of the resurrection, Matthew 28:8-10 / Mark 16:9 / John 20:11-18.

2. To two disciples going to Emmaus, Luke 24:13-33 / Mark 16:12-13.

3. To Simon Peter, Luke 24:31-35.

4. To the eleven disciples on the evening of Resurrection Sunday, Mark 16:14-18 / Luke 24:36-44 / John 20:19-23.

5. To the Eleven disciples ‘Seven days later’. John 20:26-29.

Pentecost happened on the first day of the week! The church was born on the first day of the week! That doesn’t make Sunday the Sabbath, it just tells you that after the resurrection of Jesus, the Sabbath is not emphasised. When a day is mentioned in connection with the appearances of the risen Lord Jesus, it’s always the first day of the week. Look at the extremely important events that occurred in the life of the first followers of Christ on the first day of the week.

1. Jesus startled them by appearing to them on the first day, John 20:19.

2. Jesus received worship from Thomas, John 20:27-28.

3. Sunday evening Jesus took bread and blessed it and broke it and gave it to His disciples evidently like He had in instituting the communion meal, Luke 24:31 / Luke 22:19.

4. Sunday evening Jesus blessed His disciples twice saying ‘Peace be with you’. John 20:20 / John 20:26.

5. That same Sunday evening Jesus, ‘breathed on them and said, ‘receive the Holy Spirit’. John 20:22

6. On Sunday evening Jesus gave His disciples the ecclesiastical authority to proclaim forgiveness to those who believe in Him through the Gospel, John 20:23.

The ‘ministry of death,’ 2 Corinthians 3:7 is abolished when the sinner comes to Christ, in the sense that we no longer have to pay the penalty for transgressing the law.

Some religious groups today say that ‘since the ten commandants have existed since creation, the purpose of them being given to Israel in Exodus 20 is to apply a penalty for disobeying them. Therefore, it is the penalty that is done away in Christ, not the commandments themselves’. 2 Corinthians 3:1-18.

Take a look at the chart below, it’s a breakdown of 2 Corinthians 3:1-18. Notice the contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

Let’s take a quick look at the Ten Commandments as we find them in the Scripture and notice the one commandment which isn’t found in the New Testament.

The nine ‘moral’ commands of the 10 commandments are reiterated in the new Testament.

1. To worship the Lord God only (1st commandment) no less than 50 times.

2. Idolatry (2nd commandment) condemned 12 times.

3. Profanity (3rd commandment) condemned 4 times.

4. Honouring parents (5th commandment) is taught 6 times.

5. Murder (6th commandment) condemned 6 times.

6. Adultery (7th commandment) condemned 12 times.

7. Theft (8th commandment) condemned 4 times.

8. False Witness (9th commandment) condemned 4 times.

9. Covetousness (10th commandment) condemned 9 times.

Why is it that the duty to keep the Seventh day as Sabbath isn’t mentioned once in the New Testament?

When the New Testament lists sins, Sabbath breaking is conspicuously absent, Mark 7:21-22.

Notice 13 sins are listed but Jesus didn’t mention breaking the Sabbath, Romans 1:29-32.

Notice that 20 sins are listed and not one of them is Sabbath breaking, Galatians 5:19-21.

Notice again a list of 15 sins are given, but no mention of Sabbath breaking, 2 Timothy 3:1-4.

There’s a list of 18 sins, but not once is Sabbath breaking mentioned!

Why is it that nowhere in the New Testament is it taught that the ‘fourth commandment’ must be observed? Why is it that nowhere in the New Testament is failure to keep the Sabbath day condemned as sin? Why is the fourth commandment itself not repeated even once in the New Testament?

If the Sabbath keeping is so important for a disciple of Christ, why was it not mentioned in His sermon on the Mount or in any of His teachings? Why didn’t Jesus command Sabbath keeping?

Why didn’t any of the Apostles command Sabbath keeping? Why didn’t the Jerusalem counsel command Sabbath keeping or condemn Sabbath breaking? Acts 15.

Conclusion

If anyone ever asks you for one text in the Bible that commands Sunday worship, here it is, Leviticus 23:5-11.

Now look again at verse 11, ‘He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.’

The day after the Sabbath is Sunday. Read on specifically looking at Leviticus 23:15-16 ‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.’

This is the Feast of Pentecost. It was one of the compulsory feasts of
Israel.

Note on the day of Pentecost, a Sunday God’s people were commanded to worship. God says, ‘On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.’ Leviticus 23:21

If you think this is only applying to ‘ceremonial’ days, Leviticus 23 starts out talking about the weekly Sabbath, Leviticus 23:1-4. It’s called an appointed time and a holy convocation, or holy assemblies, along with all the other feast days of Israel. No distinction is made by God between these holy days and the weekly Sabbath. He includes them as being equally holy. This would mean that under the Old Covenant the First Fruits Sunday and the Pentecost Sunday were as holy and sanctified as Saturday.

If you think this only applies to Israel, that’s my point. The Ten Commandment Covenant, the Old Covenant was made with Israel, and not with the Gentiles, Exodus 31:13 / Exodus 31:16-17.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."

Proverbs 3:5

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