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 ‘He said to them, ‘This is what the LORD commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the LORD.’

It was enforced when the children of Israel were at Mount Sinai,

Exodus 20:8, ‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.’

Nehemiah reminds the people where it originated from, namely, Mount Sinai.

Nehemiah 9:13-14 ‘You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses.’

The Sabbath was given by God,

Exodus 20:8 ‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.’

Nehemiah 9:14 ‘You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses.’

And notice to whom it was given, the children of Israel.

Exodus 31:13 ‘Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.’

Deuteronomy 5:15 ‘Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore, the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.’

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 ‘Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.’

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 ‘having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.’

Hebrews 9:16-17 ‘In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.’

The Sabbath observance was abolished at Jerusalem, at Golgotha, Calvary,

Matthew 27:33 ‘They came to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘the place of the skull’).

Luke 23:33 ‘When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.’

And so, it’s very clear that the Bible teaches it was abolished by Christ Himself,

2 Corinthians 3:7-11 ‘Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!’

2 Corinthians 3:14 ‘But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.’

Ephesians 2:15 ‘by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.’

Colossians 2:14 ‘Having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.’

Hebrews 8:13 ‘By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.’

Why did Christ abolish the Sabbath?

Well simply because Jesus was the only person who ever fulfilled the old law,

Matthew 5:17 ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.’

In Christ, we now have a better covenant,

Hebrews 8:6-13 ‘But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: ‘The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.’ By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.’

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 ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.’

2. The Sabbath was made for man.

Mark 2:27 ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’

3. Adam was a man.

Genesis 2:7 ‘Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.’

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 ‘Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.’

Romans 5:13 ‘To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.’

2. Adam sinned.

Genesis 3:6 ‘When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.’

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 ‘You shall not steal.’

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

Exodus 20:13 ‘You shall not murder.’

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 ‘He said to them, ‘This is what the LORD commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the LORD.’

The Bible clearly teaches that the Sabbath was given to Israel, not Adam.

Exodus 31:16 ‘The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.’

The Bible clearly tells us that the Sabbath wasn’t made known until the law was given.

Nehemiah 9:1314 ‘You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses.’

The Bible nowhere teaches that the Ten Commandments were given at creation. The Covenant wasn’t made with anyone before creation.

Deuteronomy 5:3 ‘It was not with our ancestors that the LORD made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today.’

Deuteronomy 5:15 ‘Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore, the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.’

Again, this is reinforced, because we know that the old law was given after the promise to Abraham.

Galatians 3:17 ‘What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.’

And if we read on we’ll see that the old law was given because of sin,

Galatians 3:19 ‘Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator.’

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 ‘Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.’

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. Click on link below for diagram.

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 ‘Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him.’

Nehemiah 8:1 ‘All the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel.’

Nehemiah 8:18 ‘Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God.’

Nehemiah 10:29 ‘All these now join their fellow Israelites the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the LORD our Lord.’

The Ten commandments are the first covenant,

Deuteronomy 4:13 ‘He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets,’

and the ordinances and services were part of the first covenant,

Hebrews 9:1 ‘Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.’

‘What is the greatest commandment in ‘the law’?’ Matthew 22:36.

It’s clear to see that the Ten commandments and the ‘ceremonial law’ were grouped together,

Leviticus 19:1-37, ‘The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. ‘Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God. ‘Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the LORD your God. ‘When you sacrifice, a fellowship offering to the LORD, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it or on the next day; anything left over until the third day must be burned up. If any of it is eaten on the third day, it is impure and will not be accepted. Whoever eats it will be held responsible because they have desecrated what is holy to the LORD; they must be cut off from their people. ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God. ‘Do not steal. ‘Do not lie. ‘Do not deceive one another. ‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the LORD. ‘Do not defraud or rob your neighbour. ‘Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight. ‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the LORD. ‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly. ‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. ‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbour’s life. I am the LORD. ‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbour frankly so you will not share in their guilt. ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD. ‘Keep my decrees. ‘Do not mate different kinds of animals. ‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. ‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. ‘If a man sleeps with a female slave who is promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment. Yet they are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed. The man, however, must bring a ram to the entrance to the tent of meeting for a guilt offering to the LORD. With the ram of the guilt offering the priest is to make atonement for him before the LORD for the sin he has committed, and his sin will be forgiven. ‘When you enter the land, and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years, you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten. In the fourth year, all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD. But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way, your harvest will be increased. I am the LORD your God. ‘Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. ‘Do not practice divination or seek omens. ‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. ‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD. ‘Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness. ‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD. ‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God. ‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD. ‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. ‘Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt. ‘Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the LORD.’

Another example of this, is found in that the ‘ceremonial law’ was called the law of the Lord,

Luke 2:23+24 ‘(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord’), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.’

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 ‘The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason, it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.’

Jesus Himself lists some commandments that remain in place,

Matthew 19:18-19 ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honour your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’

But we have to remember that Christ came to fulfil the law,

Matthew 5:17-18 ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.’

John 19:30 ‘When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.’

What was abolished?

Jewish observances were abolished,

Colossians 2:16 ‘Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.’

Galatians 4:9-11 ‘But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.’

Jewish observances were abolished and this includes the Weekly Sabbath.

1 Chronicles 23:31 ‘Whenever burnt offerings were presented to the LORD on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals. They were to serve before the LORD regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them.’

2 Chronicles 2:4 ‘Now I am about to build a temple for the Name of the LORD my God and to dedicate it to him for burning fragrant incense before him, for setting out the consecrated bread regularly, and for making burnt offerings every morning and evening and on the Sabbaths, at the New Moons and at the appointed festivals of the LORD our God. This is a lasting ordinance for Israel.’

2 Chronicles 8:13 ‘According to the daily requirement for offerings commanded by Moses for the Sabbaths, the New Moons and the three annual festivals—the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles.’

2 Chronicles 31:3 ‘The king contributed from his own possessions for the morning and evening burnt offerings and for the burnt offerings on the Sabbaths, at the New Moons and at the appointed festivals as written in the Law of the LORD.’

Nehemiah 10:33 ‘For the bread set out on the table; for the regular grain offerings and burnt offerings; for the offerings on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals; for the holy offerings; for sin offerings to make atonement for Israel; and for all the duties of the house of our God.’

Ezekiel 45:17 ‘It will be the duty of the prince to provide the burnt offerings, grain offerings and drink offerings at the festivals, the New Moons and the Sabbaths—at all the appointed festivals of Israel. He will provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to make atonement for the Israelites.’

Now compare all those verses above with Galatians 4:10

‘You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!’

Compare all those verses above with Colossians 2:16

‘Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.’

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 ‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,’ declares the LORD.’

2 Corinthians 3:7-11 ‘Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!’

2 Corinthians 3:14 ‘But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.’

Romans 6:14 ‘For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.’

Romans 7:4 ‘So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.’

Romans 7:6 ‘But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.’

Romans 8:2 ‘Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.’

Ephesians 2:15 ‘By setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.’

Hebrews 7:12 ‘For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.’

Hebrews 8:7 ‘For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.’

Hebrews 8:13 ‘By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.’

So, what remains today?

The new covenant remains,

2 Corinthians 3:11 ‘And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!’

There remains a rest, in Christ this is heavenly but not command to keep the Sabbath, for the people of God.

Matthew 11:28 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’

Hebrews 4:10 ‘For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.’

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 ‘Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.’

They say there is a New Testament example of keeping the Sabbath,

Luke 23:56 ‘Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.’

They also say that the Sabbath is the Lord’s Day,

Luke 6:5 ‘The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.’

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 ‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.’

The Bible teaches that the Old Testament was a tutor leading to Christ, and is no longer needed,

Galatians 19-25 ‘Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one. Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So, the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.’

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 ‘In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.’

The Bible teaches that the old law is a yoke that no one could bear,

Acts 15:10 ‘Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?’

The law teaches that you must be circumcised and keep the law, but the apostles gave no such commandment,

Acts 15:28-29 ‘It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.’

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 ‘When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.’

Acts 20:7 ‘On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.’

l Corinthians 16:2 ‘On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.’

The Lord’s Day is the first day of the week,

Psalm 118:24 ‘The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.’

Matthew 28:1 ‘After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.’

Revelation 1:10 ‘On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet.’

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 ‘So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’

Mark 16:9 ‘When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.’

John 20:11-18 ‘Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’ Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means ‘Teacher’). Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.’

2. To two disciples going to Emmaus.

Luke 24:13-33 ‘Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’ They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.’ He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So, he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together.’

Mark 16:12-13 ‘Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.’

3. To Simon Peter.

Luke 24:31-35 ‘Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, ‘It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.’

4. To the eleven disciples on the evening of Resurrection Sunday.

Mark 16:14-18 ‘Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name, they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.’

Luke 24:36-44 ‘While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’

John 20:19-23 ‘On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again, Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father, has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’

5. To the Eleven disciples ‘Seven days later’.

John 20:26-29 ‘A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’

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 ‘On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’

2. Jesus received worship from Thomas.

John 20:27-28 ‘Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’

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 22:19 ‘And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’

and their

‘eyes were opened and they recognised Him’, Luke 24:31

4. Sunday evening Jesus blessed His disciples twice saying ‘Peace be with you’.

John 20:20 ‘After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.’

John 20:26 ‘A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’

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 ‘If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’

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 ‘Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’

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. Click on link below for diagram.

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. Click on link below for diagram.

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 ‘For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.’

Notice 13 sins are listed but Jesus didn’t mention breaking the Sabbath.

Romans 1:29-32 ‘They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.’

Notice that 20 sins are listed and not one of them is Sabbath breaking.

Galatians 5:19-21 ‘The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.’

Notice again a list of 15 sins are given, but no mention of Sabbath breaking.

2 Timothy 3:1-4 ‘But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.’

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 ‘The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days, you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. For seven days present a food offering to the LORD. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’ The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. 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.’

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 ‘The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies. ‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD. ‘These are the LORD’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times.’

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 ‘Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.’

Exodus 31:16-17 ‘The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'"

Matthew 22:37

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