The Sabbath (1 of 2)

Introductory texts (Mt 15:3,8,9, Ac 5:29)

The Sabbath (Fourth) Commandment

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." (Ex 20:8-11)

The Seventh Day is Saturday

The reason why we have seven days is because of creation.

Year - time for earth to circle the sun

Month - time for moon to circle the earth

Look on any calendar to see that the seventh day of the week is Saturday.

Saturday - "the seventh day of the week" (Webster's College Dictionary 1991)

No change in the calendar has affected the weekly cycle.

The switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1582 did not change the weekly cycle.

The Julian calendar had allowed too many leap years and became out of sync with the solar cycle.

Ten dates were dropped, but the day sequence was preserved.

Thursday, October 4th was followed by Friday, October 15th

Saturday today is the same day of the week as when Christ observed the Sabbath.

"We have had occasion to investigate the results of the works of specialists in Chronology and we have never found one of them that has had the slightest doubt about the continuity of the weekly cycle since long before the Christian era." (U.S. Naval Observatory, James Robertson, Director, quoted in March 12, 1932 letter to F.D. Nichol)

Sabbath is the root of the word Saturday in 106 languages today.

Sabbatum (Latin), Sabbaton (Greek), Subbota (Russian), Sabado (Spanish)

The Jews have kept the Sabbath since before Christ and their calendar Saturday matches ours.

Biblical days go from sundown to sundown. (Ge 1:5,8,13,19,23,31, Lev 23:27,32, Nu 19:16,19 compare Lev 22:6,7, Ne 13:19, Mk 1:21,29,32 compare Mt 12:10)

The Sabbath begins at sundown Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday.

The Seventh Day is the Sabbath

The seventh day is the Sabbath. (Ex 20:10)

The forty year double miracle of manna (Ex 16:4,5,19-30,35)

We must distinguish between the holy and the common. (Eze 22:26,31)

Any other day is not acceptable.

Sunday is Not the Sabbath

Sunday is the day of the Sun, which was honored by pagan Sun worshippers.

God categorized sun worship at the temple as the greatest of its "abominations". (Eze 8:6-18)

Note: Tammuz - a Babylonian god of vegetation, pastures, and flocks

Sunday is the first day of the week. There are 8 verses in the new testament that reference this day.

1. (Mt 28:1) - No indication of a change of the Sabbath

2. (Mk 16:2) - No indication of a change of the Sabbath

3. (Mk 16:9) - No indication of a change of the Sabbath

4. (Lk 24:1) - No indication of a change of the Sabbath

5. (Jn 20:1) - No indication of a change of the Sabbath

6. (Jn 20:19) - The disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, not for worship.

7. (Ac 20:7) - This meeting was held during what we now call Saturday night (Biblical days are sundown to sundown).

Paul talked during the night hours because he was leaving in the morning. (Ac 20:11)

Note that the disciples gathered together daily to break bread. (Ac 2:46)

8. (1Co 16:2) - This was not even a meeting.

Each man was requested to set aside money at the beginning of each week.

The only reference to "Lord's Day" in the New Testament (Rev 1:10) refers to Sabbath, not Sunday (Isa 58:13, Mt 12:8)

God has Not Changed the Sabbath

The Sabbath was instituted at creation. (Ge 2:1-3, Ex 20:11)

The Sabbath was the first full day for Adam and Eve. (Ge 1:26,31)

The Sabbath was instituted at creation before the first human sin.

The Sabbath is not just for the Jews, but rather for all men. (Mk 2:27)

Marriage was also instituted at creation (Ge 2:21-24) and is also not just for the Jews.

The Sabbath is part of God's moral law (the Ten Commandments), which is immutable.

The law is perfect. (Ps 19:7, Jas 1:25 compare Jas 2:11,12)

The law is eternal. (Ps 111:7,8)

The law is unchangeable. (Dt 4:2, Mt 5:17,18, Lk 16:17)

"My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." (Ps 89:34)

The Sabbath will continue to be kept in heaven. (Isa 66:22,23)

God commands us to "Remember" the Sabbath. (Ex 20:8)

The only commandment with a caution to remember, implies that we would forget it.

God promises that those who keep the Sabbath will be blessed. (Isa 56:2, Isa 58:13,14)

The Significance of the Sabbath

The reason God decided to "rest" on the first Sabbath was not due to fatigue. (Isa 40:28)

God blessed the Sabbath and made it holy. (Ge 2:3, Ex 20:11)

He did not do this for any of the other days.

The Sabbath is an eternal memorial of the Creation and a sign of the Creator. (Ex 31:16,17, Ps 111:2-4)

The Sabbath is a sign that we are His people. (Eze 20:20)

The Sabbath is a sign of our sanctification. (Eze 20:12)

The Sabbath is quantity and quality time we need to develop our relationship with God. (Mk 2:27)

Jesus Kept the Sabbath

Jesus kept the Sabbath. (Lk 4:16)

Jesus was crucified on Friday, the day of preparation for the Sabbath. (Lk 23:52-54)

Jesus "rested" in the grave on the Sabbath. (Lk 23:55,56)

Three days - inclusive reckoning, any part counted as a whole. (Lk 13:32,33, Lk 24:13,20-23)

Jesus rose to work on Sunday, the first day of the week. (Mk 16:9, Lk 24:1,2)

The Apostles Kept the Sabbath

The apostles kept the Sabbath while Jesus was on the earth, since they followed Jesus.

The apostles continued to keep the Sabbath after the resurrection. (Ac 13:13,14,42,44, Ac 16:13-15, Ac 17:2, Ac 18:4,11)

Jesus indicated that the Sabbath would still be kept after His resurrection. (Mt 24:7,8,20)

The Early Church Kept the Sabbath

Upon being threatened by the Jewish leaders, the early church quoted in unison from the 4th commandment. (Ac 4:21-24)

The controversy over circumcision is mentioned in the new testament. (Ac 15:1-31)

No controversy, whatsoever, is reported about Sabbath observance in the new testament.

Keeping the Sabbath Holy

Keeping the correct day is essential, but we must also keep it properly, as God has commanded.

The Sabbath is a day to spend building our relationship with God, individually and corporately.

Church fellowship, family time, nature walks, bible study, ministry. (Lev 23:3, Lk 4:16, Ac 13:14-16)

Note on Lev 23:3: Convocation - "An assembly." (Webster's Dictionary 1828)

We are to rest on the Sabbath.

This does not mean to sleep and do nothing.

The focus of our time needs to be on building our relationship with God.

"Be still, and know that I am God: ..." (Ps 46:10)

We find rest when we come to Jesus. (Mt 11:28-30)

We are not supposed to work on the Sabbath, nor to encourage others to do so. (Ex 20:8-11)

Work takes time away from building our relationship with God.

Doing good deeds is OK, this is not considered work. (Mt 12:9-12, Mk 1:21,30,31, Mk 3:1-5, Lk 13:10-16, Lk 14:1-6)

Work that is absolutely necessary is OK. (Mk 2:23-27, Jn 5:8-11)

As much as possible, we are to prepare ahead of time so that Sabbath work is avoided. (Ex 16:22,23, Lk 23:54, Mk 15:42)

Do not become like the Pharisees. (Jn 9:13-16, Mt 23:23-33)

We are not supposed to buy or sell on the Sabbath, nor encourage others to do so. (Ne 10:29-31, Ne 13:15-22)

The Sabbath should be a day of reverent joy. (Isa 58:13,14)


Was the weekly Sabbath a shadow of things to come? (Col 2:13-17) (No)

The days referred to are special annual Sabbath days, not the weekly Sabbath.

They were called Sabbaths because of their restriction to do no work. (Lev 23:28,29,32,35,36,39)

Distinguished from the weekly Sabbaths that were part of the immutable moral law (Lev 23:1-4,37,38)

These aspects of the ceremonial law were to be phased out. (Gal 4:9-11)

Are all days equally sacred? (Ro 14:5,6) (No)

These verses are parenthetical within a larger context concerning the controversy over food sacrificed to idols.

Note that no mention is made of the Sabbath.

Another controversy (regarding or not regarding certain days) is mentioned.

Another eating or not eating controversy (fasting) is linked to these days.

Thus, Paul mentions another needless controversy: fast days.

There is no command about regular fast days.

These days were based on the traditions of men. (Lk 18:12)

Note that the 4th commandment states that we are to work the first 6 days of every week.

If every day could be a Sabbath, then every day could be a work day for some and a rest day for others. This scheme would bring mass confusion to both corporate worship and corporate work. But God is a God of order. (1Co 14:33,40)

Does a salvation "rest" replace the Sabbath? (Heb 4:4,8-11) (No)

Entering the promised land (which represents salvation) is referred to as entering into God's rest. (Heb 3:7-11)

The Sabbath rest is used here as symbolic of salvation by faith (without works). (Heb 4:4-6)

The people did not obtain salvation because of unbelief. (Heb 4:2,10,11)

The people practiced the letter of the law, but they did not internalize the law in their heart. (Heb 3:7-11, Heb 4:7) (compare Heb 8:10)

Another day (today) is being offered to everyone to receive salvation by faith. (Heb 3:12-15, Heb 4:7,8)

Salvation by faith has always been the only plan for salvation (since the foundation of the world). (Heb 4:3 compare Rev 13:8)

Rather than being replaced by salvation by faith, the Sabbath is a weekly reminder of our reliance on faith in Jesus, rather than works. (Ex 20:8-11, Ro 3:20,27,28)

Rather than being replaced by salvation by faith, the Sabbath provides one day each week to focus on and strengthen our faith. (Mk 2:27)