Which day is the Bible Sabbath Day? Is Sunday the Sabbath? Is the Sabbath Commandment still binding? This is one of the most hotly contested subjects in the Christian world. Why is there such a big divide over this subject? Denominations are split because of it. Has the Sabbath Day been changed, or does it still stand? The Word of God will give us the clear truth on the Sabbath.
The Bible Sabbath Day truth
Genesis 2:2-3 .....' And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.' .......So, what did God do on the 7th day? He created A DAY, that's it. This wasn't for His benefit, because He didn't need rest. He created the day for Man, so that after 6 days of work, Man could rest and spend a special day in communion with God each week. As you can see from this verse, God 'sanctified' the 7th day, he set it apart from the other days. This is the ONLY day of the week that God 'sanctified'. Sunday has never been sanctified by God, not even in the New Testament. Also, one vital point that Sunday keepers miss in this verse, is that the 7th day Sabbath was instituted BEFORE sin. So how could it end, or be changed at the cross?
Note: One thing some Sunday keepers say about the above verse, is that this is the only day, where it doesn't end the day with ....'and the evening and the morning were the seventh day.' They say that God left this open to be a continual Sabbath. But, what follows straight after the 7th day? The 1st day again!! So we are straight into a weekly seven day cycle, six days of work, one day of rest! It is even called a 'day' in the verse.
Exodus 16:23 ....' And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.' .......This verse shows that the 7th Day Sabbath was being observed BEFORE the Ten Commandments were given. The Israelites could not gather any bread on the Sabbath, they were to rest.
Exodus 20:8-11 .....' 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.' .......So we come to the 4th Commandment where God says 'Remember'. It's interesting that God says this, it's the only commandment that starts with remember. Maybe God knew that this would be the one commandment that the majority of the Christian world would forget! This is the longest of the Ten Commandments. Also, notice that God twice repeats the 'working on six days', and 'resting on the seventh.' God is putting across the IMPORTANCE of it. Some Christians believe that the Sabbath Commandment was a ceremonial law and came to an end at the cross. But, God had two kinds of Sabbaths, the first was the weekly Sabbath that He included in the Ten Commandments written on stone by His own finger, and the other was the yearly Sabbaths which were alongside the feast days and new moon days, written on paper by Moses. God would not have included a ceremonial Sabbath into the Ten Commandments. The weekly Sabbath was instituted BEFORE sin and the ceremonial yearly Sabbaths were added BECAUSE of sin. A big difference between the two!
Please click on Law of God for a great study on God's Law.
Exodus 31:14 .....' Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.' .......I would say that the Sabbath day is pretty important to God.
Nehemiah 13:16-18 .....' There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.' …….God takes the Bible Sabbath Day very seriously and as we can see from above, Nehemiah warned the people that breaking the Sabbath Commandment would bring the wrath of God upon the them.
Isaiah 56:1-7 ....' Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer.' ......Many times I have heard people say that the Sabbath day was just for the Jews. Firstly, nowhere in the Word of God does it describe the weekly Sabbath as 'the Jewish Sabbath.' Secondly, take another look at the above verses. Strangers, (non jews) who wanted to serve God were also to keep the weekly Sabbath day holy. So how could it be just for the jews?
This is what the weekly Sabbath is called in the Word of God .......... Isaiah 58:13 .....' If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day……' ……There you have it!! The Sabbath day is not the Jewish Sabbath, it is God's Holy Day. It belongs to God, He made it, He set it apart from all the other days for US, for everyone that wants to serve Him and spend a day every week devoted to Him.
Isaiah 58:13-14 .....'If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.' …….God set aside the 7th day as a special day to spend with Him, to remember His creation and therefore there is a blessing attached to keeping this Holy Day.
So there is a blessing for keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Is there a curse if it is profaned? See the following verse:
Jeremiah 17:27 .....' But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.' ……..God's people did not hearken unto His voice and His warnings and continued to profane the Sabbath Day (amongst other things) and what happened? The city was completely destroyed.
Isaiah 66:22-23 ……' For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.' ……..It seems we will even keep the Sabbath on the new earth. So how could Jesus have done away with it, if we will still be keeping it on the new earth? ……WHERE THERE IS NO SIN!!!
Ezekiel 20:20 ......' And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.' …….I'm not certain if the Sabbaths in this verse is the weekly Sabbath, but it would make sense because the 7th Day Sabbath is a memorial day for us to look back to creation and worship the one true God as creator. The 7th day Sabbath is a sign that we are worshipping the true God, rather than following man or any false god.
Matthew 12:8 .....' For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.' …….This fits in with the verse in Isaiah 58, where God says that the Sabbath Day is 'MY HOLY DAY'. If all things were created by Jesus as it says in Colossians 1, then it makes sense that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath Day, He created it, it is HIS HOLY DAY.
Matthew 24:20 …..' But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.' …….Jesus is telling them of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans and tells them to pray that they don't have to flee on the Sabbath Day. As we know, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans happened AFTER Jesus death and resurrection. So, according to Jesus, the Sabbath Day would still be binding AFTER His resurrection.
Luke 23:56 ….' And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.' ……The women who followed Jesus still kept the Sabbath Commandment AFTER Jesus had died. These women were close to Jesus and would have know if He was going to change the Sabbath Commandment.
Acts 13:42 …..' And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.' …….Paul had been preaching the Sabbath Day and as you can see, the Gentiles asked him to preach to them again the NEXT Sabbath. If the Sabbath Command had now passed, why didn't they ask him to preach to them another day? The VERY NEXT day was SUNDAY! Why didn't they ask him to preach to them then, if Sunday was supposed to be the new Sabbath?? But no, they ask for him to come to them the next 7th Day Sabbath. We then see that nearly the whole city came the next Sabbath, Jews and Gentiles ……Acts 13:44 ….' And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.'
Acts 16:13 ….' And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.' ……This is a great verse that to me confirms that the apostles kept the 7th Day Sabbath as per the Commandment and not the first day of the week. Paul goes out of the city to a quiet place by the riverside to pray on the Sabbath Day. He also meets some women there, who also retreated to this quiet place for the Sabbath.
Acts 18:4 …..' And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.' ……As we can see, Paul is not just going into the synagogue to reason with the Jews, he is also preaching to the Greeks (Gentiles)……on the Sabbath Day!
Those who keep Sunday (first day of the week) as their 'sabbath' and those that don't keep any day as a Sabbath, give various reasons as to why they don't. Was the Sabbath changed to Sunday? Did Jesus abolish the Sabbath? Let's explore those reasons.
Reason 1: They keep Sunday in honour of Jesus' resurrection on the first day of the week (Sunday).
Let's see what happened at the resurrection: John 20:1-2.....' The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.' …….Christians just assume that Jesus arose on Sunday morning, but there is no evidence for this at all. Mary came to the tomb before dawn on Sunday morning and found that Jesus had ALREADY RISEN. So, as far as we know, Jesus could well have risen Saturday evening.
Also, where does it say that Jesus instituted a command saying that the DAY of His resurrection should be honored? There isn't even a hint of this. BUT, He DID institute a command before His death, for us to honor and remember the act of His sacrifice with the bread and wine. Jesus also instituted baptism as His special ceremony to commemorate His death, burial, and resurrection……Romans 6:3-5 ….' Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.' …..You see, Sunday wasn't instituted anywhere in God's Word to commemorate the resurrection. So what was? BAPTISM! So it is with the communion and baptism that we honor what Jesus did.
Reason 2: The disciples worshipped on Sunday not Saturday.
Let's look at the verses for this reason:
Acts 20:7-8 ….' And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.' …….Christians forget that days started differently back then. A new day started at evening time the previous day….as God said at creation, 'the evening and the morning are the first day.' A day started with evening. Notice above that they were upon the first day of the week, and it was DARK. This was (as we know it) Saturday evening! And when did Paul finish preaching to go on his journey? …..Acts 20:11 ….' When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.' …..So Paul finished and departed at dawn Sunday morning. So, they met on Saturday evening to break bread and then Paul travelled during Sunday! The whole reason for meeting together with the disciples at this time, was because Paul was going on a journey the next day.
1 Corinthians 16:2 ….' Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.' ……Paul here is basically asking the Corinthian Christians to lay aside what they can give to the other Christians who are in need. Notice Paul doesn't ask them to do it on the Sabbath day, he asks them to do it on the first day. He's asking them to lay aside money at home, so that he doesn't have to go around gathering when he comes. In no way can we assign Sunday worship to this verse.
Note: So we have only 3 occasions when the first day of the week is mentioned. Christ's resurrection, Paul preaching to the disciples before he left on a journey, and when Paul asked the Christians to lay aside money before he returned. That's it!!! 3 times!! And yet the 7th Day Sabbath is mentioned on more than 15 occasions!! So how can we get from that, that the Sabbath day has been changed from the 7th day to the 1st?? It's not possible!
Reason 3: Because some verses in the New Testament say that the Sabbath Commandment has been done away with.
Let's take a look at these verses cited:
Verse 1: Colossians 2:16-17 ….'Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.'……This verse is talking about feast days and yearly Sabbaths. The verse starts with 'let no man THEREFORE'. So that word therefore connects this verse to the one's previously, which say…… verses 14-15 …..' 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; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.' …….The handwriting of ordinances. Does that sound like the Ten Commandments? No. These were the ordinances written by Moses in the 'book of the law' and placed beside the ark as it says in ……Deuteronomy 31:26 ….' Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. ……You see, the law that was against us was the law of Moses, which contained 'ordinances' of feast days; offering days; new moon days; yearly Sabbath days. The 7th day weekly Sabbath was written by God Himself on stone and placed inside the ark. The Ten Commandments are not against us or contrary to us. So Paul in the above verse in Colossians is talking about the yearly Sabbath days, NOT the weekly 7th day Sabbath. Incidentally, note how it says in Colossians above that the Sabbath days were a 'shadow of things to come.' How can the weekly Sabbath day, that God created BEFORE sin and set it apart and made it holy…… how can it be a shadow? It's impossible!! A shadow is something that was instituted AFTER sin and pointed to Christ.
Note: Methodist founder John Wesley declared the Bible truth when he wrote: "This 'handwriting of ordinances' our Lord did blot out, take away, and nail to His cross (Colossians 2:14). But the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the prophets, He did not take away... The moral law stands on an entirely different foundation from the ceremonial or ritual law… Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind and in all ages." John Wesley, Sermons on Several Occasions, 2-Vol. Edition, Vol. I, pages 221-222. ……….And what is included in the moral law? The 7th Day Sabbath Commandment.
Verse 2: Romans 14:5 ….' One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.' …… Many apply this to keeping either the Sabbath or Sunday, but to begin with, neither Sabbath nor Sunday is found in the entire chapter. The chapter begins, "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations." Romans 14:1 (KJV). The NKJV reads, "disputes over doubtful things." Thus the initial context of Romans 14 is "doubtful things," and is not a discussion of the Ten Commandments. The Commandments of God are not "doubtful," but exceedingly clear, written with the finger of God on two tables of stone. Paul does NOT say….'one man esteemeth the Sabbath day above another day.' He says 'one man esteemeth ONE DAY above another.' The Sabbath day is still Sabbath in the new testament as it is called that many times. So if Paul was talking about the Sabbath day, then he would have said that.
Verse 3: Galatians 4:10-11 …..' Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you……' …… For some reason, some people apply Paul's words to the Sabbath, but never to Sunday. As with Romans 14, a close look at the text reveals that Paul was not talking about either the Sabbath or Sunday. The context refers to the past pagan life of those Galatians converts: 'Then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now ... how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage. Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years."……
Verses 8-10.'……Paul rebuked them for again slipping back into their pagan ways, by observing days, months and years. Could this also be applied to the 'days' we observe today?, birthdays, Christmas, easter, valentine's etc… these originally were all pagan days!! Also, we can tell 100% that Paul was NOT talking about the Sabbath day above, because of what is says in verses 8-10 …..' how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements..' ….Is the Sabbath Day that God instituted BEFORE sin at creation and the 4th Commandment written on Stone by the finger of God a 'weak and beggarly element'? NOT A CHANCE!
Sun worship infects ancient Israel: In the ancient world, 'sun worship' was one of the most common forms of pagan idolatry. Immediately after Israel left Egypt, God warned His people against being "driven to worship ... the sun." Deuteronomy 4:19. Yet Israel later yielded to temptation, compromised with the nations around them, and dedicated their "horses ... to the sun." 2 Kings 23:11. During a time of revival, King Josiah purged much of Israel and "burned the chariots of the sun with fire." 2 Kings 23:11. Before the Babylonian captivity, many Israelite leaders rejected their Creator, yielded again to idolatry, and "worshipped the sun toward the east." Ezekiel 8:16. At the same time, God declared that they "hid their eyes from My Sabbaths." Ezekiel 22:26. Thus ancient Israel shifted from Sabbath keeping to sun worship. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-11, Paul warned the Church against repeating the sins of ancient Israel.
Sun worship, "the day of the sun," and "Sunday": The Romans called the sun god "Mithra" and "Apollo," and they especially worshiped the sun on "the first day of the week," also called "Dies Solis" (Latin), which means, "day of the sun." The name "Sunday" was adopted "because this day was anciently dedicated to the sun, or to its worship. The first day of the week." Webster's Dictionary; 1929 edition.
"The retention of the old pagan name of Dies Solis, for Sunday is, in a great measure, owing to the union of pagan and Christian sentiment with which the first day of the week was recommended by Constantine to his subjects - pagan and Christian alike - as the 'venerable' day of the sun." Arthur P. Stanley, History of the Eastern Church, p. 184
"On the venerable day of the Sun let the Magistrates and the people residing in the cities rest, and let all workshops be closed." Edict of Constantine A.D. 321
The roman catholic church brought Christianity and sun worship together, by changing the 7th day Sabbath to the 1st day….day of the sun…Sunday! They have boasted throughout history that they were the ones to change the Sabbath day. They admit that the true Sabbath Day is the 7th day of the week, but claim to have the authority to change the law of God. See which day is the sabbath for more truth about the Sabbath day.
Some say that it doesn't matter how you worship God, or on what day you keep a Sabbath rest. Well, let's take an example of worship from the Word of God, and see how He regarded it: …. Leviticus 10:1 "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not." …..So did God really care that they brought secular fire instead of Holy fire that God also referred to as strange fire? …….'Leviticus 10:2 "And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD." …..This is GOD we are talking about, He DOES care about HOW He is worshipped.
Note: If the 7th day Sabbath is still called 'the Sabbath Day' in the New Testament, then it must still remain as God's Holy Day, the Day He set apart and blessed. Also it means that the 4th Commandment still stands. The first day of the week is called just that in the New Testament. There is no special association made with the first day of the week in the New Testament, none whatsoever!
Those who keep the 7th day Sabbath and realize the reason that God sanctified it, get a real blessing from it. Keeping the Sabbath Day holy has nothing to do with being legalistic. It IS partly to do with obeying God. It is a day where we down tools and rest in God. It is a day of spiritual refreshment. A day to spend with God. A day to appreciate and enjoy His wonderful creation. Jesus said, 'come unto me and I will give you rest.' It's a day to come to Jesus and rest in our Creator's unending Love.
Think about this!! Sunday keeping Christians say that the Sabbath Commandment was changed AFTER Jesus death and resurrection. They claim that keeping Sunday as Sabbath is part of the new covenant. This is impossible and here's why: ..... Hebrews 9:16-17, "For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth." …… According to Scripture, the testament / covenant actually goes in force after the death of the Testator. In other words, in order to change ANYTHING in the Covenant, the Testator MUST DO SO BEFORE DEATH! Ask any lawyer and they will tell you that you can change your last will and testament before you die, but after you die it is impossible! That which the Testator placed in writing before death, becomes strong and rock solid after his death. And Scripture verifies that fact. Jesus SEALED it with His blood. Jesus will and testament (The new covenant) COULD NOT be changed after His death. The Sabbath Commandment was not changed before His death, therefore it still remains the same today!!
Ecclesiastes 3:14 ….' I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.' ……The Sabbath Commandment still stands. NO-ONE can add anything to it, or take anything away from it.
Final thoughts to think about:
1. The 7th Day Sabbath was instituted by GOD before sin. (Really think about that one)
2. The 7th Day of the week is the only day GOD has ever sanctified (set apart from the others).
3. The Sabbath Day Command was written on stone by the finger of GOD. The other yearly sabbath commands were written on paper by Moses.
4. We receive a great blessing by resting from work and devoting the 7th Day to GOD.
5. Sunday keeping is a tradition of man.
6. It is far better to obey GOD rather than man.
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