Christian Universe ™
The Sabbath Day
November 01, 2009
Many religions teach that Christians are to keep a Sabbath. Most of them call Sunday, the first day of the week, the Sabbath. God commanded the Israelites to keep the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week. A sabbath is a day of rest from labor. It was strictly enforced under penalty of death under the Law of Moses. Christians are not commanded to keep a Sabbath day. The writer of Hebrews indicates that we are to work in the here and now, and that our rest lies in the future.
The Sabbath Day
by Bernie Parsons
Presented to the Globe church of Christ on November 1, 2009
Luke 14:1 “And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.
2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.
3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;
5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?.”
Some say that we are to keep the ten commandments, including keeping the Sabbath day holy. When I was growing up, a neighbor was offended because we mowed our grass on a Sunday, complaining that Christians ought not work on the Sabbath. We knew that Saturday corresponds to the Biblical Sabbath, so how did our neighbor come to think that Sunday was the Sabbath?
Genesis 2:2 “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.
3 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.”
The word Sabbath means “to rest, cease, or desist”. The Law of Moses Sabbath day shows it to be more than a day off from labor—it was a day of stopping nearly all activity.
Exodus 31:12 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
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.
15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”
God gave the Israelites the seventh day of the week—Saturday— as a Sabbath. They were preparing for a forced march through the wilderness, and needed to rest regularly. Notice that a compulsory day of rest was not commanded from Adam until that time. Some argue that Christians must observe that commandment given to the Israelites. What do the scriptures say?
Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.”
19 “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator“
Paul told the Galatians that the Law of Moses was added to the offspring of Israel because of their disobedience, 430 years after God had promised Abraham that all nations of the earth would be blessed through his seed—Jesus. That means that for 430 years, the Sabbath may not have been observed. Or, if it was, it was done voluntarily, and not by a commandment of God.
Romans 7:1 “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God”
Paul told the Roman Christians that the Law of Moses was dead.
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”
Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death”
Christ died to remove the Law of Moses. There is no commandment for Christians to keep a Sabbath day, as in the Law of Moses.
Numbers 15:32 “And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.
35 And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.”
Violating the Sabbath under the Law of Moses was a serious offense, as seen here. However, Jesus Christ shows a better way, a way that replaces the Law of Moses.
Hebrews 8:7 “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away”
And what did Jesus say about the Sabbath?
Matthew 12:10 “And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.”
John 9:14 “And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.
15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.
16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.”
John 5:16 “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work”
Jesus stated that His Father, whom we know to be God, works on the Sabbath, as did Jesus.
Luke 6:1 “And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.
2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?
3 And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him;
4 How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?
5 And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”
Jesus actually violated the Sabbath of the Law of Moses. He was Lord of the Sabbath, and He said that it was lawful to do good on the day of rest. The Christian’s Sabbath is in the future. We do the good works of the Lord now to achieve a rest that we have not yet received.
Hebrews 4:9 “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief”
Sunday is often called the Sabbath because of the Roman Catholics. Later reinforced by Protestants (Catholic Reformers). The Bible does not call the first day of the week the Sabbath. Christians are not to keep the Law of Moses, and the commandment to keep the seventh day as a Sabbath, or day of rest, was to the Israelites under the Law.
Therefore, Christians have no commandment to keep a day of rest.