We are not commanded to keep the Sabbath. I know this will anger many people including relatives, but this is what I’ve learned after observing for quite a while, praying for God to clarify what is required of us and studying for the past couple months. I got conflicting messages about observing the Sabbath, and nobody that observes could give me a valid reason as to why we should except to point to the ten commandments and show me Jesus observed (and broke according to Pharisees) the sabbath (which I expect since He was born into that lineage).
Jesus fulfilled the law – Originally, I started this study because I wanted to know what it meant when we say “Jesus fulfilled the law”. He did not come to destroy it or break the law. Jesus kept all the commandments and obeyed the law because it is impossible for us to do so. We have a new and better covenant in Jesus which also comes with a “raising of the bar” in how we are to conduct ourselves.
1. Sunday worship is NOT the mark of the beast.
Someone teaching this can be very convincing, but let’s think about this. The mark will be given to be placed in the right hand or forehead to buy or sell and cannot be undone. That would mean anyone that ever worshiped on Sunday is unqualified to speak about God because they received the mark. There would be no point in even witnessing to anyone who ever went to church on Sunday because it would be a waste of effort since they’d have no hope for salvation. The first Christian who decided to stop worshiping on Sunday and observe Sabbath would have already been destroyed, so the teachings everyone else followed would already be corrupted. Sunday worship is no more honoring the sun god than Sabbath worship is honoring Saturn.
2. Sabbath worship does not go back to Genesis. It is a sign of covenant between God and Israel – not God and all mankind.
- Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Enoch, etc. all obeyed, honored, worshiped and made sacrifices to God without observing Sabbath. Ex 31:13,16 “13Speak 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. 16Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” (1 Corinthians 1:22 “22For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:”)
- Remember also, God had just delivered Israel from Egypt and 400 years of slavery. They were not used to rest, being able to worship freely and just think about the goodness of the Lord. God had to force them to rest. Jesus never sinned, yet according to the Pharisees, He broke the Sabbath. Mark 2:27-28 “27And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”
3. Breaking the Sabbath means death.
Ex 31:14 “14Ye 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.” This means no cooking, working, travelling too far, having anyone else do this for you, etc. I have yet to see anyone state they must die because they broke this commandment! If you’re going to insist on keeping the commandment, then you can’t suddenly change the punishment for not obeying. Either you go all the way, or you don’t go at all.
4. You will not receive “brownie points” from God for obeying the Sabbath because it’s one of the Ten Commandments.
I understand people believe the 10 commandments are more special because they’re “God’s moral law” instead of Mosaic Law, but in reality, they’re ALL God’s laws! 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The Holy Spirit is the author of the entire Bible. Moses did not randomly make up 600+ laws on his own any more than he commanded the Pentateuch to be called the books of Moses. There is no picking and choosing which of these laws to obey. The only reward you receive for obeying Sabbath is that men get to see how religious you are. Keeping the Sabbath is the only commandment of the 10 where others can observe you and pat you on the back for going to church or being a “good sabbatarian”. We can’t see your heart and see you not hating your brothers, lusting after someone, lying or stealing someone’s ideas. The downside? You will receive no Heavenly reward because you have your reward already of men praising you. (See Matthew 6)
5. Christians, especially Gentile Christians, are not commanded to observe the Sabbath.
Acts 15:5-29 “5But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. 12Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. 13And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 19Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. 22Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia. 24Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 25It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 28For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”
* Notice how the act of circumcision is brought up, but the Sabbath is purposely left out? If Gentiles were required to keep the Sabbath, then it would be necessary, absolutely vital, to include it as a “necessary thing” related to our salvation because Sabbath observance was not practiced and not known. If the Holy Spirit decided not to make it a requirement, why should we?
6. Sabbath observance is the only of the 10 commandments that is not taught in the New Testament.
- 1st commandment: reiterated 50 times
- idolatry: condemned 12 times
- profanity: condemned 4 times
- honoring parents: taught 6 times
- murder: condemned 6 times
- adultery: condemned 12 times
- theft: condemned 4 times
- false witness: condemned 4 times
- covetousness: condemned 9 times
When sins are listed, Sabbath breaking is not listed once! (Mark 7, Romans 1:29-32, Gal 5:19-21, 2 Tim 3:1-4) Nowhere in the New Testament is it taught. It is not mentioned in sermons on mount, any teachings, nor mentioned as being of any importance.
7. Observing Sabbath as part of the law is “works righteousness” and places you under the curse of the law!
Basically, by observing Sabbath, you are saying that Christ’s finished atoning work for you is not enough. You still believe you have to do something on your part to be “good enough”. The purpose of the law is to show us our sin. By our own efforts, we cannot keep the laws. There is no human way for us to keep the laws perfectly in thought and deed from birth until death. Jesus kept the laws perfectly and then took our sin debt. The law was to be until the promised Seed came. (See Galatians 3:19) If we decide we want to place ourselves under bondage (the yoke of the law – Gal 5:3), we are obligated to maintain the WHOLE law. Is that even possible? No. We have been freed to walk after the Spirit without having to worry about what we can’t eat, what day it is and so forth. (Gal 3, Romans 14)
- the curse of remaining under the law & the law cannot save man
8. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
1 John 3:23-24 “23And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” Basically, we are to believe Jesus is Who He says He is and follow His teachings. Remember Moses (representing the law) and Elijah (representing the prophets) appearing to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration? Matthew 17:4-5 “4Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” God basically interrupted Peter who may have thought Jesus was comparable to Moses and/or Elijah to let us know that He was greater than both and to give great attention to what Jesus said. Whatever we knew up to that point was not as important as what Jesus would reveal and teach.
9. The early church gathered on Sundays which they called “the Lord’s Day”.
- There are very few references to the Sabbath in the New Testament. The early references that show Christians meeting in the synagogues on Sabbath were because many Jews were gathered together to hear about God. What better place to be a witness for Jesus and reach so many at the same time? (Remember they got in trouble for teaching about Jesus at the synagogue?)
- Of the 7 times Jesus appeared to His disciples, 5 appearances were on the first day of the week (Sunday). The first appearance was to Mary Magdalene on what is known as Resurrection Sunday.
- Pentecost was born on Sunday.
- Christians gathered on Sundays long before Roman Catholicism. http://www.bible.ca/H-sunday.htm
- Sunday is not the new Sabbath.
I have no problem with anyone setting a day aside specifically for the Lord. My concern is when we move into the position of trying to use the day to keep laws no one but Jesus has been able to keep. When we work on truly loving God with all our mind, soul, body and strength (Jesus’s 1st great commandment), then every moment is dedicated to the Lord which makes virtually every day a Sabbath. 1 Corinthians 10:31 “31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” We are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption – not by keeping the commandments. We are saved by grace. Either we believe Jesus’s death atones for us completely, or we don’t. We can’t want to be covered by grace but try to cover ourselves by obeying Sabbath (or trying to keep other Old Testament laws) “just in case”.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.”