To Keep The Sabbath or
Not To Keep The Sabbath
Is That The Question?

 

 

Much attention has been given in these last days, to the subject of whether or not we as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are to keep and observe the seventh day Sabbath. Are born again, Spirit filled Christians commanded to assemble on Saturdays, as the Jewish people have done for centuries, to keep that which is commanded in the law of Moses? As opposed to meeting and gathering on Sunday, the day upheld of old by the church, set aside to reverence God the father, to sing the praises of our great redeemer, Jesus, the son of God? What about any other day of the week for that matter? Would it be improper to honor and worship our Saviour and creator Jesus Christ, perhaps on Tuesday or maybe Wednesday?

There are denominations which have been formed and exist based solely on the premise that Christians are to uphold seventh day worship, while more and more denominations and churches are being persuaded, that this is the way to go. In addition, some organizations have based all of their teachings and the way they interpret scripture and Bible prophecy around keeping the Saturday Sabbath.

On the other hand, I have heard one radio broadcast teacher teach that God, in the days of Jesus, literally changed the day of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, and that Saturday is no longer to be observed at the Sabbath, but now Sunday is to be so. Also, that by looking into the definitions of certain words in the new Testament, in the Greek and/or the Hebrew, it can be certainly ascertained that God has reassigned the day of Sabbath observance from the seventh day of the week, to the first day of the week! So now in light of these things, we must ask, to keep the Sabbath, or not to keep the Sabbath, is THAT the question? With your Bible handy, let’s look into Scripture concerning these things and see what we find!

We find, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 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.” Genesis 2:1-3 This is the first reference in Scripture to the seventh day, being a day sanctified (set apart) from all others, because God rested that day from all his work and blessed that day. When Moses had received the Ten Commandments from the Lord up on Mt. Sinai, God made mention of the seventh day in the 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.” Exodus 20:8-11

Indeed, God was very serious and strict about the Jews observing the seventh day, as he commanded. Even before this, some of the Israelites had angered the Lord for trying to collect manna in the wilderness one Sabbath day. “And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?” Exodus 16:27-28 Throughout the Old Testament era, God reproved the Israelites time and time again for disobeying that which he commanded. Through the prophet Isaiah, among others, the Lord admonished his people to honor him in the Sabbath, “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, honorable; and shalt honor 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.” Isaiah 58:13-14

God was so serious about them honoring his commandment concerning the Sabbath that he commanded those who defiled it were to be put to death, and this did actually come to pass for some (see Exodus 31:14; Numbers 15: 32-33). After the Jew’s exile to and from Babylon, Israel, through their suffering, put away their external observances of idolatry, Sabbath desecrating. They had also become so strict and rigid about keeping the law and the Sabbath, that by the time Jesus, the promised Messiah had come, he reproved the Jews for misunderstanding God’s purpose and intent in making the Sabbath, and for accusing the Lord himself and his disciples of wrong doing! Jesus said, “And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27-28

Jesus told the Pharisees, “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” Matthew 12:7 In their concern for keeping the outward appearance of the law, and haste to criticize and point the finger, the Pharisees had failed to recognize that first, provision had been made in the law for the hungry to feed themselves if they pass through their neighbors garden or cornfields, short of collecting or harvesting their neighbors crop (Deuteronomy 23:24-25) and secondly, and most important, that the disciples were walking and fellowshipping with he who made the
Sabbath, and to the intent which he had made the Sabbath for! How great was the blindness and hardness of their hearts! The Pharisees consistently accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath because so many had he healed on that particular day, but Jesus confronted them of not only their ignorance, but also of their own
hypocrisy. “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? How much then is a man better than a sheep?

Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.” Matthew 12:11- 12 He also reminded them that they, on the Sabbath day, circumcise, so that the law of Moses shouldn’t be broken, and yet they were angry with him. “If a man on the Sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:23-24 The fact is, not only the Pharisees, but most of the religious people of the time failed to understand altogether the Messiah’s mission and purpose in coming to earth. Perhaps the Jews during the time of the reign of the Roman empire had dreamed the anointed One, he who was promised to come, would lift the yoke of Roman tyranny from off their backs, to once again enjoy the liberty of a free Palestine! That perhaps God would restore the kingdom of David, with a rightful heir on the throne to govern over them. The Pharisees demanded of Jesus one day, when the kingdom of God should come. He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21

The good news had been proclaimed to Joseph, engaged to Mary, in a dream, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 God had given the law to the Jews, making a covenant with them, that they were to be his chosen people above all the nations of the earth. To them were committed the oracles of God, as it is written. The Jews had failed though to keep the law, and so God purposed to make a new covenant with them, as it is written (see Jeremiah 31:31-34) The law itself had no power to save them, but could only define sin, minister condemnation, and show them their need for a savior. Paul the apostle wrote to the Romans, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-5 To the churches in Galatia, Paul wrote, “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:21-27 The law was meant to teach us about and bring us to Christ, that we should be justified by faith in Jesus, as Paul told the Hebrews, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.” Hebrews 10:1-6 One example is the giving of tithes commanded in the law was not just to be 10% of their increase, but was to be the first 10% of their increase! (see Exodus 22;29-30). The lesson intended here is not just for one to be a “10 percenter” but, for the rest of your life to be a “100 percenter”, to put God first, not only in giving, but in all that you do!

The truth of the matter is this; to emphasize the necessity of having to keep the seventh day Sabbath, after we have tasted of the grace of God, because, like Peter and James, we agree with them that, “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” Acts 15:11, is to stress that the cross of Christ is not provision enough for salvation, but that we must still keep the law on top of that to be completely justified! Much of this issue had already been addressed during the first century. Of course, the issue in question then was whether or not the Gentile converts needed to be circumcised, which plainly spelled out was the need to initiate them into the Jewish religion. But the crux of the argument is this: The law profits if you kee[ the law without fault, but like James has written, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10 Or how about some of Paul’s writings? “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:19-20

Let me admonish you of some warnings given in scripture. Jesus warned the disciples to “And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. ” Matthew 16:5- 12 Paul warned in Galatians 5: 9 that “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” and that those who were preaching circumcision were offended by the cross of Christ! Peter warned his fellow believers that trying to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers, nor we were able to bear, is to tempt God!

Paul asked the Galatians about their being subverted to another gospel, “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, 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.” Galatians 4:9- 10 And to the Colossians, regarding the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement, “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.” Colossians 2:15-17

So now, what abut assembling on Sunday, or any other day of the week for that matter? Concerning assembling, we are to do so, for it is written, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 It is clearly emphasized in scripture that groups of believers gathered together, ‘churches’ in diverse religions and, not just that every man was a church unto himself! Beloved, know this, Jesus is the rest of God! For the Bible says that we which have believed do enter into rest, and that there remains therefore a rest to the people of God. Have you ceased from your own works, and entered into the rest of God? Striving to attain righteousness or responding to the righteousness imputed.

What scripture does say about the first day of the weak is this: Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, rose from the dead on the first day of the week. He, being our passover, was crucified on the day of passover, for he is the fulfillment of the Passover. The very next day was the beginning of the feast of unleavened bread, that day being a holy convocation, or, a special Sabbath, in which no work was to be done. The day following was the Saturday Sabbath, which is where you get the two Sabbath days together, and not that Sunday was literally changed to the Sabbath. And on the first day of the week Jesus rose from the dead, this being also the day the apostles would gather to brake bread, in remembrance of the Lord Beloved, if you assemble with the congregation the first day of the week, the fourth day of the week, or whenever it may be, assemble because God is first in your life, and because we also have risen from the dead in Jesus by the power of the Holy Ghost, for our covenant with God doesn’t stand in meats, or drink, or days, or months, or years, or times, “but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ, is acceptable to God, and approved of men.” Romans 14:17-18

AMEN!

 
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