Sunday our pastor mentioned the Sabbath in his sermon, and what he said provoked me to turn to my concordance (in the back of my King James Version bible), to read everything I could about it. There is so much to study that I’ll probably continue this topic next week!
I have friends who have quit attending church on Sundays, and have begun worshipping God on Friday, and there are some who believe the Sabbath is really Saturday, and not Sunday. Some believe “It doesn’t matter which day you worship God, that if you take one day out of the week and devote it entirely to Him, that’s keeping the Sabbath.” That works for those whose job requires their presence at their jobs on Sunday, and even perhaps for those whose children have sports practice on Sundays, and so their family can’t go to church on Sunday, because they go to their practice (or to their games on Sundays).
In chapter 12 of Matthew, Jesus and His disciples were hungry and picked some ears of corn on the Sabbath. The Pharisees saw it and told Him it was not lawful, but He said “3But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
4How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
5Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
6But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
7But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
8For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.”
That works for me! That teaches us if we have to do something, that it’s okay to do it even if it is on Sunday!
If you continue reading Matthew 12 you’ll discover that Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on Sunday, “11And 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?
12How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
13Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.”
My bible reference says there were actually 39 classes of laws on the Sabbath alone! Innumerable restrictions were imposed upon men for their conduct through all those laws they had to keep. But important principles were lost in all the law keeping details, and Jesus taught us we can put our personal needs above it, and that incited the Pharisees against Him.
Exodus 31:12-17 – “12And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
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.
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.
15Six 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.
16Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17It 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.
18And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”
The above Scriptures are actually the old covenant between God and His chosen nation, Israel, and “sanctify” in verse 13 means Israel was to be set apart from all other nations to perform the will of God because they were special, and received the revelation of God, and were to bring the Messiah into the world. My reference says the Sabbath was not for Gentiles or the Church because the Gentiles were not mentioned and not once was the New Testament church commanded to keep any particular day as a Sabbath or respect one day as being more holy than another.
Paul said “5One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” Romans 14:5-6
And he also said “9But 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?
10Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
11I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” Galatians 4:9-11
The New Testament teaches all men and women (the Jews and Gentiles) to consider every day holy and realize that no matter what day of the week it is, no sin should be committed on any day. That it is not the day that makes an act sinful, but the act itself, regardless of the day it is committed.
Furthermore, if the Sabbath were to be eternally kept a law, and if we could prove the Sabbaths of Israel, by being eternal, are for us today, then we could also prove the offerings & various rituals are also for us today, for all are referred to with eternal terms in the law of Moses. We know Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for us, because no man could keep all those laws, and it is written in Hebrews 10:8 “8Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” (The second covenant).
God rested on the 7th day because His work for the time being was finished (Gen. 1:31; 2:1-4). If it had not been finished He would have continued working on the 7th day as He has been doing ever since the fall of man. If some good act had been needful He would have performed it, for this is what He taught through His Son in Matthew 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-3:5; Luke 13:10-17; John 5:1-16 and 9:1-41).
As always, please check with your pastors for understanding. Next week I’ll share more of what God’s Word says about Sabbaths, including 10 reasons Christians keep Sunday instead of Saturday as their Sabbath, 20 things God’s Word does not say about the Sabbath, and all Sabbaths have been abolished.