The Sabbath

Revelation 14:6,7

Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
God’s final message to mankind is a call to worship the Creator.

Revelation 4:11

You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.
The basis of all worship is the fact that God created us.

Ephesians 3:9

….God who created all things through Jesus Christ.
Since Jesus was the active agent in creation, Revelation’s final call to worship the Creator is a call to give honor to Jesus.

Exodus 20:8-11

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
We worship Him as the Creator by keeping His Sabbath.

Genesis 2:1-3

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified [hallowed; made holy] it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
The Sabbath was set apart at creation. God rested upon the seventh day, blessed the seventh day and hallowed it (made it holy).

Mark 2:27,28

And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
The Sabbath was given to the human race 2300 years before the existence of the Jews as a memorial for all mankind.

Ezekiel 20:12,20

Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies [hallows; makes holy] them….hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.
The Sabbath was established for all mankind as a sign between God and His people.

Luke 4:16

So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
Jesus was a faithful Sabbath keeper.

Matthew 24:20

And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
Jesus predicted the Sabbath would be kept in 70 A.D. at the destruction of Jerusalem over 35 years after His death.

Acts 13:42-44

So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.
Paul both kept the Sabbath himself and met to worship God with the whole city, Jews and Gentiles alike.

Acts 16:13

And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made: and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there.
In Philippi, Paul met privately with a group of believers in a country setting, since there was no established Christian church.

Revelation 1:10

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet.
The Lord still has a special day at the end of the first century. Revelation 1:10 does not clearly reveal which day is the Lord’s day, but Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:27,28, and Luke 6:5 do.

Matthew 12:8

For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.
The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath. If the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, the Sabbath must be the Lord’s day.

Luke 23:54-56; 24:1

That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
This passage lists three days in succession. The day Christ died—the preparation—Friday. The day Jesus rested in the tomb—Sabbath—Saturday. The day Jesus resurrected—the first day—Sunday. The Sabbath is clearly Saturday, the seventh day of the week.

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Isaiah 66:22,23

“For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord, “So shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord.
In the new heavens and new earth we shall keep Sabbath each week.

Commonly asked questions regarding the Bible Sabbath

Since Paul declares “Let no one judge you regarding the Bible Sabbath,” isn’t Sabbath-keeping unnecessary (Colossians 2:16,17)
This passage, Colossians 2:16,17 is one of the most misunderstood passages in the Bible. One principle of Bible interpretation is that you do not allow what may be somewhat unclear to keep you from doing what you understand. The Bible is plain on the Sabbath. It was given at creation (Genesis 2:1-3). Jesus observed it (Luke 4:16). Paul observed it (Acts 13:42-44), and it will be observed in heaven (Isaiah 66:22,23). The Bible mentions two kinds of Sabbaths. The seventh-day Sabbath, instituted at creation and part of the Ten Commandment law, is a weekly reminder of the loving, all-powerful Creator. The yearly Sabbath relates specifically to the history of Israel. Colossians 2:16,17 specifically states “Let no one judge you regarding Sabbath days which are a shadow of things to come.” The seventh-day Sabbath is a memorial of creation, not a shadow of something to come. Hebrews 10:1 connects the law of shadows with animal sacrifice. Ezekiel 45:17 uses the exact same expressions in the exact same order as Colossians 2:16,17 and connects it all with the ceremonial systems of feasts and sacrifices (meat offerings, drink offerings, feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths to make reconciliation for the house of Israel. Leviticus 23:3 discusses the Seventh-day Sabbath. Leviticus 23:5-32 discusses the ceremonial Sabbaths (Passover, verse 5; unleavened bread, verse 6; wave sheaf, verse 10; first fruits, verse 17; trumpets, verse 24; day of atonement, verses 27-32; tabernacles, verses 34-36). Both the feast of trumpets (verse 24), and the day of atonement (verse 32) are specifically called Sabbaths. These annual Sabbaths were intimately connected to events foreshadowing Christ’s death and His second coming. They were designed by God to be shadows or pointers to the coming Messiah. Leviticus 23:37 uses the language of Colossians 2:16,17 to describe these ceremonial Sabbaths. Leviticus 23:38 distinguishes the ceremonial Sabbaths from the seventh-day Sabbaths by using the expression, “Beside the Sabbaths of the Lord.” Since Christ has come, the shadowy Sabbaths of the ceremonial law have found their fulfillment in Him. The seventh-day Sabbath continues to lead us back to the Creator God who made us. God’s people will keep it as a distinguishing sign of their relationship to Him (Revelation 14:12, Ezekiel 20:12,20).
What about Romans 14:5? “One man esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Really, what difference does a day make?
Sometimes it’s helpful to carefully notice what a Bible text does not say as well as what it does say. Verses 5 and 6 say nothing about either worship or the Sabbath. They simply talk about regarding a day. To say this particular day is the Sabbath is an unwarranted assumption. Romans 14:1 sets the tone for the entire passage indicating that the discussion focuses on “doubtful disputations” or disputes on doubtful matters. Is the seventh-day Sabbath set apart by God at creation (Genesis 2:1-3) placed within the heart of the moral law (Exodus 20:8-11) a doubtful matter? Certainly not! The key to our passage is found in verse 6 which states, “He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.” The issue revolved around fast days, not Sabbath days. Some Jewish Christians believed there was particular merit in fasting on certain days. They judged others by their own standards. The Pharisees fasted at least twice a week and boasted about it (Luke 18:12). In Romans 14, Paul is pointing out that to fast or not to fast on a certain day is a matter of individual conscience, not a matter of God’s command.
Didn’t the disciples meet on the first day of the week? Acts 20:7
The reason this meeting is mentioned in the narrative is because Paul was leaving the next day and worked a mighty miracle in raising Eutychus from the dead. It is clear that the meeting is a night meeting. It is the dark part of the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). In Bible times, the dark part of the day preceeded the light part (Genesis 1:5). The Sabbath was observed from Friday night at sunset to Saturday night at sunset (Leviticus 23:32, Mark 1:32). If this meeting is on the dark part of the first day of the week, it is in fact a Saturday night meeting. Paul has met with the believers all Sabbath. He will depart the next day, Sunday, so the meeting continues late into Saturday night. The next day, Sunday, Paul travels by foot to Assos, then sailed to Mitylene. The New English Bible reading of Acts 20:7 also confirms this as a Saturday night meeting, with Paul traveling on Sunday. If Paul considered Sunday sacred in honor of the resurrection, why would he spend the entire day traveling and not worshipping? The record indicates that Paul was a Sabbath keeper (See Acts 13:42-44; 16:12,13; 17:2; 18:4).
Can we really tell which day the Seventh-day is?
There are at least four ways which we can tell for certain that Saturday is the Seventh-day:
  1. The Bible: clearly reveals that Jesus was crucified on the preparation day (Luke 23:54). His closest followers rested as commanded on the Sabbath day (Luke 24:55,56) and Jesus rose from the dead on the first day (Luke 24:1, Mark 16:9). Most Christians recognize Jesus died on Friday—the preparation day, He rested the next day and rose on the first day—Sunday. The Sabbath is the day between Friday and Sunday or the seventh-day—Saturday.
  2. Language: In over 140 languages in the world, the word for the Seventh-day which we call Saturday is the word “Sabbath.” Language testifies to the Sabbath’s preservation through the centuries.
  3. Astronomy: The leading astronomers in the world testify to the fact that the weekly cycle has never changed. Centers like the Royal Naval Observatory in the U.S. and the Royal Greenwich Observatory in England affirm the fact of a constantly weekly cycle.
  4. History: The Jewish people have kept an accurate record of the Sabbath through the centuries. For over 4,000 years, they have preserved the true Sabbath on Saturday.
I keep Sunday in honor of the resurrection. What’s wrong with that? Didn’t Jesus rise from the dead on Sunday?
Yes, Jesus certainly rose on Sunday! But He never commanded us to worship in honor of the resurrection. Just as the communion service symbolizes His death (1 Corinthians 11:24,26), baptism symbolizes His resurrection (Romans 6:1-6). The symbol of Jesus’ resurrection is not worship on the day of the sun adopted into Christianity from pagan Rome’s sun worship, but a beautiful ceremony of baptism as a symbol of a new life transformed by the wonder working power of the Holy Spirit. In the watery grave of baptism, the old person symbolically dies and is buried while a new life is resurrected with Christ.
Isn’t one day in seven good enough? Why do you put so much emphasis on the Sabbath?
The issue is more than a matter of days. It is a matter of masters. Through a master stroke of deception, Sata has worked through apostate religion to change God’s law (Daniel 7:25). He has cast the truth to the ground (Daniel 8:12). He has made a break in God’s wall of truth. God calls us to repair the breach by keeping His Sabbath (Isaiah 58:12,13). We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). To worship on the seventh day is to accept the authority of our creator Lord, who commanded the day be kept (Exodus 20:8-11). To knowingly accept a counterfeit day of worship is to accept an institution initiated and established solely by man in the apostasy. The real question is, then, whose servant are we—God’s or man’s? (Romans 6:16). All the celebrations the day before of the day after my birthday do not make these days my birthday. The world’s birthday is the Bible Sabbath, the seventh day. It is a memorial to our loving Creator. No other day will do.