Section One of Biblical Holy Days covers the Sabbath, one of the foundational teachings of the Bible. Understanding the Bible Sabbath is a key to unlocking the Truth of God. Rather than a legalistic requirement of do's and don'ts, the Sabbath is a delight, a foretaste of the Kingdom of God. If you keep the Sabbath, God will keep you.
Here is a summary collection of Sabbath data:
"There remaineth therefore a rest [margin: 'keeping of a sabbath'] to the people of God," Hebrews 4:9.
"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, honourable: and shalt honour 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 the 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.
"And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord," Isaiah 66:23.
I. God Sanctified the Sabbath on the Seventh Day of Creation
II. Patriarchs Kept the Sabbath
III. God Gave the Sabbath to Israel
IV. Israel Went Into Captivity for Sabbath Polluting
V. Nehemiah Reinstituted Proper Sabbath-Keeping
VI. Savior Kept Sabbath as Special Day of Service
VII. Apostles and Gentile Christians Kept the Sabbath
VIII. Sabbath Will Be Kept in the Millennium
IX. The Sabbath Is a Sign of God's People
X. The Bible Does Not Authorize Sunday Keeping
A. Eight Uses of Term, "First Day of the Week"
B. "Lord's Day" Does Not Refer to Sunday
C. Jesus Was Not Resurrected on Sunday Morning
D. Pentecost is Not on Sunday
E. "Difficult" Scriptures Don't Do Away With Sabbath
F. Sunday Worship is Pagan Sun Worship
G. Sunday-Keeping Resulted From Anti-Jewish Bias
H. Roman Catholics Admit Sunday Is Not Biblical
I. Protestants Admit Sabbath is Biblical, Not Sunday
J. Sunday is A Mark of the Beast
I. God Sanctified Sabbath on Seventh Day of Creation
Genesis 2:1-3 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 [set it apart, made it holy]: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.
The Creator placed His presence in the Sabbath by resting on that day. He "sanctified" the Sabbath, i.e., separated it, set it apart for holy use or purpose. He, not man, made the Sabbath Holy Time. There were not six days of creation, but seven. On the Seventh Day, the Creator ended His work, not His creating. He created the Sabbath by His rest. He wasn't tired, Isaiah 40:28, but He was refreshed on the Sabbath day, Exodus 31:17, by gaining the satisfaction of contemplating what He had created.
The Sabbath day from Creation has never been lost. Human calendar changes have never upset the weekly cycle. Jewish historians have carefully preserved the Calendar and the weekly cycle down through the ages. See the article, "Has Time Been Lost?" published by the Seventh Day Church of God and the Worldwide Church of God.
II. Patriarchs Kept the Sabbath
There is a 2,500-year gap after the Bible mentions the Sabbath in Genesis until it is again brought up at the time Israel leaves Egypt and arrives at Sinai. Nevertheless, it is provable scripturally that the patriarchs kept the Sabbath.
Noah Kept Sabbath and Preached it to Others
Genesis 6:9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
II Peter 2:5 And [God] spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.
Psalms 119:172 My tongue shall speak of Thy word: for all Thy commandments are righteousness.
Abraham Obeyed Laws and Commandments
Genesis 26:4-5 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Isaac and Jacob Followed Abraham's Obedience
Hebrews 11:8-10, 13, 20-21, 23 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God . . . . These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth . . . . By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff . . . . By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
The Sabbath and the seven-day week have continuously been observed. "The Sabbath was recognized as a weekly day of rest in Babylonia as early as 3800 B.C.," (Peloubet's Bible Dictionary, article "Sabbath," p. 573). Epics of Creation, on clay tablets found in the ruins of Babylon, Nineveh, Nippur and Ashur, were in circulation before the time of Abraham. They tell of the seventh day as a "holy day" on which we should "cease from all business," (Halley's Bible Handbook, p. 62). The Sabbath is an ancient venerable institution.
III. God Gave the Sabbath To Israel
Exodus 16:4-5, 14-30 Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily . . . . And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that today; for today is a Sabbath unto the Lord: today ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none. 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? See, for that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore He giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.
God performed this special miracle of withholding manna on the Sabbath for forty years while Israel was in the wilderness. Thus there were some 2,080 individual miracles spaced exactly seven days apart, solely for the purpose of burning into the minds of the people that He commanded the seventh-day Sabbath to be kept. What a blessing! Israel could rest on the Sabbath and still be as well off as though they had worked!
Exodus 20:8-11 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.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15 Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt 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, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.
Nehemiah 9:12-13 Moreover Thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go. Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments.
Exodus 23:12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
Exodus 31:12-13 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 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.
Exodus 34:21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.
Exodus 35:2-3 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day.
This refers to industrial fires, not fires to heat from winter's cold, warm food previously prepared, or lighting.
Leviticus 19:3, 30 Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God . . . . Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord.
Leviticus 23:2-3 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.
Leviticus 26:2 Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord.
Numbers 15:32-36 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. 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. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.
The death penalty for Sabbath-breaking shows how serious Sabbath-keeping is in the eyes of the Eternal. The Sabbath breaker had sinned presumptuously, defiantly reproaching God. The Sabbath is preceded by a preparation day for work such as gathering wood.
Exodus 12:49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
The Sabbath and other laws didn't apply only to Israelites, but also to strangers. If we are Christ's, then we are Abraham's seed, spiritual Israelites, Galatians 3:29.
Isaiah 56:1-7 Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep My Sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within My walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of My covenant; Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
Isaiah 58:13-14 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, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words [see Isaiah 55:8-9]: 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.
The Sabbath, properly observed, teaches us to become more like God. We do not naturally think spiritual thoughts. The way we begin to think Godly thoughts on the Sabbath is to study, discuss and meditate on God's Word, as well as pray to Him. On the Sabbath we literally saturate our minds with the principles of God's laws which reveal His character, how He thinks and acts. In so doing, we act out or portray our future destiny, that of being Sons of God in the Kingdom of God. (See Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, Lesson 28, page 12.)
IV. Israel Went Into Captivity for Sabbath-Polluting
Nehemiah 13:17-18 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath.
Jeremiah 17:9, 21-25, 27 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? . . . Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction. And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto Me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work therein; Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever . . . . But if ye will not hearken unto Me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.
This prophecy was fulfilled, Jeremiah 52:12-13. Verse 22 in the Living Bible says "do no unnecessary work on the Sabbath day." It is easy to deceive yourself that you are keeping the Sabbath, when you are not.
Ezekiel 20:10-25 Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them My statutes, and shewed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness: they walked not in My statutes, and they despised My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and My Sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. But I wrought for My name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. Yet also I lifted up My hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; Because they despised My judgments, and walked not in My statutes, but polluted My Sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. Nevertheless Mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness. But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am the Lord your God; walk in My statutes, and keep My judgments, and do them; And hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God. Notwithstanding the children rebelled against Me: they walked not in My statutes, neither kept My judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted My Sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish My anger against them in the wilderness. Nevertheless I withdrew Mine hand, and wrought for My name's sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth. I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; Because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, and had polluted My Sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols. Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live . . .
Ezekiel 22:8, 26 Thou hast despised Mine holy things, and hast profaned My Sabbaths . . . . Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned Mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and the profane . . . and have hid their eyes from My Sabbaths . . . .
V. Nehemiah Reinstituted Proper Sabbath-Keeping
Nehemiah 10:29, 31 They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and His judgments and His statutes; . . . And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the Sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the Sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.
Nehemiah 13:15-22 In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the Sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath. And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the Sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the Sabbath day. So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the Sabbath. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day . . . .
VI. Savior Kept Sabbath as Special Day of Service
The word "Sabbath" occurs over sixty times in the New Testament.
Jesus Taught In the Synagogue on the Sabbath
Mark 1:21-22 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the Sabbath day He entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.
Mark 6:2, 5 And when the Sabbath day was come, He began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing Him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto Him, that even such mighty works are wrought by His hands? . . . . And He could there do no mighty work, save that He laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
Luke 4:16, 31 And 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 for to read . . . . And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the Sabbath days.
Luke 13:10 And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
It is Lawful to Heal on Sabbaths
Matthew 12:10-13 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. 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. Then saith He to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
Mark 1:21-27 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the Sabbath day He entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.
Mark 3:1-5 And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might accuse Him. And He saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And He saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
Luke 13:10-17 And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And He laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? And when He had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.
Luke 14:1-6 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. And, behold, there was a certain man before Him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? And they held their peace. And He took him, and healed him, and let him go; 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? And they could not answer Him again to these things.
John 5:5-18 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered Him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the Sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed Himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
This was a Sabbath, probably during the Feast of Tabernacles.
Sabbath, Holy Days Focal Points of Messiah's Ministry
It is likely that the so-called "Sermon on the Mount," Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7, was given on a Sabbath, when Jesus escaped the multitudes and went up to a mountain with His disciples. Some few of the multitude followed Him up to the mountain, and were "astonished at His doctrine," Matthew 7:28. The rest would not travel a Sabbath day's journey and stayed behind.
There is no time break in the story flow into Matthew 8, where Jesus went into Capernaum and healed Peter's wife's mother, verses 14-15. At the end of the Sabbath, at evening, many brought to Him demoniacs to be healed, because they felt it wrong to heal on the Sabbath. Mark 1:21-34records the same event, and clearly shows it was on a Sabbath when Jesus entered into the synagogue in Capernaum and taught with such authority that the people were "astonished at His doctrine," verse 22. Also in verses 30-31, Mark records the healing of Peter's wife's mother. Finally, verse 32 records the deluge of people coming to be healed at even, at sunset as the Sabbath was ended.
Thus, the Sermon on the Mount, the heart and core of the New Testament gospel, was given on the Sabbath! The Messiah magnified the Sabbath and all of His laws. Later, He was to die on the annual Passover, and found His New Testament Church on the annual Holy Day of the Feast of Pentecost. Jesus' 3-1/2 year ministry ended on an annual Passover. There are six months between Passover and the fall Feast of Tabernacles. Therefore, the Savior's ministry must have begun around the Fall festival season!
We would be surprised to know just how many times in the Bible great and important events occurred on the weekly Sabbath or on one of the annual Sabbaths or Holy Days.
The Gospel of John, written late in the First Century, is centered around the Sabbaths and Holy Days that occurred during the Savior's ministry. This is unique, considering that some people think the Sabbath is done away! Writing some 60 years after the events transpired, the Apostle John remembered the major events of the Messiah in relation to the Sabbaths and Holy Days.
John 2:13-3:21 describes events at Jerusalem during the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. John 4:35 alludes to Pentecost, which is four months before the fall harvest. Verse 45 shows that the Galileans had seen Jesus at the previous Feast.
John 5:1-47 describes Jesus' healing during a Sabbath at a Feast in Jerusalem, probably the Fall Feast. Chapter 6 shows another Passover Feast. In line with the meaning of the spring Holy Days, Jesus said He is the bread of life, verse 35. In verses 53-58, Jesus says you must symbolically eat His flesh and drink His blood or you have no life in you.
John chapters 7-10 cover events surrounding another Fall Feast of Tabernacles, with verses 37-39 giving the famous Last Great Day message of living waters. In chapter 9, on a Sabbath right afterwards, Jesus heals a man born blind. In John 10:22, Jesus taught in the Temple during the winter Feast of Dedication.
Finally, the third and last Passover of Jesus' ministry is covered from John 11:55 through chapter 19. Wavesheaf Sunday is given new meaning in chapter 20.
Thus, we have seen that the Sabbath and Holy Days were the very focal point of the Messiah's ministry. These days remain the center of the true believer's life. The Sabbath is mentioned sixty times in the New Testament, and never is there any hint it was abolished or done away!
The Sabbath is Made for Man
Matthew 12:1-8 At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and His disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto Him, Behold, Thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day. But He said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How 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? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is One greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.
Mark 2:23-28 And it came to pass, that He went through the corn fields on the Sabbath day; and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto Him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful? And He said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? 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.
Do you obey the Lord of the Sabbath?
Pray That Our Fleeing Is Not on the Sabbath
Matthew 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day:
VII. Apostles and Gentile Christians Kept the Sabbath
Paul preached to both Jews and Gentiles on the Sabbath at Antioch:
Acts 13:13-16, 42-44 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience . . . . And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabus: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
Acts 16:13 And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.
It was Paul's custom to keep the Sabbath, as it was the Messiah's, Luke 4:16, 31.
Acts 18:4, 11 And [at Corinth] he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks . . . . And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Paul worked on a job six days a week, then observed the Sabbath day resting and preaching. Paul commanded Gentile Christians at Corinth to follow him exactly as he followed Christ, I Corinthians 11:1. He commanded the Philippians to do likewise, Philippians 3:17.
VIII. Sabbath Will Be Kept in the Millennium
Isaiah 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.
The Sabbath is closely linked with the New Moon as a regular time of worship. See also II Kings 4:23, Hosea 2:11, Amos 8:5, Isaiah 1:13-14.
Ezekiel 44:15, 23-24 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near to Me to minister unto Me, and they shall stand before Me to offer unto Me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord God . . . . And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to My judgments: and they shall keep My laws and My statutes in all Mine assemblies; and they shall hallow My Sabbaths.
Isaiah 11:9-10 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
Hebrews 4:1-11 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it . . . . For we which have believed do enter into rest . . . . For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day . . . . There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief [of ancient Israel, verses 2, 6].
The Sabbath pictures the restful 1000-year Millennium, the Messianic Kingdom on this earth. Resting from our daily labors on the Creator's Holy Sabbath pictures our glorious future as spirit-born Sons in the Family of God. Sabbath-keeping pictures "rest" from our struggles against sin, which the Eternal promises to give His obedient children.
God has a seven thousand-year Master Time Plan, II Peter 3:8 (one day = 1,000 prophetic years):
God's Master Time Plan
||--Creation of Man||Messiah | Returns|
|1st Day||2nd Day||3rd Day||4th Day||5th Day||6th Day||7th Day|
|1000 years||1000 years||1000 years||1000 years||1000 years||1000 years||1000 years|
|---------6,000 years allowed for man to go his own way---------------------||Messiah's Rule|
|---------------------------Creator's "Week" of 7,000 years------------------------------------|
IX. The Sabbath Is a Sign of God's People
Exodus 31:12-17 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 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. 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. 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. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 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.
Ezekiel 20:20 And hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.
The way we "show" to God the Sabbath is a "sign" is to do what He says on that day: restfrom our physical labors.
Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest [Greek sabbatismos, "keeping of a Sabbath"] to the people of God.
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Keeping, or not keeping, God's Sabbath Days reveals an attitude! By keeping them, we demonstrate a childlike, simple, faithful obedience and a willingness to forsake our thoughts and to learn to develop Godlike character. "Sabbath-keeping plainly is a test of our attitude to reveal whether we really want to obey and depend on God and receive His Holy Spirit!"
"If you worship God every Sabbath by praying to Him and studying His Word and its applicationin your life, and put it into DAILY PRACTICE during the week, then you will have God's Sabbath 'sign' in the true and savingsense. You will be PREPARING to enter God's Kingdom as a priest and ruler! (Rev. 5:10).
"And if you continue to grow and overcome, at Christ's coming, God will CHANGE you by giving you an efficient spirit body capable of tremendous spiritual service in His eternal Kingdom!" (Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, Lesson 27, pages 6, 15.)
Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Exodus 19:5-6 Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.
Ancient Israel never did become the holy nation, the model nation for others that the Almighty intended them to be. Today, spirit-begotten New Testament believers are spiritual Israelites, Abraham's "seed." They are set apart for the Almighty's holy use. The Old Covenant Israelites refused to rest on the Holy Sabbath, Ezekiel 20 and Hebrews 4. With the Holy Spirit, we can keep the Sabbath and exercise the faith they lacked. Faith to step out in obedience to the Master is the key to Sabbath-keeping, and a true Christian life. The older generation of Israel who rebelled against God in the wilderness did not enter the promised land because of unbelief or lack of faith, Hebrews 3:19. Faith is the key element and without faith, we will not enter the millennial kingdom. It takes faith to keep the Sabbath and conquer our carnal human nature. We need to boldly ask the Almighty for faith to obey Him, Hebrews 4:14-16.
X. The Bible Does Not Authorize Sunday-Keeping
Eight Uses of Term, "First Day of the Week"
Matthew 28:1 In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
Mark 16:1-9 And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him. But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils.
Luke 23:53-56, 24:1 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how His body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
Acts 20:7-13 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted. And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.
I Corinthians 16:1-4 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
None of the above references to the first day of the week indicate that Sunday is a day of worship. After the crucifixion, holy women rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. The disciples assembled on the Sunday after the crucifixion for fear of the Jews, not for worship. Paul walked across a peninsula on the first day of the week. He asked the Corinthians to gather up food to send to Jerusalem on the first day of the week, a normal workday.
"Lord's Day" Does Not Refer to Sunday
Revelation 1:1, 7-10 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John . . . Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.
In Old Testament prophecy, the term "Day of the Lord" refers to the prophetic time of the return of the Messiah as conquering king and world ruler. "Lord's Day" is the same as saying "Day of the Lord." John, in Revelation, was referring to the Day of the Lord, not the first day of the week. Mark 2:28 says that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is the only "Lord's Day."
Jesus Was Not Resurrected on Sunday Morning
Matthew 12:38-40 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But He answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
You cannot count three days and three nights from Friday evening to Sunday morning. Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday, the Passover of 31 A.D., placed in the tomb just before sundown, and was in the grave until His resurrection near sundown Saturday evening, 72 hours later.
Pentecost is Not on Sunday
Leviticus 23:15-16 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow
after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering;
seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh
Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering
unto the Lord.
"Difficult" Scriptures Don't Do Away With Sabbath
Colossians 2:14-17 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; And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 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.
In the last sentence above, "is" is in italics in the KJV, showing that it is not part of the original Greek. Let the body of Christ, the Church, do the judging. Don't let the world judge you and say you are wrong in keeping the Holy Days, New Moons, or Sabbaths. Rather than do away with the Sabbath, these verses show that Gentile Colossians were admonished to let nothing dissuade them from faithfully keeping the times God has ordained.
Galatians 4:8-11 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. 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. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
The days, months, times and years referred to here are not God's special times. Some Gentile Galatians were returning to the pagan times they had observed prior to becoming Christians. Paul was warning them not to do this.
Romans 14:5-6 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He 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.
This passage does not refer to the Sabbath, but to times of eating or not eating, i.e., fast days.
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