God sanctifies places and things to communicate to His people. He set apart the ark of the covenant and tabernacle. He set apart His holy book—the Bible.
He set apart His Holy Son—Jesus, and He set apart a holy day—the Sabbath. God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it… (Gen. 2:3).
The Sabbath is the celebration of God’s complete and perfect creation. As Judah Halevi explains, “The observance of the Sabbath is in itself an acknowledgment of His omnipotence, and at the same time an acknowledgment of the creation in His divine word.”
The fourth commandment instructing us to keep the Sabbath day holy is thirty percent of the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments contain 322 words. 98 of those words are are about the Sabbath.
The Sabbath was held in high esteem in both in Jewish circles and in early Christianity. The Sabbath was made at creation, two thousand years before there were any Jews. After Abraham’s time the Sabbath applied to all people, aliens, and animals within the gates of the Israelites. (An alien is someone who is not a native of the land. This is the Hebrew “ger,” a righteous non-Hebrew who has been grafted into Israel. See Romans 11:13-21.)
God intends that the Sabbath be regarded as something honorable, something significant, not for its own sake, but because of what it represents. Keeping the Sabbath is the only one of the holy days to be ordained in the Ten Commandments. It is tied to two specific and highly significant acts in history: 1.) God’s “resting” after six days of creation (Gen. 2:2) and 2.) Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (Deut. 5:15).
God’s model of work and rest demonstrates how much of our lives is to be spent in labor and how much is to be spent in worship. In both the Old and New Testaments, the Sabbath calls to mind God’s sovereign rule and His merciful redemption.
The Sabbath is Not a Yoke of Bondage
It’s a day of joy, rest, eating, and enjoying Scriptures, fellowship, etc. The Sabbath was never intended to be a restraining time of punishment. What would your reaction be if your boss came to you and said, “I want you to take tomorrow off to rest. Enjoy yourself, eat, rest, read, just don’t even think about work.” Would you feel burdened?
The Sabbath is a holy time of resting from our weekly work in order to come into a joyous worship of God. It is a time of release from the stress and pressure of making a living. It is a time to rest from our normal pursuit of physical gain and to remember our Creator.
Keeping the Sabbath honors God, our Creator, who also rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:3). It also unifies our families and sets priorities for them. This day of rest refreshes us spiritually and physically—providing time when we can gather together and when we can reflect on God without the stress of our everyday activities.
The Sabbath is Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. Leviticus 23:32: “‘…from evening to evening you shall celebrate your Sabbath.’” The Sabbath starts at evening, which is sunset. Genesis 1:5 reads, “…the evening and the morning were the first day.” There is no Biblical proof it was ever changed.
- Genesis 2:2-3. God rested after six days of creating. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all His work which God created and made.
- Exodus 16:4-5, 22 they were told that God would provide a food that they should gather six days of the week. On the sixth day they would gather twice as much as on the other days. Moses explained that the seventh day was a Sabbath rest.
- Exodus 16: 27-30 God expressed displeasure that some people tried to gather manna on the Sabbath day. He said that they “refuse to keep My commandments and My laws.” Notice God did not leave which day as a to the choice of the people.
- Exodus 20:9-11 Six days shalt thou labor, 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: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Luke 4:14-16 shows that it was Christ’s custom to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath.
- Acts 13:14-15. Paul preached in a synagogue on the Sabbath.
- 1 Corinthians 11:1 New Testament command to keep the Sabbath.
When Did Sabbath Change to Sunday?
The New Testament is totally silent with regard to any change of the Sabbath day or any sacredness for Sunday. There is not one scripture claim it was changed (there are 40 clarifying circumcision).
The adoption of Sunday observance in place of the Sabbath did not occur in the early Church of Jerusalem by virtue of the authority of Christ or of the Apostles, but rather took place several decades later.
In 132 A.D. Bar-Kokhba led a revolt against the Romans. When he was done, 50 percent of the population of Judea was dead and tens of thousands of men and women who remained alive were sold into slavery. Jews were forbidden to set foot in Jerusalem, and the province was renamed Palestine. It was a dangerous time to be identified with the Jews. During this period, the predominate day of worship among Christians gradually began to change from the Sabbath to Sunday. The day changed, in part, because of the need to disassociate the Christian movement from the Jewish nation.
Years later, the Church of Rome: Canon 29, Council of Laodicea, 364 C.E., worried about Judaizing and gave the following statement: “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, the Sabbath, but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day (Sunday) they shall honor, and as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.”
The Catholic Encyclopedia states that it was the Catholics who changed the day of worship from Sabbath to Sunday and claims this as a mark of its authority. Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine said, “Sunday observance is from when the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”
The Sabbath should be enjoyed as a day of rest, family worship and strengthening relationships and focusing on Christ. Let it bring unity and focus to your home.
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Roman 6:15