THE SABBATH - A MEMORIAL AND A PROMISE
The Sabbath was made for man, Mark 2:27. The Creator in His wisdom knew that all men desperately need a regular time of rest and renewal each week. Observing the Sabbath–especially with others in fellowship–provides great spiritual and moral strength to enable one to remain in the proper relationship with the Heavenly Father* the other six days of the week. Just as necessary as regular sleep at night, the Sabbath is a natural law without which man spiritually deteriorates.
*The true names of the Heavenly Father, Yahweh and His Son, Yahshua the Messiah, are restored in these pages. Superstitious scribes and misguided Bible translators took away these true names and substituted the titles God, Lord and Adonai. The sacred Name is easily proved in good encyclopedias and dictionaries under the headings "Yahweh," "Jehovah," "God," or "Tetragrammaton." Request our free booklets or read online, "The Heavenly Father’s Great Name" and/or "The Missing J," which prove the Names conclusively from secular and religious authorities, as well as Scripture.
Yahweh's Sanctified Sabbath Day
Salvation has always been "by grace through faith." In the Old Testament, men were saved by grace through faith. It was Yahweh's grace that gave man the sacrificial system so that their transgressions of His moral law could be covered. But grace was not fully revealed until the death of the Messiah.
Just as the moral law leads us to the Messiah by showing us our sin and our need for a Savior, the ceremonial law through sacrifices is intended to teach us of the coming Messiah and His atoning work. What is thought to be Yahshua's doing away with the entire law is merely replacing the ceremonial ordinances with His own sacrifice. The moral and civil laws still remain in effect. These principles were not changed.
The Sabbath Is Necessary in Spiritual Development
Yahshua said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive...neither knows," John 14:15-17. The Holy Spirit is quenched by Sabbath desecration just as it is quenched by murder or any other disobedience.
The principle is not, "Give us the Comforter and then we will keep the commandments." You must first keep the commandments and then the Holy Spirit will do its work in you. Yahshua commanded the lepers to go and show themselves to the priest, and they were fully healed—after they obeyed, not before.
Proper Sabbath observance means religious training of our children. Neglecting the Sabbath in the home means that the children are not trained. When the Sabbath is ignored, so is Bible reading and study, as well as prayer and spiritual instruction. Sabbath keeping is Yahweh's will. Man has devised many substitute activities for obedience to Sabbath keeping, but substitutes are unacceptable.
Clearly those who use the Sabbath as a holiday, by putting themselves before Yahweh in search of pleasure or profit, are not developing righteous character. Other attractions such as baseball games, movies, and television have no relationship with the sacred uses of the Sabbath day. They contain essentially nothing for moral or religious training. When the Fourth Commandment is violated by such pastimes, the Holy Spirit is quenched and interest in religious matters dies out. Can we wonder that those who use the Sabbath as a day for personal gratification or gain do not develop righteous character?
No Sabbath, No Spiritual Growth
Usually, the Sabbath is rejected after one turns from Yahweh. Just as breaking a law of physics can have adverse results, when the Sabbath is violated, worship is perverted and peculiar beliefs are sure to follow. Personal drives overtake biblical direction as intellectual reasoning supersedes spiritual drive.
Note the spiritual derailment that resulted in Israel, following the righteous reign of King David, when one sin led to another. David's son, Solomon, married the princess of Egypt to secure the influence of the Egyptians. He then married other wives. Next, he built places of worship, not in harmony with Yahweh's commandments, but to meet seemingly necessary conditions. Then Jeroboam thought it was necessary to set up golden calves in Dan and Bethel to meet a specific condition, and to be popular with the people.
It was not long until Israel was found worshipping idols with the surrounding heathen people. It was not such a large step between the sincere worship of Israel in the days of David and the idol worship of Jeroboam and Ahab. Ezekiel tells us that the degeneracy of Israel was "...because they despised My judgments, and walked not in My statutes, but polluted My Sabbaths," Ezekiel 20:16. Any individual, family, community or nation that does not keep the Sabbath will soon degenerate.
There is no growth in spiritual life where there is no Sabbath that brings the mind and heart to reflect upon the sacred truths of Scripture. Human nature is prone to follow the baser thoughts and motives even on the Sabbath day. "...not finding our own pleasure, nor speaking our own words," referred to in Isaiah 58:13, means that on His holy day, we are to turn aside from pleasures, profit-seeking, and conversations that we would naturally choose.
For those who continue to reject the Sabbath, listen to John's assessment: "And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that says, 'I know him,' and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him," 1 John 2:3-4.
Why the Sabbath Was Established
The purpose for the Sabbath was stated clearly by the handwriting of Yahweh Himself (Exodus 31:18) and preserved for us through His Holy Scriptures.
Yahweh again spoke the commandment to Moses, "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, 'Concerning the feasts of Yahweh, which you 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, a holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of Yahweh in all your dwellings,' " Leviticus 23:2-3.
Yahweh has created the seventh day holy to Him. He rested on the seventh day. Why? Do you think He was tired? No, Yahweh created, blessed, and sanctified the seventh day to give mankind a special time for rest and worship. "But, we must worship Yahweh every day of our lives, not just once a week," you might be saying. You are absolutely correct. We are to keep Yahweh foremost in our daily lives.
Yahweh has given us six days for ourselves, but the Sabbath has been set aside exclusively for a special communion between Yahweh and man. Nothing must interfere in this weekly relationship. This is how Yahweh intended it to be from creation and that is how it will be in the Kingdom. " '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,' says Yahweh," Isaiah 66:23.
The Sabbath Signifies a Holy Bond with Yahweh
Yahweh established the Sabbath by resting on it after the creation. He intended that all people do the same when He made rest on the seventh day one of the royal commandments. The Sabbath was to be a sign between the Creator and His creation.
Read Exodus 31:13-14, "Speak you also unto the children of Israel, saying, 'Verily My Sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations: that you may know that I am Yahweh that does sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.' "
Notice first that the Sabbath is a special sign "throughout all your generations." Anyone that works on that day will be cut off from Yahweh's true people. The Sabbath, therefore, identifies the true worshippers of Yahweh. Keeping the seventh-day Sabbath is the difference between worshipping the Creator of this universe and worshipping a false, man-made mighty one. The pagans worshipped the sun god on "Sun"-day. Here, "sign" in the Hebrew means a monument, token or evidence. The Sabbath is a lasting memorial, evidence that those observing it are worshipping the true Creator.
But some say, "I keep every day holy, not any one special day." Notice verse 15, "Six days may work be done; but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest..." We are commanded to work six of the seven days of the week and rest on the seventh.
More proof that the Sabbath is to be kept forever is found in verses 16-17: "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 forever." Perpetual means "permanent, lasting indefinitely."
Is the Sabbath merely for Old Testament Israelites—"Jews"? "Know you therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham..." "So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham..." "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Messiah Yahshua. And if you be Messiah's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:7, 9, 28-29).
Israel was given the promise that, if they would be obedient to Yahweh's Sabbath, they would be treasured and blessed by Yahweh, Isaiah 58:13-14. The promise is exactly the same for us as spiritual Israelites.
"Remember the Sabbath" is as important as "Thou shalt not steal," or "Thou shalt do no murder," Exodus 20.
The relationships between man and Yahweh never change. Yahweh blessed and sanctified the seventh day, thus making it His Sabbath. He did not do this for any other day, nor did He undo it for the seventh. What Yahweh does is for all time. He does not change, Malachi 3:6.
Our Days Named After Planet Deities
None of the seven days of the week are named in the Bible, except the seventh—the Sabbath. The other six days are merely numbered. The fact that the days of the week are named today is one obvious indication that our calendar is not in harmony with Scripture.
The Jewish Encyclopedia tells us that the present names for the days of the week are derived from the Sabeans and Babylonians. Sabaism (from "tsaba," heavenly hosts) is the earliest form of false worship, according to Jamieson, Faussel and Brown Commentary.
In Babylonia, the worship of the planets became popular. Stars were divided into two classes: stationary or fixed, and those that moved or wandered. Those that were thought to wander were the sun, moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. These planetary deities were believed to be the principle rulers of the visible universe. They also were thought to rule the days of the week. "The first hours of seven successive days were thus ruled in turn by the celestial bodies...(Saturn, sun, moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus)...after which the cycle repeated itself. Each day was named after the planet that ruled its first hour," Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Week" Vol. 12, p. 587.
The ancient pagans worshipped the planetary deities in succession. Thus, our Sunday (sun's day) was named for the sun god; Monday (moon's day), moon god. The days Tuesday through Friday were named after northern European deities that corresponded to Roman planet gods, which also coincided with Babylonian gods (see chart below).
Origins of the Names of Our Days
|Sunday||Sun's Day||Dies Solis (sun)||Shamash|
|Monday||Moon's Day||Dies Lunas (moon)||Sin|
|Tuesday||Tiw's Day||Dies Martis (Mars)||Nergal|
|Wednesday||Woden's Day||Dies Mercurii (Mercury)||Nabu|
|Thursday||Thor's Day||Dies Jovis (Jupiter||Marduk (Bel)|
|Friday||Frigg's Day||Dies Veneris (Venus)||Ishtar (Beltis)|
|Saturday||Seterne's Day||Dies Saturni (Saturn)||Ninib|
Is there a connection between the Bible's seven-day week and Babylon's seven planetary deities? The Jewish Encyclopedia says, "The biblical writings contain no trace of any custom of naming the days of the week after the seven planets; nor had this custom, found among the Babylonians and the Sabeans, any bearing originally on the division of the week into seven days, since it was a mere numerical coincidence that seven planets were assumed in these primitive astrological conceits," Vol. 12, p. 482.
The names for the seven days of the week are actually the names of heathen deities. Pagan to the core, the calendar and the planetary week of the world mask and preclude the true sacred calendar Yahweh wants us to follow, keeping in mind HIS Sabbath, feast days and new moons.
Is it a light thing in the sight of Yahweh to so worship the sun, moon and host of heaven? Ezekiel 8:16-18. Does Yahweh want us to remain in an observance of such days, months, times and years? Galatians 4:8-11. What instead does Yahweh want us to observe? Leviticus 23:2. Does Yahweh begin His year with January 1 (Exodus 12:2, 13:4)?
Four New Testament Texts Often Used Against the Sabbath
Acts 20:7: "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." Because the disciples came together to break bread on the first of the week ("day" is in italics and was added), the proper day of worship must be Sunday, or so say those who use this verse to do away with the Sabbath commandment.
Answer: Note that the disciples came together to break bread. This was a common meal, and not the Memorial Supper. Verse 6 plainly says they sailed away from Philippi AFTER the Days of Unleavened Bread. These Days of Unleavened Bread always follow the Passover, Leviticus 23:5-6. Therefore, Paul had already kept the Passover. (He was preparing to keep Pentecost [verse 16], another of Yahweh's seven annual holy days.) Verse 11 shows that Paul ate bread, but no cup is mentioned. This was a fellowship meal, and Paul had preached late (Saturday night) until midnight. Verse 8 tells us that there were many lamps in the upper chambers. Breaking bread is a Hebraism for eating a meal, Acts 2:42, 46. The disciples had not gathered to partake of the Passover, but to have a fellowship meal following the Sabbath.
A number of Bible versions translate Acts 20:7 as Sabbath day or Saturday night:
— "On Saturday night, in our assembly for the breaking of bread..." (New English Bible)
— "Now on one of the Sabbath days, at our having gathered to break bread..." (Concordant Version)
— "On the Saturday evening we met for our common meal..." (The New Testament, by William Barclay)
— "On Saturday evening we gathered together for the fellowship meal..." (Good News for Modern Man)
— "In the first of the Sabbaths, having been assembled of us to break bread..." (the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).
NOTE: These also show that no Memorial Supper was observed, but only a "common meal" to "break bread."
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." Many believe this verse authorizes man to choose his own day of worship and rest.
Answer: The context of this chapter is about eating and/or abstaining from food, not about keeping the Sabbath. Paul talks about eating flesh or vegetables; about eating or fasting (verses 2, 3, 6, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21, 23). Paul was saying in verse 5 that fasting on a certain day is the choice of the individual, as brought out in verse 6. You may esteem one day more than another; another person may have a different day of fasting more meaningful to him. Since there is no law prescribing a particular day to fast (except Day of Atonement), let each man decide for himself. Nothing in the entire chapter speaks of or implies a day of worship.
Galatians 4:10-11: "You observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.'' Some believe these verses abolish all commanded days of the Old Testament, including the Sabbath.
Answer: As noted in the Acts 20:7 explanation above, why would Paul keep holy days like Unleavened Bread and Pentecost and then turn and teach the Galatians not to observe them? Or why would he tell them these days were not necessary? Further, why would Paul himself repeatedly worship on the Sabbath (Acts 17:2) and then say it was unnecessary to keep?
The answer to Galatians 4:10-11 is found in the context. Verses 8-9 read, "Howbeit then, when you knew not Yahweh, you did service unto them which are by nature not deities. But now, after that you have known Yahweh, or rather are known of Yahweh, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements whereunto you desire to be in bondage?" Even after Paul taught these former heathens to worship the true Creator, they were reverting to heathen days and times. Paul says "Turn you AGAIN..." Israelites were warned in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 not to learn the ways of their pagan neighbors, which included "observers of time" in the fashion of the pagans.
Colossians 2:16-17: "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath (days); which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (is) of the Messiah."
Answer: The words "days" and "is" are in italics in the King James, meaning, again, that they were not in the original. Take out the word "is" and an entirely new meaning emerges. The verse really says to let no outsider judge you in keeping these laws because Yahweh is the final authority. When we let opinions of the unconverted influence us, we could be swayed into disobedience.
The body of Messiah, the true worshippers of Yahweh, will rightfully discern the Scriptures in these matters. Guided by the Holy Spirit, their righteous behavior will be examples for the seeker of truth.
These observances are called a "shadow of things to come." A shadow is cast by the real object, and can arrive before the actual object. We are in the shadow of these laws now, knowing only the outline of their importance. Their full meaning will be revealed in the future Kingdom. Rather than refuting the observance of the laws and statutes of Yahweh, this passage shows that they will be even more significant when the Kingdom is established and they will be observed in their full glory and purpose.
Development of Sunday Worship
The following quotations from the New Catholic Encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. 13, "Sunday,") and Encyclopaedia Britannica (Vol. 4, "Church Year") graphically demonstrate how Sunday observance was a gradual development over many centuries, and is not a command from the Heavenly Father, as is the seventh-day Sabbath.
New Catholic Encyclopedia: Why the Name "Sunday":
The fathers of the church exploited the symbolism based on the Greco-Roman (originally Egyptian) name for this day, namely, dies solis (day of the sun), from which the Anglo-Saxon name Sunday is derived. Justin Martyr constructs a parallel between the name and what [Yahweh] did on that day: "We come together on the day of the sun on which [Yahweh] changing darkness and matter created the world, and on which [Yahshua] our Savior arose from the dead" (1 Apol. 67.7: Quasten Mone 20)...St. Jerome acquiesced in this coincidence between revelation and pagan terminology: "If it is called the day of the sun by the pagans, we willingly accept this name, for on this day arose the Light of the world; on this day shone forth the Sun of Justice in whose rays is health" [In die dominica paschae; G. Morin, Anecdota Maredsolana (Maredsous 1897) 3.2:418].
Evolution of the Sunday Mass:
The Eucharistic celebration is without doubt the chief characteristic of a Christian's observance of Sunday. No hard-and-fast rule existed in the early church; attendance at Sunday mass was simply taken for granted [Acts 20:7; Didache 14.1 (Quasten Mone 12); Justin, 1 Apol. 67.3 (ibid. 19)]. Only in the 6th century was there formulated an explicit law regarding the obligation to assist at mass on Sunday; it came from the Council of Agde in 506 (Guiniven 23). Church law in this matter, however, is more a reminder of an obligation rather than the cause of one. Such obligation is deeply rooted in filial duty to the heavenly Father, in the virtue of gratitude, and in the supernatural necessities of the Christian life. (Note: Acts 20:7 was merely an after Sabbath dinner that lasted until midnight—Ed).
The Sunday rest has an uneven history. Before the 4th century decrees of legal toleration and later establishment of Christianity, Sunday was a workday. Christians worshipped in the night and early morning hours.
The church long maintained a healthy fear of idleness; the cessation of work on Sunday was introduced less to allow for rest than to clear the way for intense spiritual activity. The Sabbath, or 7th day of the week, was observed among the Jews as a day sacred to [Yahweh]. As the law was enunciated in Exodus 20:8, it was positive in form—"Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day"—but the manner in which this was to be done was described negatively in the context. It was to be sanctified by abstinence from work because Yahweh had rested on the 7th day after all the work He had done. He then blessed and sanctified that day.
Nevertheless, there were positive aspects to the observance. It was made clear to the early Christians that they were not bound by Jewish practices as such, but only to the extent that these embodied natural law (Acts 15:28-29). Among the observances regarded as abolished was the keeping of the Sabbath. Possibly, as is believed by some on the basis of Matthew 24:20, the early Christian community at Jerusalem, and perhaps early generations of Judeo-Christians elsewhere, continued to observe the Sabbath.
Resting Also Was a Later Development
The observance of Sunday as a day of rest was a later development, possibly because, in the more primitive church, many of the faithful were of low station in life, or even slaves, and hence, were not in a position to take a holiday whenever they wished. But as the faithful grew in numbers, the situation changed, and there were those who could find more leisure time. As greater insistence began to be laid upon attendance at worship as a duty, the desirability of the observance of Sunday as a day of rest became apparent.
The observance of pagan festivals that were celebrated as holidays turned popular thought in the direction of a Sunday holiday. There was a general dissatisfaction with the provision for rest and recreation that prevailed under paganism. There was no lack of holiday festivals, but the intervals between them were irregular, and they did not provide the periodically recurrent interruptions of work necessary to meet human needs and to keep men at a satisfactory level of efficiency. There was little resistance even from pagan sources, therefore, when Constantine in 321 decreed a weekly holiday on the "venerable day of the Sun...." Encyclopaedia Britannica: "Gentiles Bring Sabbath to Sunday."
The church took over from Judaism the seven-day week. Before the end of the apostolic age (1st century AD), as the church became predominantly Gentile in membership, the first day of the week, or Sunday, had become the normative time when Christians assembled for their distinctive acts of worship, in commemoration of Yahshua's resurrection (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).
Sabbath Observance: Blessings or Curses?
When Moses came to the holy place in Exodus 3 and saw the burning bush, he was told, "Put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground," verse 5. Yahweh spoke about an actual place and a physical act that Moses was to do. The reason was holy. He was made to perform a deliberate action before Yahweh would proceed further. The same holds true for Sabbath obedience. By observing the Sabbath, we show Yahweh our desire to be obedient and receive the promised blessings (Isaiah 58:13-14).
In Exodus 20:8-11, we find that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. It is not the Sabbath of the Jews, as some think, but the Sabbath of Yahweh—for all mankind.
The sacred character of the day is stressed in the following Scriptures. "You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary," Leviticus 19:30 and 26:2. "Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned Mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and the profane, neither have they shown difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them," Ezekiel 22:26.
Obedience does not go unrewarded. As most of the world suffers trials and difficulties because of its carnal ways, blessings and protection are promised to those who keep the Sabbath. " 'It shall come to pass, if you diligently hearken unto Me,' says Yahweh, '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... and this city shall remain forever,' " Jeremiah 17:24-25.
Isaiah confirms Jeremiah's words: "Blessed is the man...that keeps the Sabbath from polluting it," Isaiah 56:2. This undeniable truth is the beauty of doing what Yahweh commands. He rewards us richly for doing so. When we offend, adverse consequences are just as sure.
Consequences of Non-observance
The judgment of Yahweh is directed against those who profane the Sabbath. "If you will not hearken unto Me to hallow 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," Jeremiah 17:27.
Because Israel would not hallow the Sabbath, they were scattered and humbled. "My Sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said I would pour out My fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them," Ezekiel 20:13 (see also verse 16). Nehemiah wrote of the same violation later in 13:17-18: "I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, 'What evil thing is this that you do, and profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our Elohim bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? Yet you bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath.' "
Notably, the Hebrew word "qadash" (meaning "to hallow") is used for the first time in the book of Genesis at the end of creation (2:3). It is significant that it is applied to time: "And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it [qadash]. "Yahweh created the Sabbath, and then gave it the quality of holiness. He created many things, but chose only the Sabbath to represent His holiness.
Did Yahshua the Messiah Abolish the Sabbath?
The Sabbath is a blessing to man, reminding him that he has been endowed with a character far superior to the rest of the created, physical world. Observing this day reveals that man is the highest of Yahweh's creatures. Keeping the Sabbath every week helps us to remember that Yahweh expects something from His creation in acknowledgment of His superior power and the fact that He is our Creator—"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," Exodus 20:8.
The Messiah's behavior on earth was a wonderful example to us. He showed by His life how His Father expects to be worshipped—not as the Pharisees and Sadducees thought worship should be, nor how many ministers today teach worship to be. Yahweh does not want a strict legalism that neglects the true spiritual aspects of worship, nor does He wish an "only believe in your heart" lip service that is so common today. "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto you, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him," Deuteronomy 18:18-19. This Prophet was Yahshua the Messiah. Yahshua plainly states that He taught His Father's doctrine and His Father's will. He adamantly tells us to do His Father's will. In Mark 7:6-9, Yahshua emphasizes the need to follow the commandments of Yahweh rather than the vain traditions of men.
In the books of Mark and Luke, we are informed that it was Yahshua's custom to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath where He would teach. There is no reference of Him going on any other day. Hebrews 13:8 reads, "Yahshua Messiah, the same yesterday, today, forever."
Yahshua is the founder of our faith. His teachings and example in harmony with Yahweh's will are our highest authority. Did Yahshua change the weekly day of rest and worship? He had the authority to do so if it was His purpose. He not only declared Himself "Master of the Sabbath," (Mark 2:28), but He was also the Creator of it (John 1:3 and Hebrews 1:2).
There is no Scripture that says He had changed or would change the Sabbath, not even after His death. Yahshua kept the commandments and He came to set us an example, John 8:55, 1 Peter 2:21-22.
The Messiah expects His followers in these last days to be praying about the Sabbath and keeping it: "But pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day," Matthew 24:20. The book of Acts also cites many examples where Yahshua's apostles and followers were keeping the Sabbath day.
Paul Taught the Law of the Sabbath
Even the Apostle Paul, after being accused of teaching that the law had been done away, said that he not only keeps the commandments but teaches them also. "But this I confess unto you, that after the Way which they call heresy, so worship I the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets," Acts 24:14.
Paul affirmed his adherence to all scriptural and civil law: "While he answered for himself, 'Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended anything at all,' " Acts 25:8.
Paul said that he did not teach anything other than what the Old Testament writers taught. "Having therefore obtained help of Yahweh, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come," Acts 26:22 and Acts 28:23.
In John 4:23, Yahweh tells us that a remnant of people will be looking for truth in the end times. These people are described in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 12:17 and 14:12 tell us that only the people who keep Yahweh's commandments will have the right to everlasting life. Yahweh expects those who follow Him to be keeping the Sabbath in these end times.
Yahshua did not abolish the Sabbath day and there is no record of any instruction to His followers to keep a different day of worship.
Most people have been taught by denominational tradition that the Sabbath (Saturday) is the worship day for Jews, and that Sunday is the worship day for the New Testament believers. This tradition, however, is in direct opposition to the Apostle Paul's teachings in 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Galatians 3:28. He said there is no difference between Jew and Greek (Gentile). All who accept the Messiah shall be in one accord (Acts 2:1) and have equal standing before Yahweh.
It has been said that the early assembly did not keep the Sabbath, but kept the first day of the week. This could not have been true. Let's prayerfully prove all things, as we are commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:21. If we are wrong, we must change our lives and our worship to pattern them spiritually (2 Timothy 3:16).
Let's use the ONLY source of truth—the Bible—to determine once and for all which day was the day of worship in the early assembly—the same day we must keep today!
Apostles Met on the Sabbath
We find in Acts 2 that the apostles were keeping a Sabbath—Pentecost. Scripture also clearly states, "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 when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.... And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of Yahweh," Acts 13:14, 42, 44.
Further in Acts we read, "And on the Sabbath, we went out of the city by a river side...and spake unto the women which resorted thither," 16:13. The word "spake" in Greek is laleo, which also means preach.
Paul customarily taught on the Sabbath. "And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures," Acts 17:2. We are commanded to do as Yahshua the Messiah did—He kept the Sabbath day holy.
Many denominations teach that the Apostle Paul's writings prove that the Sabbath has been "done away" and that we no longer need to keep one day in seven (whichever is most convenient). Bear in mind that Paul had been a Pharisee (Acts 23:6; 26:4-5; 28:17), the strictest sect of the Jews. His knowledge and grasp of the Scriptures was far beyond reproach. If there had been only one passage indicating the Sabbath was to come to an end, he would have known about it. The Messiah would have told Paul after his conversion that it was no longer needful to keep the Sabbath. But nothing in Scripture shows this. Nothing Paul wrote even hints that the Sabbath had been abolished in deference to Sunday.
A few Scriptures have been taken out of context and misapplied in an effort to say that the Sabbath has been done away. Peter warned against misunderstanding or misrepresenting Paul's teachings. "And account that the longsuffering of our Savior is salvation, even as also our beloved brother Saul also according to the wisdom given unto him has written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, in which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from our own steadfastness," 2 Peter 3:15-17.
Did Paul preach one thing and do another? Did he preach that the Sabbath had been done away, but yet keep the Sabbath himself? On his 10-year tour of Asia Minor, Macedonia, and Greece, he preached "as his manner was" on many specifically mentioned Sabbaths. He preached to both Jews and Gentiles on the Sabbath. There is no record of his meeting with them on any other day, nor evidence that he told them of any change of worship day. From his own testimony, Paul observed the Sabbath. Defending himself, he said, "Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar have I offended in anything," Acts 25:8.
Paul would never have violated the customs of the fathers by giving up the Sabbath day for some other day of worship. Even at the council at Jerusalem, the Sabbath was not a matter of dispute. It did not even come under consideration, Acts 15:1-35. If there had been a disagreement or difference between Paul's teachings and those at Jerusalem, it surely would have been discussed at this meeting. But, in fact, there is no record of the Sabbath ever being a divisive question among the apostles.
By whose authority, then, was the Sabbath changed? If the first day of the week was substituted for the seventh as the weekly day of rest and worship, either by command of Yahshua or as an example by His apostles, we would find it prominently in New Testament writings. We would most assuredly find Scriptural evidence if the apostles had begun worshipping on the first day of the week. This is too important a matter for the Scriptures to be silent if indeed there had been a change.
Eight Passages with "First Day of the Week"
There are only eight Scriptures in the entire New Testament that speak of the first day of the week. They are often used as arguments to "prove" Sunday worship. Let's look at all eight to see whether any of them prescribes, allows or supports altering the seventh day Sabbath to the 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." The two Marys waited until the ending of the Sabbath—as it began dawning toward the first day of the week—before they went to Yahshua's sepulchre.
Being Sabbath observers, it is reasonable that they would wait until the ending of the Sabbath and beginning of the first day of the week before venturing out. This Scripture says nothing of changing the Sabbath day of worship to Sunday.
Mark 16:1, 2, "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." As Matthew 28:1 shows, the two women observed the Sabbath before venturing out on their mission to anoint the body of the Messiah. They had the spices already purchased before the Sabbath. When they came to the sepulchre, it was a regular work day for them, not a new day of worship, as some claim.
Mark 16:9, "Now when Yahshua was risen, early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene out of whom He had cast seven devils." The Companion Bible in the right-hand column says that the word "early" (Greek proi) means any time after sunset on Saturday. If sunset on Saturday is approximately 6 p.m., then early on the first day of the week could mean 6:01 p.m. Saturday evening. Remember that the Jews determine their days according to the Bible reckoning, from sundown to sundown. So, sunset Saturday started the first day of the week.
No Scripture is of any private interpretation, 2 Peter 1:20. Thus, the English translation (since there was no punctuation in the originals) should have placed the comma after risen, as we have done, and not after week. This Scripture is then in harmony with the rest of the Bible. Matthew 28:1-6, Mark 16:1-6, Luke 24:1-3, and John 20:1-2 all state that by or before sundown Saturday, Yahshua had already risen! Nothing in these Scriptures says that He hallowed Sunday or changed the Sabbath day of worship to Sunday.
Luke 24:1-3, "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. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in and found not the body of Yahshua." Clearly, Yahshua had already risen before sunrise, which raises the question: Why are there Easter sunrise services? (Write for, or read online, our booklets, What You Should Know About Easter, and The Resurrection—Was It on Sunday?)
Again, nothing is said about worshipping, resting or changing the Sabbath day of rest to Sunday. They came to work, not to worship.
John 20:1, "The first day of the week comes Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and sees the stone taken away from the sepulchre." Yahshua was not in the tomb, and had not yet risen to heaven, (verse 17). John's account coincides with the others, but makes no mention of changing the day of worship to a different day.
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 Yahshua and stood in the midst, and said to them, 'Peace be unto you.' " Some claim that this was a secret meeting to change Sabbath worship to Sunday. But the passage says Yahshua came and stood among them—after He had died, was buried, and had risen. The disciples locked in a room, were hiding because they feared the Jews now that the Messiah had died. Suddenly, Yahshua stood in their midst. This would have been the perfect time to set them straight and to tell them that, now that He had died and was resurrected, there was to be a change made from the seventh day of worship to the first day of the week for New Testament worshippers. Yet He changed nothing. A week later, when Thomas had doubts about Yahshua, the Savior returned, but He said nothing about worshipping on the first day of the week.
Acts 20:7, "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." This is probably the Scripture most quoted by those who worship on Sunday. Following Sabbath services, they had gathered in the evening—Saturday night—which is correctly translated in the New English Bible.
Green's Interlinear Bible reads, "Paul reasoned to them. And he continued his speech until midnight." Paul was an esteemed visitor, and undoubtedly, everyone wanted to talk with him after Sabbath services. They had questions they wanted to ask him. This was not a Sunday worship service, but an after-Sabbath dinner talk lasting until midnight.
1 Corinthians 16:1-2, "Now concerning the collections for the saints, as I have given order to the assemblies of Galatia, even so do you. Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as Yahweh has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." We find in Acts 11:28-30 and Romans 15:26 that the people at Jerusalem were enduring a great famine. The brethren were in dire need of food and help. Paul wanted the brethren to prepare a collection of food and clothing on the first day of the week and keep it at home. He would come by and pick up the collections, and take them to the needy at Jerusalem. This had nothing to do with bringing an offering to any meeting or worship service. It was a time-consuming gathering of foodstuffs and clothing for the needy which the Corinthians were to do for transporting to Jerusalem. Please notice: Paul is not telling the people to rest and worship—but to WORK by preparing the collections.
The word "day" in the King James is in italics. This means it is not in the ancient manuscripts. "Day" has been added because the translators assumed that Paul meant Sunday. Rather than reading "the first day of the week," we should be reading "the first of the week" or "in the beginning of the week." It could have been Sunday, Monday, or even Tuesday and still have been the first of the week. Paul lived by and taught the commandments, including the Sabbath commandment. He plainly stated to the Corinthian brethren that he followed the Messiah's example, 1 Corinthians 11:1. The Messiah Yahshua kept and taught the seventh-day Sabbath, as did Paul. When he was ordained an apostle, he promised to teach "...none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come," Acts 26:22. When he was on trial for his life, he had to state what he believed and taught. Acts 24:14 says he believed all things which were written in the Law and in the Prophets.
Recapping the Facts
There is no Biblical command, example or even inference that the Sabbath was ever changed to Sunday. The first day of the week (beginning Saturday at sunset, when the Sabbath was over), they came to the tomb to anoint His body. They came to work, but found the tomb empty. At His first appearance since His resurrection, Yahshua found His disciples behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jews. This was not to celebrate the resurrection. They did not believe that He had risen! It was the earliest opportunity He had to appear before the disciples to prove that He was not dead, but living. No Scripture concerning the first day of the week gives authority to replace Sabbath worship with Sunday observance.
Whether or not these eight New Testament passages even refer to Sunday is not entirely clear. In each of the verses, the word "day" appears in italics in the King James. That means the word "day" did not exist in the original Bible manuscripts. It was assumed by translators who brought the Greek into English. There is no Scripture concerning the first day of the week which gives authority to replace Sabbath worship with Sunday observance.
Your Responsibilities on the Sabbath
Yahshua said, "The Sabbath was made for man; and not man for the Sabbath: therefore the Son of man is Ruler also of the Sabbath," Mark 2:27-28. All of the early New Testament believers, including Yahshua and the apostles, kept the Sabbath holy according to the Fourth Commandment. Why would they have done this? "For in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it," Exodus 20:11.
The Sabbath is Yahweh's holy rest day because He blessed and sanctified it as the memorial of creation, (Genesis 2:1-3, Isaiah 58:13). No one, not even Yahshua, was given the authority to change it!
The Fourth Commandment states, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," Exodus 20:8. "Sabbath" means rest. The Sabbath is a holy day of rest. Why? Because Yahweh instituted this day for man’s benefit—rest—as well as a day of worship, and gave us rules for its observance.
The Sabbath is an opportunity for mankind to serve Yahweh. We are to follow Him every day of our lives, but there are certain requirements for observing the Sabbath which is unique. During the week, we acknowledge our need for Yahweh and His Holy Spirit to help us meet the everyday demands of life. But on the Sabbath, we stop all employment and secular pursuits to devote fully our honor and worship to Yahshua the Messiah and our Heavenly Father Yahweh. We should allow nothing to come between us and our Creator.
We recognize the Sabbath as Yahweh's holy day. As quoted previously, "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on MY HOLY DAY: and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of Yahweh, honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words...." Isaiah 58:13. Yahweh created the Sabbath to be a blessing and a delight for man.
The Sabbath is a time for meditation upon the One Who made us. When we keep the Sabbath, we are totally acknowledging Yahweh as our Creator. There is little that can compare with the blessings we receive when we strive to do His will. Man has devised many substitutes for keeping the true day of rest; instead, he observes an "unauthorized day of worship" on Sunday. As we have seen, Yahweh will accept no substitutes for a day of worship which He Himself has instituted in His Word.
We must never think that, just because a man, or group of men, has changed a holy, set apart day, that we are free to pick and choose whichever day we wish to worship. We must never be so prideful as to think that we can actually dictate to our Creator when and how we wish to observe His holy day.
It is a fact that Yahshua kept the seventh-day Sabbath and He is our example. We can be certain that Yahshua did His Father’s will perfectly. When He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath, AS WAS HIS CUSTOM, He was most assuredly going there on the seventh day of the week! (Luke 4:16)
Proper Sabbath responsibilities include religious training of the children. When the Sabbath is neglected in the home, children are not properly trained in spiritual things. A popular book is entitled, "Children Are Wet Cement." When they are young, they are easily formed into virtually any kind of human being. When they get older, they build on previous training. We are commanded to teach our children the laws of Yahweh, Deuteronomy 6:4-9. It is the duty of each parent to teach the children to love and obey Yahweh's will faithfully. The commandments of Exodus 20:8-11 include all the family, plus any stranger (non-believer) in our homes, including hired servants or other employees and all work animals.
Buying and Selling Are Prohibited on the Seventh Day
It doesn't matter what career we have taken, the Sabbath is still binding. Nehemiah shows that regular business transactions—buying and selling—are forbidden on the Sabbath, Nehemiah 13:15-18.
But simply refraining from our daily work on the Sabbath is not all that Yahweh requires of us. Our attitudes, as well as our response to obeying His will, are of great importance.
If we keep from working on the Sabbath, but yearn for the next day when we can seek riches, profit or fun, the prophet Amos calls us sinners. "Hear this, O you that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, saying, 'When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yes, and sell the refuse of the wheat?' Yahweh has sworn by the excellency of Jacob; surely I will never forget any of their works," Amos 8:4-7.
The same is true of using the Sabbath as a holiday to read profane material, to gather for purely social reasons, to attend sporting events or seek any pleasure. If we use the Sabbath for these purposes, we are not obeying the Bible.
Isaiah gives us clear instructions for the Sabbath day and blessings that will be poured out for obedience, Isaiah 58:13.
The prophet Ezekiel wrote about the importance of Yahweh’s decrees in Ezekiel 20:10-12, "So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. I gave them My statutes and showed them My ordinances, by whose observance man shall live. Moreover I gave them My Sabbaths, as a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I, Yahweh, sanctify them."
True Obedience Springs From a Desire to Obey
We should not even speak our own words (idle gossip) on Yahweh’s holy day. To desecrate the Sabbath (Ezekiel 20:13) brings a curse, not a blessing. Pharisaism, yardstick religion, legalism—many abuses have been committed by those who try to tell us how we should, in their opinion, "keep the Sabbath holy." Even those denominations teaching that the commandments have been done away have developed their own list of do's and don'ts: don't drink, don't play cards, don't dance, don't go to the movies, etc. Instead of learning from the Scriptures, they manufacture their own standards. Does the Bible provide a list of can's and cannot's for the Sabbath? No, it gives basic examples and guidelines to follow which reveal the proper spirit of keeping the law holy.
Yahshua the Messiah kept all the commandments of Yahweh, including the Fourth Commandment, when He walked this earth almost 2,000 years ago. He said that if we want eternal life, we must keep the commandments, (Matthew 19:16-17). He also said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments," John 14:15.
"But what if a problem arises?" you may ask. Yahshua gave us the procedure to follow in the event of a severe difficulty. "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?" Luke 14:5.
The Messiah demonstrated His teaching when He was having a Sabbath meal at the house of one of the chief Pharisees. They brought a man with the dropsy to Him. They were setting a trap to see if He would "break the Sabbath" according to their traditions, and whether or not He would heal the man. Yahshua did heal him, verse 4.
Clearly, emergencies and the basic needs of man and animals are to be taken care of on the Sabbath. The very sick require care on the Sabbath. There are many ways in which the ox may fall into the ditch. But we must take care not to push the ox in the ditch in order to justify working on the Sabbath. Yahweh’s Holy Spirit will show us what is proper conduct for the Sabbath if we earnestly search His will through prayer. The key, however, is that we must seek His will and not our own.
The craftiness of Satan is always a factor. He can create "emergencies" on the Sabbath and thereby weaken our resolve to keep the Sabbath. We must put Yahweh first every day of our lives, but especially on the Sabbath. What honors Yahweh is not a particular action or inaction, but our attitude toward the activity and our willingness to obey.
Family and Strangers to Gather for Fellowship
Sabbath activities should encourage fellowship and joy in Yahweh. If we are the sons and daughters of Yahweh and fellow brethren of Yahshua the Messiah, we should gather as a family (Hebrews 10:25). Doing so will help build a bond of love and fellowship toward one another in Yahshua. Isn't that what a family is all about?
Activities should involve the concern for those who are needy. The "stranger" is specifically mentioned in the Fourth Commandment. The stranger or alien is also to refrain from work and enjoy Yahweh’s blessings, just as believers are.
Yahshua taught that the Sabbath is not just a list of do's and don'ts, but it is a day to share Yahweh's blessings with others. We should prepare for the Sabbath by sharing, not only the truth we have found in Yahweh's Word, but also our food, substance, love, and fellowship in our own communities.
Attempted Arguments Against the Sabbath
So far, we have briefly covered some major considerations concerning the Sabbath day. We have discussed the creation of the Sabbath; blessings and curses for obeying or disobeying it; Yahshua's position on and observance of the Sabbath; the New Testament Sabbath as kept by the apostles; and our own responses and attitudes regarding the Sabbath. We will now consider several "excuses" many have given for not keeping the Sabbath as ordained by Yahweh in His Holy Scriptures.
Few really believe what Yahweh said. Most want only to believe what they feel comfortable with, and manufacture rationale for not believing what they don't like. Many have no real desire for truth and, therefore, become entrenched in many unreasonable doctrines. Even Yahshua was not able to enlighten those (the Pharisees) with sectarian dogmas of His own day, stating that "new wine" was not for "old bottles."
Yahshua said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by Me," and "If you will enter into life, keep the commandments." Those who reject the truth reject both Yahshua and the Father.
The Apostle John stated unerringly, "And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that says, I know Him, and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keeps His word, in him verily is the love of Yahweh perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him," 1 John 2:2-5.
We must not select from Yahweh’s Word what we personally prefer and eliminate those things with which we disagree. The Holy Word from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21 is a well-balanced diet. Nothing is missing that is good for us and nothing is added that we can do without. Those who prefer a smorgasbord religion are deficient in many things required for a full and healthy spiritual life.
Our carnal natures cause us to behave with a certain amount of stubbornness and rebellion. Even those who have been converted by Yahweh's Holy Spirit find these emotions "warring" within themselves. "So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of Elohim, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members," Romans 7:21-23. By Yahweh's Word and Holy Spirit, we must be overcomers of our carnal natures. Yahweh works within us to develop righteous character, but those who refuse His Word soon become lazy and search for the broad way that leads to destruction.
Even Yahshua had only a few who followed Him to the end. Many believed Him—at least as long as He was popular, and as long as they were witnessing His miracles. They were confident that He would set up the Kingdom at that time with them ruling the nations of the earth. But just as soon as His teachings opposed the traditions of their priests and their own religious beliefs and preferences, they rejected Him. Few were willing to be purged by the truth He had revealed.
In reality, all excuses to exchange the Sabbath for another day are just feeble attempts to retain false religious dogma that some refuse to give up for Yahweh's truth. To break the Fourth Commandment is just as grievous a sin as stealing or murder. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all," James 2:10.
Detailed studies of each of the following "excuses" can be obtained free upon request. The address is found under Contact Information. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about the Sabbath. The following are only brief responses to common arguments for doing away with Yahweh's Holy Sabbath day.
"The law was abolished and part of that law was the Sabbath commandment."
Yahweh warns, "There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death," Proverbs 16:25. The voice of wisdom speaks in Ecclesiastes 12:13, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear Elohim, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole [duty] of man."
In the New Testament, Paul said he gave to the Gentiles Yahweh’s commandments (ordinances). "Be followers of me, even as I also am of the Messiah. Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you," 1 Corinthians 11:1-2.
Yahshua adamantly proclaimed that He never abolished the law, nor would it be abolished. This is worthy to be read again: "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven," Matthew 5:17-19.
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, said the commandments are holy, just, and good. He warns us of disobeying Yahweh in 1 Timothy 1:5-8, "Now the [purpose of the commandments] is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith [believing Yahweh] unfeigned; from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling: desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully."
Some twist Scripture to suit their own purposes. This is especially true of the Apostle Paul's writings. They want you to believe that Paul's works are proof that the commandments have been abolished. But just the opposite is true. He obviously observed the Law.
"And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the Kingdom, both out of the Law of Moses, and out of the Prophets, from morning till evening," Acts 28:23.
Can we freely sin because we have Yahweh’s grace and are not under the penalty of the law? Paul says, no! Read what he says in Romans 3:31: "Do we then make void the law through faith? Yahweh forbid: yes, we establish the law." Note also Romans 6:15: "What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? Yahweh forbid." The question might arise: What is sin? Scripture states simply that sin is the breaking of the law, 1 John 3:3-6.
"The New Testament church [assembly] has always kept the first day of the week."
This is not true. We find that the apostles kept the seventh-day Sabbath, Acts 2. It was on a Sabbath day that they went into the synagogue. The Sabbath was always the seventh day, as the Fourth Commandment prescribes, Exodus 20:8-11. Paul kept the Sabbath, as he followed Yahshua’s example. See Matthew 12:2; Mark 6:2; and Luke 13:10.
Please pay close attention to the following Scriptures: In 1 Corinthians 16:2, the people were gathering a collection for the saints (because of the famine) on the first day of the week because they were not allowed to reap on the Sabbath. In verse 2, Paul makes it clear that they were to have the collectibles ready for picking up when he came. Notice that the first day was an actual work day, not a worship day.
"The Sabbath belongs to the Jews. It’s Jewish."
Is the Fourth Commandment Jewish? If so, then the other nine are also Jewish. But no one teaches that it is proper to steal, murder, or commit adultery because the commandments that prohibit such are Jewish and have been done away!
In fact, the Sabbath is not Jewish. The Sabbath predates the organization of the nation of Israel by centuries! Notice the significance here: Adam was not Jewish, yet the Sabbath was in force at creation. The Messiah said that the Sabbath was made for man (mankind), not for Jews only. Yahweh established the Sabbath at the beginning of time for the benefit of all mankind, not just for Jews.
If we believe that Yahshua is the risen Messiah, are we not of Israel? Romans 11:11, 17-18 says, "I say then, has [Israel] stumbled that [Israel] should fall? Yahweh forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy...and if some of the branches be broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches."
We are spiritual (if not physical) Israelites as long as we accept Yahshua the Messiah. Romans 2:28-29 reads, "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of Yahweh."
"The seventh-day Sabbath originated in Babylon and is not scriptural."
It is impossible to believe this and believe the Bible. Examples are Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15, which are references for the Fourth Commandment. Leviticus 23:3 reads, "Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, a holy convocation, you shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of Yahweh in all your dwellings." Also read Exodus 31:13-17, noting verse 16, "Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant."
As already shown, True Worshippers are called "Israel," so this command is for us also.
Yahweh's Word is never wrong, only man's interpretation is wrong. When we find a contradiction, we need to study to find where WE are wrong. Remember the purpose for the Bible: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of Yahweh, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of Yahweh may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works," 2 Timothy 3:16.
"Yahshua said in John 5:17, 'My Father works and I work...' on the Sabbath. Therefore, we may also work on the Sabbath."
This is true only if we are doing as Yahshua did, and that is, work for the glory of Yahweh. This in no way has to do with our daily employment. The testimony and example of Yahshua give us authority for the Sabbath. When He said, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath," and "The Son of Man is Master, also of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27-28), He acknowledged the importance of the Sabbath. He observed the day with sacred esteem. We read in Luke 4:16, "As His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day." This was spoken of Yahshua when He was at Nazareth, where He was reared. We do not find a single statement recorded in Scripture in which Yahshua denied the authority of the Sabbath. In addition, we do not find a single statement recorded in Scripture in which Yahweh’s Law has ever been set aside. Yahshua was often falsely accused (by those who had lost the true spirit of worship) of breaking the Sabbath by working, but the works that He performed were for the glory of Yahweh and not work to earn a living. If it was not all right for Yahshua to toil on the Sabbath, why is it all right for us?
"Yahshua worked on the Sabbath by healing others and thereby gave us authority to work on the Sabbath also."
Yahshua was often accused of breaking the Sabbath by healing others, but these acts were not a violation of the Fourth Commandment. He never searched out people to heal on the Sabbath.
There are seven accounts of Yahshua healing on the Sabbath. In every instance, the people were brought to Him or were in His presence as He worshipped and taught. In no case did He deliberately journey to seek and heal on the Sabbath. When He was teaching on the Sabbath in a Capernaum synagogue, there was a certain man, "...with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, 'Let us alone; what have we to do with You, Yahshua of Nazareth?' " Mark 1:23-24. And Yahshua healed the man.
Yahshua's second healing miracle performed on the Sabbath was immediately after the miracle in the synagogue. He was in Simon Peter's home. "They besought Him for her. And He stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her," Luke 4:38-39.
The third miracle Yahshua did on the Sabbath was at the synagogue. In the presence of the man with a withered hand, they asked Him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?" 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 more then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath day," Matthew 12:10-12. He answered their question and their accusation by healing the withered hand.
Yahshua's fourth miracle on the Sabbath was also in the synagogue. A woman was in the synagogue who "...was bowed together, and could in no wise lift herself. And when Yahshua saw her, He called her to Him, and said to her, 'Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.' And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made straight, and glorified Yahweh. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Yahshua had healed on the Sabbath day," Luke 13:11-14. He defended His healing by saying, "You hypocrite, does 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 had bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?" verses 15-16.
Yahshua's fifth Sabbath miracle was when He went into the house of the ruler of the Pharisees to eat bread. "And there was a certain man before Him which had the dropsy." They were watching Him. He asked them a question as they watched for His miracle: "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" He healed the man before them and defended His act with a statement similar to before: "Which of you shall have an ox or an ass fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull it out on the Sabbath day?" Luke 14:1-5.
The sixth miracle was His healing a man with 38 years of infirmity, John 5:5-9.
The seventh Sabbath miracle was the healing of a blind man, when "...His disciples asked Him, saying, 'Master, Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' " And Yahshua answered, "Neither." He healed him by anointing his eyes with clay and instructing him to wash in a pool, John 9:1-7.
The same accusation of the rulers against Yahshua's healing on the Sabbath has been used against those who believe in keeping the seventh-day Sabbath today. A careful reading of these accounts will show that Yahshua did not violate the Sabbath by His acts of healing.
There is no Scriptural proof that Yahshua ever said or did anything to forbid us from keeping the original Sabbath, as set forth in the Ten Commandments. Rather, He approved of keeping it by obeying the Sabbath laws Himself. Of all the healing miracles Yahshua did, only these seven were done on the Sabbath, and only then in connection with His worship and teaching. He never toiled on the Sabbath, but always set it aside for worship.
"We keep Sunday because the Messiah rose on the first day of the week."
Not true. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all agree that Yahshua had risen and was already gone from the tomb by the first day of the week. Matthew says in 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." Dawn is the beginning of the first day. The end of the Sabbath is at sundown in Scripture. The beginning of the first day is immediately after sundown. He had already risen and was gone by what we would call Saturday night.
Because the Messiah was gone before the sun rose on Sunday morning, we should raise the question: Why are there Easter sunrise services?
The Apostle Paul tells us that our celebration of the resurrection is in baptism: "Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Yahshua the Messiah were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Messiah was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection," Romans 6:3-5.
The writing of the early fathers indicates that changes were made in many of the doctrines of Yahshua. It should not be surprising that, at the beginning of the fourth century, even the Sabbath day was changed, and the pagan Sun-day was made a legal substitute. The worshippers of Yahshua were then told this was done in memorial to His resurrection, and that the sacredness had been transferred to Sunday. This grave error remains in the doctrines of most churches to this day.
The question remains: What does a day of resurrection have to do with a commandment to rest on a certain day? Where is the Biblical directive to change the Fourth Commandment?
"Romans 14:5 and 6 says that we can keep any day we want as the Sabbath; we are not to observe days, months, times, and years, according to Galatians 4:8-10 and Colossians 2:16."
Some will interpret these three Scriptures of Paul as meaning that the Fourth Commandment is no longer binding. The statement in Romans 14:5-6 has been so interpreted. "One man esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. He that regards the day, regards it unto Yahweh: and he that regards not the day to Yahweh he does not regard it." The apostle is not writing about the Sabbath in this chapter. There is nothing in the chapter pertaining to keeping the Sabbath or about the validity of the Sabbath as a holy institution. He was writing about matters of fasting and conscience in eating meats. Read these verses in context with the rest of the chapter and you will find this to be true.
Paul's similar reproof to the Galatians (4:8-10) has encouraged some to reject the commandments—especially the Fourth Commandment. A study of the meaning intended will easily satisfy anyone that the Sabbath is not set aside by Paul's statements. "When you knew not Yahweh, you did service unto them which by nature are no mighty ones. But now, after that you have known Yahweh, or rather are known of Yahweh, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days, and months, and times and years."
Remember that the book of Galatians was written to help them overcome certain pagan, as well as Judaistic teachings. Some had taught, "Except you be circumcised, you cannot be saved."
Other ceremonial rites—heathen and Jewish—were practiced by the Galatians. Some had been heathen idolaters and were holding their pagan observances of days and anniversaries, which they observed "...when you knew not Yahweh." It was not easy for them to give up their former ceremonies.
In Esther 3:7, we read of their observing days, months, times, and years. They had stargazers, monthly prognosticators, and reveling in heathen festivals. They were ascribing sacredness equal to what others gave to the appointments of the Scriptures. Some people today will not make any decisions before checking their daily horoscope in the morning newspaper.
In denouncing these pagan "days, months, times, and years," Paul never referred to the Decalogue or the Sabbath day.
This was the same controversy against which Paul was warning the Colossians. They were also attempting to incorporate their previous pagan worship into the pure worship that Yahweh required of them. It was simply the pagan days, months, and years Paul was telling them to do away with—not Yahweh's holy days, as outlined in Scripture.
Once again, Yahshua spoke these words, "If you love Me, keep My commandments."
"The calendar has been changed and we don't know which day of the week is the seventh day."
Yahshua the Messiah knew exactly which day was the Sabbath. Yahweh instructed Israel in the wilderness by withholding the miracles of the manna on the Sabbath.
Even though our calendar has been changed (from Julian to the Gregorian in 1582, and in England in 1752), it was only the monthly date that was changed, not the sequence of the days in the week.
Jewish historians are very exact in their chronology. The weekly cycle has never been broken. The Jews never forgot or confused the proper Sabbath sequence through history. Their calendar shows the same seventh day as ours.
"It doesn't matter which day I keep as long as I keep one day in seven."
Does it really matter which day we keep to worship our Heavenly Father? If we truly wish to follow Yahweh’s will, how we worship Him is crucial. How many times in Scripture is the Sabbath mentioned? Do you really believe Yahweh has allowed us total freedom in determining when and how we worship Him?
Our actions have holy effects. They must be in tune with the Creator's master plan. Consider a few of the many examples from the Bible showing that, when Yahweh prescribes a certain action, He expects nothing less than complete obedience.
—Cain and Abel brought offerings before Yahweh (Genesis 4). Both offerings were given as Yahweh required, but one was the wrong kind. Abel's firstlings of his flocks were accepted; Cain's fruit of the ground was rejected. Cain probably asked, "What's the difference. It's an offering, isn't it?" The difference was that he didn't care enough to bring the right offering. For some, the days of worship are all the same, too.
—Moses was barred from the Promised Land because he struck a rock twice instead of speaking to it, as Yahweh had instructed him (Numbers 20). Water did come out, but that did not constitute Yahweh's blessings for Moses' disobedience any more than the prosperity of a non-Sabbath keeper constitutes Yahweh's approval for his lack of obedience. The proof is in the final judgment.
—Samson's long hair may seem insignificant, but to Yahweh who accepted his Nazarite vow, it was very important. In fact, it was through a moment of spiritual weakness that Samson allowed his hair to be cut. Yahweh immediately took away Samson's unusual strength (Judges 16). His long hair was a mark of Samson's obedience, as is the observance of the Sabbath for the True Worshipper.
—Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, probably thought all fire was the same and it did not matter which they used in their offering to Yahweh (Leviticus 10). When they used their own fire instead of the holy fire of Yahweh in their sacrifice, the Creator instantly burned them to death. Can we assume all days, too, are the same?
—When Uzzah was driving the ark of the covenant on an ox cart, he thought he was doing right at one point by grabbing the ark to keep it from falling (2 Samuel 6). But Yahweh's command not to touch the ark carried swift and sure punishment. Uzzah was immediately killed for his action. The command to observe the Sabbath is just as rigid.
—Marching around the city of Jericho once a day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day while blowing trumpets may have seemed a strange way to defeat his enemies (Joshua 6), but Joshua obeyed Yahweh, without question, resulting in a total victory over the city.
In a time when observing the Sabbath seems out of step with our self-seeking, fast-paced world, we would do well to heed the Fourth Commandment of Yahweh. Only He can give us salvation; we cannot produce it ourselves. Simple compliance will produce blessings from Yahweh. Defiance and endless arguing against the Sabbath will only result in ultimate condemnation.
The Psalmist wrote: "Remove me from the way of lying: and grant me Your law graciously," Psalm 119:29.
The Sabbath is the oldest institution in the world. It was given and first observed at creation, some 2,500 years before there was a Jew. Yahweh made it holy and was the first to keep it (on the seventh day, Genesis 2:2).
The Sabbath is mentioned 59 times in the New Testament. Not even one of those instances speaks of the Sabbath as ever having been changed or abolished. So, by whose authority has the day been changed? Man has taken the liberty to switch Yahweh’s worship to a first-day-of-the-week observance. His brash license to alter his worship day has not gone unnoticed.
NEVER ON SUNDAY
the Scriptural Sabbath Day
Compiled here, are selected quotations from prominent religious leaders and religious publications of various denominations. What they have to say about the Sabbath and the origin of Sunday observance is enlightening.
Baptist: "Sabbath Day Was Not Sunday"
There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however...that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week. Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament. Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism! —Dr. Edward Hiscox. author of The Baptist Manual.
Catholic: "No Such Law in the Bible"
From this same Catholic Church, you have accepted your Sunday, and that Sunday, as the Lord's day, which she has handed down as a tradition; and the entire Protestant world has accepted it as a tradition, for you have not an iota of Scripture to establish it. Therefore, that which you have accepted as your rule of faith, inadequate as it of course is, as well as your Sunday, you have accepted on the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. —D. B. Ray, The Papal Controversy, p. 179.
I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' The Catholic Church says: 'No. By my divine power, I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.' And lo! the entire civilized world bows down in reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church." —T. Enright, CSSR. in a lecture in 1884.
Nowhere in the Bible do we find that [Yahshua] or the apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of [Yahweh] given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is, the seventh day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the [Roman] church outside the Bible."— Catholic Virginian, Oct. 3,1947.
Lutheran: "They Err in Teaching Sunday Sabbath"
But they err in teaching that Sunday has taken the place of the Old Testament Sabbath and therefore must be kept as the seventh day and had to be kept by the children of Israel. In other words, they insist that Sunday is the divinely appointed New Testament Sabbath, and so they endeavor to enforce the Sabbatical observance of Sunday by so-called blue laws...These churches err in their teaching, for Scripture has no way ordained the first day of the week in place of the Sabbath. There is simply no law in the New Testament to that effect. —John Theodore Mueller, Sabbath or Sunday, pp. 15-16.
Christian: "The Bible Sabbath Came Before the First Day of the Week"
The first day of the week is commonly called the Sabbath. This is a mistake. The Sabbath of the Bible was the day just proceeding the first day of the week. The first day of the week is never called the Sabbath anywhere in the entire Scriptures. It is also an error to talk about the change of the Sabbath. There never was any change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. There is not in any place in the Bible any intimation of such a change.—First Day Observance, pp. 17-18.
Methodist: "[Yahshua] Did Not Abolish the Moral Law"
The moral law contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the prophets, He [Yahshua] did not take away. It was not the design of His coming to revoke any part of this. This is a law which never can be broken...Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to change, but on the nature of [Yahweh] and the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each other." —John Wesley, Sermons on Several Occasions, Vol. 1, No. 25.
The Heavenly Father considered the Sabbath so important, so necessary for His human creation, that He kept it Himself. In fact, the crowning achievement in His creation of the vast universe–the last act He performed–was to rest on the seventh day.
His example is unmistakable. The Fourth Commandment requiring Sabbath observance is as important as the nine other commandments in the royal law.
But which day is the Sabbath and how it should be kept holy has been debated down through history. Why do the masses observe the first day of the week, while others hallow the seventh?
The Fourth Commandment mandates, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahweh your Elohim: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it," Exodus 20:8-11.
Through the ages, man has profaned the day Yahweh sanctified for rest. It was true even in the days when Isaiah was the religious leader of Israel. Yahweh told him to stand in the gates of Jerusalem and instruct the rulers and people in Sabbath keeping, and rebuke them for their Sabbath desecration, Isaiah 56:2-6; 58:13, 66:23.
A century and a half later, the prophet Nehemiah asked the people, "What evil thing is this that you do, and profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our Elohim bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? Yet you bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath," Nehemiah 13:17-18. He then put forth measures to ensure proper Sabbath keeping.
When Yahweh gave the Ten Commandments (including the Fourth) to the Hebrew nation, He told them repeatedly, "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the posts of your house, and on your gates," Deuteronomy 6:7-9. The Scriptures record directives to keep the Sabbath. The people who have not made sufficient effort to protect the Sabbath have forgotten their Creator, and in doing so, have paid the penalty of their error.
Never has the Sabbath been so strongly attacked, or so poorly defended, as today. While we are directed to teach Sabbath keeping to our children, we find instead that large numbers of parents are bringing up their children with no Sabbath instruction or example. They make the day a mere weekend holiday devoid of instruction in moral or religious living.
Many children see their parents start out to work on Sabbath morning. Many others spend the day doing their dirtiest cleaning chores, attending sports activities or just having fun. Their children pass through the formative period of life seeing business, labor, and sports performed on the day that Yahweh created as holy. No wonder they do not understand the meaning of the Sabbath. When grown, these people defend their right to do as they wish on this day, as they have seen and done all their lives.
The Sabbath Was Established at Creation
Briefly stated, the authority for keeping the Sabbath is shown to us in Yahweh's own Sabbath rest at creation in Genesis; codified by the Fourth Commandment at Sinai; acknowledged by the Messiah Yahshua, and referred to continually throughout the entire Bible.
The scriptural account of the creation shows that for each six days of work, a day of rest and worship is needed. In that first creation week, the "evening and morning" were the first day, which continued through the six days. Then, "He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He made. And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which Elohim created and made," Genesis 2:2-3. The weekly cycle is defined only by the observance of one sacred day in seven. Seasons establish the year, while new moons fix the month, but no natural phenomenon determines the week. A sacred day in every seven is the only criterion setting off days into weeks. Yahweh created this cycle for a healthy physical and spiritual life—six days labor and one day of rest.
The Sabbath was not intended for Jews only, nor is it "a yoke of bondage" as some claim. It was established at the creation of the world by the Creator Himself when He rested on the seventh day. To appreciate fully that the Fourth Commandment is to be observed today, we should notice the place the Ten Commandments occupy in the law of Yahweh for our guidance. First, they are directly from Yahweh. The law contained in the commandments is to be written upon the heart of man. Of extreme importance is the understanding that the Sabbath was not created at Sinai, but was only proclaimed, as were the other commandments and laws.
Paul said that, without the law, there is no sin, Romans 7:7-8. The very definition of sin is given in 1 John 3:4, "...sin is the transgression of the law." Adam and Eve committed the first sin and so broke a law. Yahweh's laws have been in effect since Adam, including the Sabbath commandment.
Paul wrote in Romans 5:12-14, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression...." ALL men have broken Yahweh's law, including those who lived before Moses presented to the people the two tablets of stone.
Abraham, who lived long before Moses, observed all the commandments, statutes and judgments of Yahweh, Genesis 26:5. Numerous Scriptures in Genesis prove conclusively that the Ten Commandments were in force before they were written on stone at Sinai.
The very fact that Yahweh gave us the Ten Commandments indicates the fundamental nature of the covenant He made with His people. The Ten Commandments are everlasting—precepts that will never change.
The Sacrificial System—Not the Sabbath—Set Aside
The sacrifice of Yahshua upon the stake did not set aside the Ten Commandments, as some claim. The Old Testament animal sacrifices, which pointed to the Messiah—the Lamb without blemish, slain for all sins of the world—were set aside, but the Ten Commandments were not. Yahshua said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled," Matthew 5:17-18. "Do we then make void the law through faith? Yahweh forbid, yes, we establish the law," Romans 3:31.
Yahshua's testimony and His example give us authority for the Sabbath. He acknowledged the Sabbath when He said, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath," and "The Son of Man is Master also of the Sabbath," Mark 2:27-28. He observed the day with sacred esteem. We read in Luke 4:16, "As His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day." This was spoken of Him when at Nazareth where He was reared. We do not find a single Scripture in which Yahshua denied the authority of the Sabbath or any Scripture which points to it as being set aside after His death.
There is a difference between the ceremonial observances connected with the temple sacrifices, typifying the Messiah to come, and the Ten Commandments. The first were to pass away when the Messiah offered Himself, once for all. The epistle to the Hebrews makes plain what was to pass away and what did not pass away with the offering of Yahshua.
Don't be deceived into thinking that the Ten Commandments were a part of the ceremonial law that ceased to be required when Yahshua gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins. There is no Scriptural basis whatever to prove that the Sabbath day, set apart by Yahweh, was ever changed from Saturday to Sunday; neither was it ever abolished.
Three Divisions of the Mosaic Law
The Mosaic code has three important distinctions. The moral law contains the Ten Commandments and also contains specific instructions defining Yahweh's intended plan of worship. The ceremonial ordinances describe the specific sacrificial duties of the priests. The civil law describes a code of conduct in human relationships for Yahweh's people. The moral and civil laws are universal, containing eternal principles that will never change. The ceremonial law was only temporary, to show the people their need for a Savior. The blood of bulls and goats sacrificed from year to year could not cleanse away sins. The law, then, sets forth Yahweh's will for our conduct toward Him and toward our fellow man. The law defines the perfection for which we must strive.
More Prominent Admissions
They (the Catholics) refer to the Sabbath day as having been changed into the Lord's Day, contrary to the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) as it seems. Neither is there any example whereof they make more than concerning the changing of the Sabbath-day. Sunday is not celebrated in Christendom by [Yahweh's] command. Great, say they, is the power of the Church, since it has dispensed with one of the Ten Commandments. Augsburg Confession, Art. 28, p. 24.
In the New Law, the observance of the Lord's Day took the place of the observance of the Sabbath, not by virtue of the precept (Fourth Commandment) but by the institution of the church. Summa Theologicia, Art. 4, II. P. 1702.
The emperor Constantine, a convert to Christianity, introduced the first civil legislation concerning Sunday in 321, when he decreed that all work should cease on Sunday, except that farmers could work if necessary. This law, aimed at providing time for worship, was followed later in the same century and in subsequent centuries by further restrictions on Sunday activities." Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., "Sunday," p. 672.
It is barely imaginable that first-day Sabbath observance commenced before the Jerusalem council (C.E. 49). Nor can we stop there. We must go on to maintain that first-day Sabbath observance cannot easily be understood as a phenomenon of the apostolic age and of apostolic authority at all." —M.B. Turner, From Sabbath to Lord's Day; A Biblical, Historical and Theological Investigation, p. 198.
It being expedient to overthrow superstition, the Jewish holiday was abolished and as a thing necessary to retain decency, order, and peace in the Church...the early Christians substituted what we call the Lord's Day for the Sabbath." —John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, I, p. 343.
Search the Scriptures for Yourself
Those who have come to a knowledge of the true Sabbath have had to grapple with many questions and overcome objections to keeping the seventh day of the week. For a world that largely keeps Sunday, it is difficult for many to understand those who keep the seventh-day Sabbath.
Governments accept Sunday as a day of cessation from banking and commerce. Blue laws support Sunday keeping. Proclamations are even issued for holidays that were first adopted by mystery religion, such as Christmas and Easter.
Only because of a deep, abiding conviction do most people overcome the objections and accept the true Bible Sabbath as the day to keep. Many people believe Sunday is the proper day of worship as ordained by Yahweh. They are ignorant of what the Holy Bible teaches regarding the Sabbath and are also ignorant of what some religious leaders, who observe Sunday, are preaching regarding Sunday.
Scripture has much to say about ministers who teach violation of Yahweh's holy commandments. "Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned Mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shown difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them," Ezekiel 22:26.
The Apostle John concluded, "Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law," 1 John 3:4. John also told us, "He that says, I know Him, and keeps not His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him," 1 John 2:4.
No one can force an understanding on another. Neither do we intend to force anything on you. Our aim is simply to give the facts, supported by Scriptural references and other documentation that the Sabbath is the seventh-day observance holy to Yahweh and that He will accept no other. We now challenge you and your minister to search the Bible and find Yahweh's truth. By humble fasting and prayer, the True Worshipper of Yahweh will, through His Holy Spirit, be guided into all truth.
Can You Find…
One Scripture telling man to keep the first day of the week holy or to worship or rest on the first day of the week?
One Scripture showing any of the apostles keeping the first day of the week as the Sabbath?
One Scripture declaring that the seventh day is no longer Yahweh's Sabbath day?
One Scripture that calls the seventh day the "Jewish" Sabbath or one that calls the first day the "Christian" Sabbath?
One Scripture calling the first day a holy day?
One Scripture that says the Sabbath was changed from the seventh to the first day of the week?
One Scripture that says the Sabbath has been done away?
One Scripture that tells us to keep the first day in honor of the resurrection of Yahshua?
One Scripture authorizing someone to set aside the Fourth Commandment and observe any other day of the week?
One Scripture promising blessings for observing Sunday as the Sabbath?
One Scripture where an apostle taught us to keep the first day of the week as the Sabbath?
One Scripture where punishment or cursing is threatened for not observing Sunday?
One Scripture where Sunday is now appointed to be kept as the New Testament Sabbath or holy day?
Getting Down To Specifics—What To Do Or Not To Do
The Sabbath is a respite from weekly labors, a chance to relax and gain much valued rest. We are to be free from our responsibilities of making a living on the seventh day. We are commanded to curtail our activities during this holy time of refreshing and spiritual renewal.
We must take special caution not to do our own pleasure on this day or continue in our regular weekly pursuits. The pleasures of the world must be avoided. That includes sports events on the Sabbath. It is a time to spend away from the world and to concentrate on Yahweh's goodness and His creation. Scripture says it is a time we are not to speak our own words, meaning talk of mundane, worldly things. This is a time for spiritual rejuvenation in which we remember the creation of Yahweh and focus on His mighty power. It also represents that great Sabbath of rest when He will redeem His people for an eternity of joy and blessings.
"But What About Cooking on the Sabbath?"
All involved cooking for the Sabbath should be done ahead of time. The making of pies, cakes, and breads can all be done beforehand and still be enjoyed on the Sabbath. It is popular with many Sabbath keepers to partially cook a roast or other hot dish. Then, when the Sabbath comes, heat it in the oven for a tasty meal. Some wonder whether we should even warm meals during the Sabbath, citing Exodus 35. It is a personal preference if one does not wish to heat meals or even cook eggs. However, Exodus 35 is speaking primarily about abstaining from heating the smelting furnaces to melt metal for the tabernacle furnishings. As long as this was Yahweh's tabernacle, Israel reasoned, they could get the fires ready before the Sabbath had ended. However, Yahweh said they were not to do so, but keep the Sabbath holy and construct the tabernacle on a weekday.
In Leviticus 6:13, we read about a fire that burned continuously. Someone had to tend it even on the Sabbath—an involved chore. Today, most houses have electricity, with food kept in a refrigerator. There is little difference between using electricity to keep food cool on the Sabbath and using electricity to warm it. Again, if someone does not wish to heat food on the Sabbath, preferring cold sandwiches or cold food, that is strictly his prerogative. However, he should not condemn another who sees nothing wrong with heating his food for the Sabbath, for which there is no specific Scriptural restriction.
The True Worshipper should also abstain from watching television or listening to the radio on the Sabbath, preferring to leave worldly pursuits for spiritual ones. However, there are a few occasions when certain programs may be beneficial. Special nature shows or animal programs are especially interesting for the family and the children. We read Bible stories to the younger children and help the older ones in study. (Write for, or take online, our free correspondence course, which can be understood by teens on up. This is also an excellent home school resource for learning the truth of Yahweh’s Word. The course provides a quiz after each lesson and an answer sheet which comes with the next lesson.)
Let us refrain from worrying about the cares of our lives on this day; rather, we should keep our minds and thoughts on Yahweh as an act of worship, which takes mental discipline.
A Time for Family Growth
The Sabbath is a time to gather with brethren of like faith to remember Yahweh's goodness, to do good for others, and to have His laws bonded to us more firmly. It also is a time of family fellowship when a father and a mother instruct their children in the righteous ways of Yahweh.
Children brought up respecting the Sabbath and Yahweh's laws are happier, better disciplined, and morally healthy. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it," Proverbs 22:6. How true!
Enjoying Yahweh's creation—His flowers, grasses, and trees—all brings us back to the knowledge of His creative power. It is a time of spiritual and physical rejuvenation. An occasional Sabbath walk in nature brings out the joy of the Sabbath for young and old.
Some wonder about Acts 1:12, speaking of a limited Sabbath's day journey. This is, in fact, a Jewish custom and has no real Biblical admonition. However, travel on the Sabbath usually should be minimal. Many must travel with their families to a Sabbath service to fellowship.
When one is attempting to do Yahweh's will in this manner, it may be necessary to travel on the Sabbath to keep these days with other brethren.
Don't Make Others Work on the Sabbath
According to Amos 8:5 and Nehemiah 13:15-19, a person of Yahweh should not do any business on the Sabbath.
When you buy gasoline or food on the Sabbath, are you forcing someone else to work, (which would be a direct violation of the Fourth Commandment)?
The True Worshipper will do all he can to complete all shopping, house cleaning, etc. ahead of time. There are, however, some activities performed on the Sabbath that we have no control over. Usually the mail comes on the Sabbath. The power and gas company people normally have a minimal crew to keep lights on and heat in our homes on the weekends.
The point is, we should do as much as possible to ensure that others need not work on the Sabbath even as we rest. This would include calling a repairman (unless absolutely necessary) on the Sabbath, shopping, and eating in restaurants. Scripture commands that we do not do our own pleasure on the Sabbath, which, when you think about it logically, may cause others to work. We must try to do our best in deciding what is necessary and what would be acceptable to Yahweh on His day of worship.
While the Bible is not specific on do's and don'ts for the Sabbath—other than to rest, worship and study—we must always endeavor to keep the spirit of this holy day in any circumstance that may arise. The purpose of the Sabbath is to draw nearer to Yahweh, and we can do that only by adhering to Bible principles and by abstaining from worldly pursuits.
The Sabbath Still in Force Today
Many believe that the Fourth Commandment is "Jewish" and has been done away, but that the other nine commandments are still binding today. Some ministers tell you, "Don't kill, don't steal, don't commit adultery, but if you keep the Old Testament Jewish Sabbath you are denying Yahweh's grace and are trying to earn your salvation." We can't earn salvation, but we must qualify for it. We have shown that neither the Sabbath nor the nine other commandments are "Jewish." All are Yahweh's directions for all mankind, in all ages, observance of which qualifies us for salvation.
If you will read the book of Hebrews, you will be amazed at how it applies to us today. In chapter three, the writer quotes Yahweh and draws an interesting analogy between the Israelite nation and True Worshippers today: "Harden not your hearts as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, 'They do always err in their heart; and they have not known My ways.' So I swore in My wrath. They shall not enter into My rest," 8-11. We are further warned, "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living Elohim," verse 12. We are warned not to commit the same sins the Israelites committed under Moses.
In Hebrews 4, we are told that, although we are living in hope for eternal life, we can fall short just as the Israelites did. In this chapter, we are given the things we are to do in order to enter into the "rest" Yahweh has prepared for us. "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 unto us was the good news preached, as well as to them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, 'As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest': although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, and Elohim did rest the seventh day from all His works," verses 1-4. Verse 4 is a direct quotation from Genesis 2:2 and reminds us that the Sabbath was made by Yahweh for ALL His people.
If you have been told that the Sabbath commandment was not in the New Testament, you will be surprised by Hebrews 4:9-10. These verses make it clear that, if you want to inherit eternal life and enter into Yahweh's rest, you must cease from your work just as Yahweh did from His. "There remains therefore a rest [Greek—sabbathismos, "observance of the Sabbaths"] to the people of Yahweh. For he that is entered into His rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as Yahweh did from His."
Do you grasp Yahweh's meaning in these verses? If we observe any day of rest other than prescribed in Yahweh's Word, we do not rest as Yahweh did! Does this mean, then, that we are "earning our salvation" if we keep the Sabbath? In no way. Salvation is the gift of Yahweh, Ephesians 2:8, and there is nothing that we can do to earn it. However, we can abuse and lose this free gift if we are not obedient to Yahweh.
Grace does not do away with the soundness of obedience to the laws. In fact, the Apostle Paul explains that obedience is part of Yahweh's plan of salvation: "For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yahshua unto good works, which Yahweh has before ordained that we should walk in them," Ephesians 2:10. These good works which have been "before ordained" refer to nothing other than Yahweh's holy commandments. All through the centuries, there have been many True Worshippers who have remained true to the commandments. The Messiah kept Yahweh's commandments and He calls on His followers to keep those same commandments. Yahweh has identified His true followers in this "end of the age" in the book of Revelation. "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of Yahweh, and the faith of Yahshua," Revelation 14:12. Again in Revelation 12:17, we are told that Satan, who is angry at Yahweh's true followers, goes out "...to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of Yahweh, and have the testimony of Yahshua the Messiah."
Everyone Will One Day Keep the Sabbath Holy
The Sabbath is a memorial—a perpetual covenant between True Worshippers and their Creator, Exodus 31:16. By observing any other day, we put ourselves outside the promise and blessings of Yahweh's day of rest. The Sabbath shall be restored everywhere in the coming Kingdom of Yahweh, as noted in 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, says Yahweh." The Sabbath has always been, is today and forever shall be set aside and sanctioned by Yahweh as His day of rest and communion between mankind and Himself.
There is not a single verse in the entire Bible that declares that the Sabbath (the seventh day of the week—Saturday) has ever been done away or changed. The so-called "Lord's Day" has been handed to us by mother Babylon as "sun-day." Nowhere does the Bible say the first day of the week is holy or that Yahshua rose from the tomb on Sunday. Actually, He was put to death and buried on a Wednesday afternoon and He rose on Sabbath afternoon, just before sunset. By His own mouth, Yahshua said that He was Master of the (seventh-day) Sabbath, Mark 2:27-28. He worshipped on the Sabbath, Luke 4:16. When He returns to earth, Yahshua will require all mankind to come and worship on the Sabbath. The "creation" will no longer be given the license to pollute the Creator’s true day of worship.
Yahshua is coming back to rule with a rod of iron, Revelation 2:27. If you are called to be a king and a priest (Revelation 1:6), do you think that you can rightfully assist the Messiah in enforcing the weekly Sabbath if you have not observed it yourself? Only those who have kept Yahweh’s true Sabbath will be qualified to judge others in their observance of it.
Those who practice paganism have kept "the venerable day of the sun" from time immemorial. Has Yahweh become so accustomed to their keeping of "sun-day" that He will change His mind and allow us this indulgence? Will He be pleased with our observance of days that Scripture says are an abomination? Your Bible says, "I am Yahweh, I change not," Malachi 3:6. If you are not keeping Yahweh's Sabbath, it is time to begin. Show the Eternal Creator that you are one of His true followers. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear Elohim and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man," Eccl. 12:13.
The Basics of Sabbath Obedience
Many of us have been guilty of keeping Sunday as a day of worship. We have attended Sunday church services with others who observed the first day of the week. For many of us, it became a way of life, and we looked forward to Sunday as a break in the routine of living.
When we realized that the seventh day of the week was the proper day to worship, we simply transferred our Sunday activities to Saturday. We were accustomed to going to services on Sunday morning and then doing whatever we desired in the afternoon. We could go and do whatever we wished on Sunday as long as we spent an hour at the church. But once we understood that keeping the Sabbath was different from observing the venerable day of the sun, we took a hard look at what Yahweh was saying about the Sabbath.
As a holy time set apart by Yahweh, when does the Sabbath begin and end? How do we as human beings keep a special day set aside by the great Creator Who has said we are to keep a day holy that He Himself has made holy?
Man, with all his carnal problems and transitory nature, can indeed draw nearer to his Creator by observing a special day and by following the way laid down for us by Yahweh. Leviticus 23:3 tells us that the Sabbath is a holy convocation. It is commanded that all people gather that day. Hebrews 10:25 warns New Testament people not to neglect to assemble as the end of the age approaches. Thereby we have fellowship with the Father and the Son as we gather in worship.
Yahshua tells us in Mark 2:27 that the Sabbath was given for our good. The Sabbath was made so that we might be perfected spiritually and made more like Yahweh's Son as we study and worship on the seventh day. The Sabbath was not given to be a yoke of bondage. It was designed for our physical renewal and to give us time to spiritually connect with our Creator. It is a blessing to mankind—not a burden! A spiritual "renewing of our minds" can be achieved when we actually, physically, keep the Sabbath each week.