WHEN IS THE SABBATH?

11th June 2012 by Bill Davis

I have had a number of people ask me about when the “Sabbath” is and how is it to be “remembered”. Scripture clearly teaches us that the Sabbath is a special day between God and man.

Exodus 31:16-17 New Living Translation (NLT); “The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day by observing it from generation to generation. This is a covenant obligation for all time. It is a permanent sign of My covenant with the people of Israel. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He stopped working and was refreshed.’”

 Deuteronomy 5:12-14 New Living Translation (NLT); “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work.”

 God wanted the Israelites to remember their time of slavery and their deliverance from Egypt. They often were a forgettable and ungrateful group. As we move into the New Testament, there is a move away from strict adherence to the tradition of the Sabbath.

Mark 3:1-6 New International Version (NIV) “Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched Him closely to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, ‘Stand up in front of everyone.’ Then Jesus asked them, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.”

Colossians 2:16-17 New International Version (NIV) “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”

Paul was trying to teach us a freedom from human rules while adhering to a dedication to Christ’s rules.

 Romans 14:4a-6 New International Version (NIV); “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.”

 Throughout scripture, it is apparent the Sabbath was established for the people of Israel. It is further apparent that the Sabbath was observed throughout Old Testament times on Saturday. Many Biblical scholars believe the early church began meeting on Sundays soon after Christ rose from the dead, in honor of His Resurrection which took place on a Sunday. Others think Emperior Constantine mandated the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday in A.D. 321. I find it somewhat difficult to believe early Christians would adhere to a mandate of Constantine while Jesus Christ and Paul were such teachers of freedom from religious acts.

What is most important is not the day you worship but to worship God. We should not worship God just on Saturday or Sunday, but every day. Interestingly, Acts 2:46 tells us that many of the early Christians met every day.

Acts 2:46 New International Version (NIV) “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”  

Bill Davis

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