I dread posting this question, because I have discussed it SO much with SO many and there is never resolution. Maybe that is most questions. I don’t understand why Biblical Christians do not worship on Sabbath instead of Sunday. I know why the day was changed, I understand people just say “my Sabbath is Sunday”, but that’s not quite right. So much in the Old Testament is discarded by the modern Christian and I don’t see where that was the case. That wasn’t the point of Christ coming. Christ did not come to change what instituted sin he came to change how it was paid for. Sabbath is as my shiver part of the 10 commandments as do not murder, and talked about repeatedly in the books of prophecy. I think of Jacob and Esau, that even though he sought it with tears Esau could not get the blessing back once it was given to Jacob. God blessed a specific day, and I want to rest on that day with him. I am sure that God still rests on the Sabbath, just as Christ still kept the Sabbath in his death and laid in the tomb. I’m not a legalist and everything that people accused one of when they actually want to obey God’s law, but effort counts. How do we love God? By keeping His commands. ( John 14:15, John 8:31-32, 1 Peter 1:22) Just a few references correlating obedience to love too many sabbath references to count… I see a small move of people getting back to worshiping on the sabbath so that is encouraging.
Hello, @Sacredbones37! This is a very fascinating question, and I’m actually more curious to hear more of your perspective.
As far as Sabbath goes, you wrote that you keep the 7th day (Saturday) because…
I’m curious how you understand God ‘resting’…and, thus, you resting with him? What does God rest from when He rests?
And similarly, how do you understand God ‘blessing’ a specific day? Where does that come from and what does it look like?
Not interrogating; just curious. We’re glad you’ve joined this community!
@Sacredbones37 Wow, I really sense that you want to obey God and that is so encouraging I believe that if you feel that the only way to honor God is to worship on certain day then by all means do so. I believe God will be honored if you are seeking to honor Him through obedience.
This issue was huge in the early Church. Some Jews accused Christians of not keeping the law. In Acts 15, we see exactly how the apostles dealt with this exact issue. And in Galatians, we see how the apostle Paul handled it.
I think what we will find if we study the Bible in detail is this: God’s definition of sin did not change, but the terms of God’s covenant with His people did change. God established a new covenant, built on better promises. As it says in Hebrews 8:13 - “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”
I’ve provided some more details on how, in the New Covenant, Christ is our Sabbath rest and one way of understanding how the laws of the OT do or do not apply to the Christian.
Acts 15:4-11 - When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some of the believers from the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the law of Moses!”
Then the apostles and the elders assembled to consider this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them: “Brothers, you are aware that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the gospel message and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them by giving the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now then, why are you testing God by putting a yoke on the disciples’ necks that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way they are.”
Galatians 5:2-6 - Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Christ Our Sabbath Rest
As NT believers, Christ is our Sabbath rest . We are no longer required to observe the Sabbath. However, we should also respect the conscious of those who still feel compelled to do so.
Romans 14:5 - 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.
Colossians 2:16-17 - 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. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Believers are not obligated to observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the sign of the Mosaic covenant. The Mosaic covenant and the Sabbath as the covenant sign are no longer applicable now that the new covenant of Jesus Christ has come. Believers are called upon to honor and respect those who think the Sabbath is still mandatory for believers. But if one argues that the Sabbath is required for salvation, such a teaching is contrary to the gospel and should be resisted forcefully. In any case, Paul makes it clear in both Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16–17 that the Sabbath has passed away now that Christ has come.
Which Laws Still Apply?
There are 3 types of law in the OT - ceremonial (laws for the priests and purification of the people), judicial/civil (for the earthly kingdom of Israel) and moral (laws based upon God’s nature and eternally binding). When Jesus’ died on the cross, He put an end to the ceremonial and judicial law - He is our High Priest and King - we live a new life by the Spirit and not by the letter of the law. Our purity is not through sacrifices of goats and bulls, but once and for all by the blood of the Son of God.
“There exists a three-fold division of the law — ceremonial, judicial/civil and moral. The civil and ceremonial law are no longer applicable to us today, while the moral law — which is not culturally contingent — is indeed universally binding.”
Here is some information just for the sake of showcasing differing opinions on this topic. The following is an excerpt from “God’s Appointed Times” by Barney Kasdan.
“Some Christians might call Sunday the “Christian Sabbath”; however, this is technically incorrect. Sunday is never called the Sabbath in the Bible . In fact, the word “Sunday” never appears in the original text of the Scriptures. It is called “the first day of the week”(see Matthew 28:1 and 1 Corinthians 16:2, NIV). This is the biblical way of reckoning days of the week. All days are counted in relationship to Shabbat (first day, second day, etc.), giving further evidence of the centrality of this day to Jewish people.”
Here is also a link to the prophetic meaning of the Sabbath from One For Israel Ministry.
You might also be interested in the following Messianic Jewish books.
-“God’s Appointed Times” by Barney Kasdan (As mentioned above)
-The Complete Jewish Study Bible
Hi Melody, i’m glad you are here. I have vacillated back and forth on the question you raise, since i was once a Seventh Day Adventist. Hope i don’t cause a bunch of controversy or confusion here…
I see what you may be seeing, that the “top 10”, the Ten Commandments were written by the Hand/Finger of God directly on stone (twice, since the first set of stone carvings were destroyed by Moses). These tablets were put into the Ark of the Covenant (under the Mercy Seat), indicating their pernament nature, while the “Mosaic Law” was written on parchment and put on the outside of the Ark, indicating their temporary nature.
When Christ died on the Cross, He ended the sacrificial and ceremonial law, the Mosaic Law, but He didn’t put an end to the 10 Commandments, He fulfilled or filled-full them; they are still in effect. We won’t be stealing or lieing or commiting adultery or coveting, etc, in the soon-coming Kingdom of God. They are eternal directions.
So where does that leave the 4th Commandment? Well, i have a current “resolution”, which i admit could be a rationalization pending further revelation. But here it is, anyway.
I often, not perfectly, remember the Sabbath Day, and that it is holy (meaning set apart by God). And i remember that my righteousness is “filthy rags” apart from Christ. And that He is now "my REST’, even as He said He was/is.
So, in a certain sense “every day is a Sabbath Day”, in Him. Even when we are working, we are to be letting Him work through us, not doing our own work, apart from Him, in our own strength. And we need to let Him direct us, Sabbath by Sabbath, whether He wants us to do something for/with Him or refrain from all work and just spend time with Him.
And yet there is no reason at all, Scripturally, why Believers can’t worship on Sunday, or rest on Sunday, or ignore Sunday all together. So let’s allow Him to direct our activities on every day, including Sabbath, and He will show us what He wants on any particular day, especially a 7th Day.
Yeah, i know, it’s a bit weak, but it’s the best i have for now. Got any feedback about these ramblings? Thanks, if you do.
I appreciate you taking time to answer! We agree with the fact that Christ came to change how sin was paid for. I still think doing our best is a requirement of proof of salvation. Yes, salvation only is through Christ. But I see no evidence STRICTLY SCRIPTURAL that Sabbath was done away with like the more strict ceremonial and judicial laws. It is still part of the 10 commandments constituting the basis of Gods law. They still kept the Sabbath in Acts and after Christ’s resurrection so in that alone keeping the Sabbath (as BEST as we can obey ANY law) still stands. Saying Christ is our Sabbath could be the same as “Christ is my honesty” and then not being accountable to tell the truth AS BEST AS YOU CAN. In the end, God judges the heart which is a great thing…but keeping the law as best as you can brings you closer to knowing God and is your sanctification not salvation. Keeping the law was the foundation of be ye holy for I am holy found in Leviticus and repeated in 1 Peter. It’s just now we are not stoned to death for sins because Christ came. Ugh…so many words. Lol. Thanks for your perspective SeanO and the effort to reply. That’s really kind.
I agree with everything you said summarizing Sabbath at the beginning. I think you get it. I think we have a hard time accepting certain clear cut ways to obey God and defer to “grace” as a means to choose our obedience. But I also know God is working with different truths with different people at different times. Maybe the basis of loss of miracles or loss of faith is related to a loss of obedience we see valiantly displayed in the new and old testament alike. God is the same. I don’t think it is a salvation issue per say, like SDA believe to an extent, but would continuing in ANY sin be characteristic of a true disciple? I just want to be more accountable for MYSELF. Not judge others. But this Sabbath issue seems so clear once the “ah ha” moment hits, and I find no evidence IN SCRIPTURE that it doesnt matter just because Christ came. But I would do well t ok be as diligent with respect for my parents, or being patient and kind, so I understand it’s not the OK…ONLY law, but it’s still part of it. Thanks so much for your reply DeanW!
I really like your heart, Melody. I strive (imprefectly, of course, like everyone else) for the same things. But i think i may be weaker than you. I have been delivered from a long-term highly chemically-dependent pre-Christ lifestyle. (Lots of addictions, lots of patience by Him.)
So He is still healing me, (sometimes slowly, sometimes more rapidly) and i have many areas which need to be more fully freed by His grace. And that brings me back to the Sabbath question.
Here’s the real reason why i don’t currently keep it : when i am concentrating heavily on my “keeping the Sabbath”, i become more self-righteous. Whenever i think i am doing it pretty well, i subtly judge others that they are not. (That judging may be just as bad as not keeping it at all.)
Like the pharisees, i establish my personal guidelines for how to obey the Commandment. For example, can we go to a restaurant on Saturday? I have sometimes said no. That is resting from doing work on the Sabbath, in a way, but it causes other people to have to work on the day.
I think you understand what that kind of restriction on our lives can lead to – extraordinary judgementalism, condemning self-righteousness, and less attractiveness to unBelievers who feel guilty enough without my adding more rules (and thereby their rule-breaking) to their lives.
Then there is the passage i am sure you have dealt with multiple times, as i have:
"4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God."
I would imagine that you do not apply this passage to Sabbath-keeping, since Paul would have kept the Sabbath regularly as a “good Jew” (which all Christians were originally). Yet, there are implications. I’ll look at one.
A real question to answer on this subject is what if God has given us abilities and opportunities and inspiration to perform works of mercy on the 7th Day. Like working as a nurse in a hospital where sometimes weekend duty is required? Is doing good on the Sabbath not “keeping” it? Jesus / Yeshua seemed quite clear on this
Yes, i know, we would want to look for other jobs in this case, if available, yet does this mean we can never do works of mercy on the Sabbath because we are being paid for it? I doubt that either of us would think that.
Which brings me back to the underlying point of both the Commandment and the Romans passage. We are to remember the Sabbath, and know that God set it apart (made it holy). So if we have to do any “work” then, we should be sure our Heavenly Dad is directing us, and the Son of Righteousness is empowering us, to do it. And also not judge others who do not see it that way.
Big task, isn’t it… Thanks for making me think it over again. Now i have to do some more praying and meditationg on it. Good job, Melody! …
Just a quick couple of thoughts which may or may not be helpful. We do have Christ saying that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So, that is an interesting reversal in the thinking of the time. You would have thought Christ would say that Sabbath was for God, it is his day and man ought to honor it. But, in Christ’s explication of the Sabbath he doesn’t bring God into it.
Further, we see Christ extending the ten commandments in the NT. Now, murder is not simply the physical murder of someone, it is a condition of the heart. Now, adultry isn’t a physical act, it is a condition of the heart. I wonder if the same could be said now. The Sabbath isn’t about a day, it is about the condition of the heart. We live in God’s Sabbath as a state of being rather than the concentration and obligation of a day to commit to God. We die and take up our cross daily, we commit our whole lives to him. This to me seems to make sense of why we no longer have a commitment to a specific day just as we do not commit not to physically kill someone. It has gone beyond that in the NT.
Would love to hear your thoughts further. This is an interesting question.
Late reply. I don’t get on that much lol. I think Christ was addressing the heart of people who ONLY focused on keeping the law but had hypocrisy in their heart. Committing murder in your heart (or adultery) does not lessen actually murdering someone or having an adulterous affair. In the same vein it does not make Sabbath less special or commanded by God, it merely makes the spirit behind keeping it the focus. Observing the Sabbath with gratitude and joy can still be at least attempted while keeping the Spirit of Christ supreme in being a servant and showing love in whatever way or whatever day the Spirit would lead you. If people argue not to keep the Sabbath because they are truly out feeding the homeless or ministering to orphans that would be amazing. But sadly, I think more people would make that argument to be “off the hook” for keeping that law. I dont keep it perfectly, but I would love to…and keep praying to honor God with it. The law is beautiful and shows how awesome God is…it should be a treasure like Salvation…not a system of rules to get around. It’s hard to explain this accurately without sounding legalistic I guess. The psalms is great in that way…David loves the law and talks about it with such devotion, sweeter than honeycomb. Long winded I guess…but I dont think Christ came to minimize our responsibility of obedience, but wants to challenge us to OBEY with joy and love, in Spirit and truth. Just my thoughts…
Hello, Melody, if you are still here on Connect. I took another look at this topic, and an idea formed in my mind (spirit?).
I wonder if RZIM would let us have a new topic called something like “Sabbath-lovers explorations”. For those who have an attraction/fascination for finding the “heart of the 4th Commandment”.
No self-righteousness allowed. No guilt-tripping people who don’t want to “keep the Sabbath”. No adding new rules to the Books’ directions. Just sharing Scriptures and writings and developing insights on the topic.
All on Friday sunset thru Saturday sunset, as much as possible. What say ye? Maybe there are others who would be attracted to a Sabbath-sharing on-line group, (hopefully) full of grace and truth.
Looking forward to your response. Or feedback from anyone else interested.
And we can still go to church on Sunday, of course.
@DeanW I love this idea. I think the truth would speak for itself. What a neat idea!
Fantastic, sacred-bones! Glad you are open to it. So how about this Friday night, we swap one of the best things we have accumulated on the Sabbath?
Any moderator reading this? Do you see any problem if we opened a new topic, something like “Sabbath-lovers exchange”? [Focused on info interchanges Friday sundown until Saturday sundown.]
No guilt-tripping, no self-righteousness, no attempts to convert anyone to rule-keeping, etc. Just trying to see if YHWH-Yahshua might encourage us to love His chosen rest-day, or leads us to consider it just another day of the week.
There may be other folks here at Connect who are looking at this same question. Thanks, either way.