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What Day Is Considered The Sabbath Day In The Bible

What Activities Constitute Work

Which Day is the Sabbath? Does the Bible Tell Us?

In the years after the temple was rebuilt following the exile , scribes and rabbis studied the words of Scripture, interpreting every detail. What kinds of work could be allowed on the Sabbath within the Law? For example, according to the Law, no work was to be done on the Sabbath, so that meant burdens were not to be carried on that day. So scholars debated what constituted a burden. On the surface, the scribes had good reasons for interpreting the Law carefully since they did not want anyone to break it inadvertently. But their interpretations increasingly emphasized external adherence to the Law rather than cultivating an attitude of submission before God. Obeying their own interpretations became a source of pride instead of an expression of love for God.

Jesus healings on the Sabbath enraged the religious teachers who classified healing as work and therefore prohibited it . He revealed the rabbis hypocrisy with his response.

The Pharisees said to him, Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath? answered, Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.

Then he said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.

The Old Testament Repeatedly Commanded Sabbath Observance

This was taught, not just indirectly, but by direct commands and direct statements.

Exodus 20:8 -10 – Remember the Sabbath … keep it holy … you shall do no work

Deuteronomy 5:1,12-15 – … be careful to observe them … observe the Sabbath day … keep it holy … you shall not do any work … the Lord you God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day

Exodus 31:13-16 – Surely my Sabbaths you shall keep … You shall keep the Sabbath … keep the Sabbath … observe the Sabbath

Exodus 34:21 – Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest

Exodus 35:1-3 – …words which the Lord has commanded you to do … whoever does any work on shall be put to death … you shall kindle no fire on the Sabbath day

Leviticus 19:3 – Every one of you shall … keep My Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 19:30 – You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 23:3 -You shall do no work on it it is the Sabbath of the Lord

Leviticus 26:2 – You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD.

Jeremiah 17:19-22 – Don’t work on the Sabbath, as God commanded your fathers.

Where does even one such command or direct statement tell anyone to keep the Sabbath today? If is still binding, why are there no such direct commands in the New Testament?

Numbers 28:9,10 – The burnt offering for every Sabbath day was two lambs, etc.

2 Chronicles 24:2 – The burnt offerings on the Sabbaths are an ordinance forever.

Do not buy or sell

Refrain From Unnecessary Activities On The Sabbath

For the Lords Day to provide us with worship and fellowship, we must actually commit ourselves to rest for the day. As much as possible, we should refrain from any activitiesbe they work, recreation, or anything in betweenthat inhibit resting in God and with His people.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, How is the Sabbath to be sanctified? Its answer is as follows:

The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of Gods worship, except so much as is to be taken up in works of necessity and mercy.

Similarly, in answer to the question What is forbidden in the fourth commandment? it offers this explanation:

The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning of the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or our recreations.

Except in cases of piety, necessity, and mercy, Scripture gives no valid reason for professing Christians to work on the Lords Day. Its the prevailing influence of our secular culture, not Gods Word, that has normalized working without this day of rest and remembrance.

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Why Didnt The Apostles Worship On Sunday

Actually, the Apostles did worship at church on Sunday.

There is some confusion when it comes to the Apostles going to the synagogues on a Saturday.

If they were there to worship the Lord, then wouldnt it be suitable for modern-day Christians to rest and worship the Lord on Saturday, too?

Well, the Apostles indeed attended the synagogues on Saturday.

But while they were at the synagogues, these Apostles-most of whom were Jewish- were not there for a church service.

While they were in attendance, they were there solely for missionary trips -to explain to their fellow Jews the reality of Christs resurrection.

This was the best place to share the gospel message with sincere Jews who were following the Law by attending synagogue on the Sabbath.

It was the perfect place to explain that Jesus Christ fulfilled the promises of the Mosaic law and the many Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament.

This act is made clear in Acts 13:42-44 , where the scripture states:

As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told to them the next Sabbath. After the synagogue meeting broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

The next Sabbath, almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.

So, the answer is clear: apostles were not at the Synagogue to worship.

They worshipped on Sunday, as most Christians do today.

Which Day Is The Sabbath

Saturday Or Sunday? What Is The True Sabbath Day?  Bible ...

Some people are convinced that Sunday, the first day of the week, is the Biblical Sabbath. Others believe that Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is the Sabbath.> > Get your free Bible guide: The Sabbath: The Secret of Heavenly Rest

Lets take an in-depth look at this topic and examine the facts about what day is the Sabbath of the Bible. According to the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath is located on the seventh day of the week. Exodus 20:8-10 says the following, Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. At creation God also rested and declared the seventh day holy .

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What Can You Do On Shabbat Day

Now we know what day the Sabbath day is and when it starts lets look at how the Most High expects us to keep it and some of the questions surrounding it.

Lets start with the relevant scripture.

Exodus 20:8-11

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

When we read this scripture in isolation, it can appear to be saying that the only requirement is not to work on the Sabbath Day, but there is more to it.

Heres an example of what Israel was commanded to do when preparing for the Sabbath, after they collected Manna which fell from the sky as food:

Exodus 16:22-24

What we are shown here is that Israel were told to gather twice as much Manna on the sixth day, so it would last two days to account for the Sabbath day.

When Jewish People Traditionally Practice Sabbath

In one of my favorite books on the subject, American rabbi Abraham Heschel writes:

There are really two kinds of Shabbat experiences: those of the fall and winter months, when the Sabbath begins around four oclock on Friday afternoons and ends around five oclock on Saturday, and those of the spring and summer, when the Sabbath starts at eight or eight-thirty and ends at nine oclock or even later. In the winter months, our Friday nights continued long after dinner as my parents sat at the table, drinking tea and reading. During the spring months, the long Shabbat afternoons became the peaceful and quiet focus of the day.

For him and the lives of countless other Jewish people, the Sabbath is a holy time that starts Friday sundown and ends on Saturday sundown, depending on daylight savings.

I appreciate the richness of Jewish culture where it is a culturally uniform expectation. It is an unspoken and celebrated aspect of being Jewish that extends thousands of years. In case you didnt know, Jewish people were visibly known for their practices, the Sabbath being one of them.

Josephus, a famous Jewish historian, even records that Jerusalem was captured by Ptolemy because he strategically waited until the Sabbath to attack. He knew that they would refuse to fight on the day of rest.

Whether you agree or disagree with their actions, I think such a reverence and commitment to a sacred practice is commendable.

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Understand The Opportunity Of The Sabbath

If we have already entered Gods rest in Christ, then why do we need to devote one day in seven to honoring this rest?

One answer, of course, is that doing so is the clear biblical pattern. Beyond that, though, we also know that God continually calls His people to manifest outwardly the spiritual reality that is already ours in Christ. We dont merely have holiness we exhibit it. We dont merely have joy in the Lord we show it. We dont merely possess rest we demonstrate it. The Lords Day is a grand opportunity to connect the spiritual reality of rest with how we live and to enjoy the abundance of the Lords rest with His people.

But thats not all. In Psalm 16:3, David proclaims, As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. Is this statement true of us? Do we take delight in the people of God? In our more honest moments, we know that we can be as difficult to get along with as anyone else. Thankfully, though, the gathering of Gods people on the Lords Day gives us an opportunity to forebear and express the same kindness and tenderness to each other that the Lord has shown us. In observing the Sabbath, we can delight in the saints as we take joy in Jesus Christ together.

Are The Ten Commandments Still Relevant Today

When is The Sabbath Day according to the Bible?

If something as important as the Ten Commandments were to change by even the smallest amount we would be told with crystal clear scriptures. Most Christians will not debate that nine of the Ten Commandments need to be obeyed but so many freely sweep one under the carpet that becomes too much of an effort for them. Denial of truth of any of the Ten Commandments has only one outcome as far as God is concerned and we do not want that path. Unless black and white scriptures can be produced that says the day has changed or been abolished, then the Sabbath is just as valid as the other nine Commandments and the consequences are the same for deliberately breaking any one of them. Does anyone believe they can freely murder as they please and still enter the kingdom of God?

So do all the Ten Commandments still stand or does the Bible indicate that we can live in wilful deliberate sin? We certainly are saved by Gods Grace through faith in Christ, but is this a license to continue in sin? Did Jesus die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin or so we could go on living in sin? What does the only source of truth that we can trust have to say on this very important topic that nailed our loving Saviour to the cross? Here are the answers put simply by scripture alone while covering the main areas of confusion.

Did Paul say we can sin now that we are under Grace which would therefore show the law had ended? Romans 6:1-2, Romans 6:14-15.

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What Are The Consequences For Not Keeping The Sabbath

The book of James tells us if we break one Commandment we have broken them all. So if the Sabbath is Saturday and if we are supposed to be keeping the true Sabbath day then most Christians are guilty of breaking Gods law. The Bible tells us that only a few will find the straight and narrow gate. Was this referring to Christians specifically?

Noah preached for 120 years that a great flood was coming and only 8 were saved. Jesus said that at the time of His second coming it is going to be like in the days of Noah. Why do we only acknowledge what we want to see? God pleads with us as to why we would perish.

Hosea prophesied that Gods people would perish for a lack of knowledge which does not sound fair but then he explains it is because they would reject knowledge in regards to the Commandments of God, so He in return would reject them. Considering how many people have rejected knowledge on the Sabbath Commandment, this sadly makes perfect sense.

Hebrews 10:26-29 says there is no sacrifice to cover wilful sin and it is to trample the Son of God underfoot and count the blood of the New Covenant as an unholy thing despite being under Gods grace. Jesus says to those who practice lawlessness, He will deny access to the kingdom. So if we are supposed to keep the Sabbath day and are ignorant of this fact, how will we be judged? Would God burn someone in Hell for being ignorant? What about denial?

Political And Religious Factors

By this time, the Christian Church had lost contact with its Jewish roots, and there was much hostility between Christians and Jews. Jewish Christians had been expelled from the synagogues as heretics ” rel=”nofollow”> John 9:22, , ). This hostility may have influenced Christians to abandon Sabbath observances. In about 363 A.D., a regional Church council in Asia Minor, the Council of Laodicea, declared that Christians must not rest on the Sabbath , but must work on that day, rather honoring the Lord’s Day .

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Sunday In The New Testament

The word “Sunday” does not even appear in literal Bible translations. We do find the phrase “first day of the week” in the New Testament, but this occurs just eight times. Five of those references describe Mary Magdalene and others coming to the tomb AFTER Christ’s resurrection. As we prove elsewhere in this booklet, Jesus was resurrected Saturday eveningNOT Sunday morning. So those references have nothing to do with observing the day of Christ’s resurrection!

In John 20:19, we read that on “the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.'” This was not a worship meeting celebrating the resurrection Scripture tells us that until they saw Him, they did not believe that Christ was risen! .

But even if this were talking about a day of the week, which day would it be? Remember what Jesus said: “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” . Also, the preincarnate Christ called the Sabbath “My holy day… the holy day of the Lord” . And in the fourth commandment, He said, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God” . Obviously, then, the seventh-day Sabbath is not our day. It iswithout questionthe Lord’s day! Weekly Sunday observance, therefore, has absolutely no biblical foundation.

A Prayer To Observe The Sabbath And Keep It Holy

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Lord of the Sabbath, I admit that I have not always observed the Sabbath as I should have. You created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. I should do the same. I acknowledge that you have a plan for me and that tomorrow’s workweek can wait. I know that no matter what happens, the tasks will get down if I steward my time well and observe periods of rest. Help me to withdraw from a workaholic mindset that my culture perpetuates. Although it is important to work hard and do everything as if I was working for you, I should also withdraw and rest in your presence as well. Jesus, you withdrew from the crowds to spend time to pray. May I do the same with my work and my work week. Amen.

Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 350 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column “Hope’s Hacks,” tips and tricks to avoid writer’s block, reaches 3,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young’s blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, released June 2019 and the sequel releases a year from now. Find out more about her here.

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