Is The Sabbath On Saturday?
Welcome to Bible Question and Answer, our bi-weekly series where we provide Bible verses, answers and advice to the questions and concerns you have. During the course of the last two weeks readers have submitted their questions and today we are going to answer one of them.
Name: Michael Conway
Question: I enjoy your daily emails and thank you for them, especially when shedding current events with Scripture. This caught my eye about Sunday sermons. This verse sticks with me after reading it 1 John 2:4 He that says I know Him, and keeps not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. I don’t find anywhere in scripture where the 4th commandment (weekly Sabbath) was changed from the 7th day of the week to the 1st day of the week Sunday. Can you show where this occurred?
Thank You from Michael Conway and you can email me directly at (withheld) if you prefer. I realize this may be a sensitive topic. Thank You!
Name: Brandon T. Ward
Answer: Thank you for the question Michael and you are very welcome. We thank our Father for His Blessings.
This is a subject we have covered many times in the past. However, I feel it is an important subject due to false teaching so we are going to cover it again and go a bit deeper than we have in the past. We are going to break this down into sections of various thought. So please hang tight and read along as the case is Biblically documented.
What Is The Sabbath Day?
During Creation, our Father created the heavens, earth and all that is contained within them in six days. On the seventh day, God rested from His Work, (Genesis 1:1-2:3).
Our Father designated this day as the day of rest so that we could cease from our own works. To provide us with a day of rest so that we could reflect on what He has done for us. This seventh day is known as the Sabbath Day, being one day of rest out of seven.
What Is The First Day Of The Week?
That all depends on who you ask these days.
The international and business community mark the first day of the week as Monday, while others say it is Sunday. So we should understand, within just the modern era and between different cultures, dates have changed. Now imagine how much they have changed since the days of Creation…
Understanding that, how can we as Christians be 100% certain the seventh day of the week is Saturday, Sunday or any other day of the week for that matter?
The Bible does not have “Saturday” or “Sunday” to mark its calendar and Biblical dating and calendars are contested by many in the Christian community, so there is no consensus.
So how then do we ensure that we do right by our Heavenly Father?
By using common sense and critical thinking when we study the Scriptures.
Before we move forward, everyone should understand, God is not going to punish one of His Children for their true and righteous efforts in following His Word to the best of their ability. God is a heart knower, He is just and He is fair, (Acts 15:8, Psalms 25:8).
What Is A Day?
Naturally, a day is a 24 hour period of time marked by one revolution of the earth from sunrise to sunrise. This revolution brings us day and night, the sun ruling the day and the stars and moon ruling the night. That is how mankind calculates a day, but what about our Father?
Were the six “days” of Creation “days” as we think of them?
I do not believe so.
Scripture tells us the lights in the firmament, the sun, moon and stars were not created until the fourth day, (Genesis 1:14-19). So how can we believe four days, four 24 hour periods of time, the rising and setting of the sun occurred when the sun, stars and moon were not yet in place to mark the day’s calculation?
I believe the seven days in Genesis 1-2 are calculated using God’s Days and we know “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” (2 Peter 3:8).
Simply stated, one of God’s Days is a thousand years to us. So I believe each of the days mentioned in Genesis 1-2 represents a one thousand year period, not a single 24 hour period of time.
Regardless of ones belief here, my point is simple, we cannot be 100% certain what day is truly the seventh day of the week. The seventh day is simply a marker for us, one day out of seven should be our rest.
Why Do We Worship On Sunday?
Christians typically worship on Sunday (first day of the week) as that is the day Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior resurrected here on earth after He was crucified, (Mark 16:9). Many of us mark this day to honor Him and choose to take our Sabbath on this day.
This is not a sin, it does not break our Father’s Law. Unfortunately, those who teach otherwise have distorted the Truth and brought false teaching into the church. I will document that statement in the next section.
To further document the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Sunday, I encourage you to review the following Appendixes from the Companion Bible.
Jesus Broke The Sabbath
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ always led by example, He is the example we are to follow. With that, we should always take note of His actions and understand why He performed them.
Now it is certainly true, in times of old (before Christ) no one was supposed to work on the Sabbath Day. They were to take the day off, rest from their work and enjoy their lives, reflecting on our Father.
However, the Sabbath Day was fulfilled when Jesus Christ came in the flesh and was crucified for our sins. In fact, it was Jesus Christ who broke (fulfilled), if you will, the Sabbath Day. He did nothing wrong, He had the power to do so as we will document.
Please turn your Bible with me to,
10 “And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.”
Christ was teaching on the Sabbath Day. That is a work.
11 “And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.”
This woman had been possessed by an evil spirit for 18 years.
12 “And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.”
13 “And He laid His hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.”
Take note here.
Jesus Christ is not only teaching on the Sabbath Day, but He heals this woman and cleanses her as well. Christ just broke the Sabbath.
Did He sin?
Christ was given all power in Heaven and earth, (Matthew 28:18, Mark 2:28).
14 “And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.”
This so called “ruler of the synagogue” and his “religious” friends hated Christ and wanted to “destroy Him,” (Matthew 12:14, Luke 19:47). They merely took this opportunity to accuse Him and it back fired on them.
Think about it, we have this woman who has been spiritually ill for 18 years and Christ heals her in the blink of an eye. An obvious miracle, and these “men of the cloth” want to accuse Christ of a sin against God as Christ performed this miracle on the Sabbath Day?
Things are not so different today, are they?
15 “The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?“
Christ is far wiser than these so called teachers. While calling out Christ for performing “good” on the Sabbath Day, they left out the fact that they tend to their animals on the Sabbath Day, (Luke 6:7-11). Obviously, a work which they were not supposed to perform.
The lesson Christ provided is one we should not forget.
How many in the religious community today say you should not work on the Sabbath Day, and then perform duties themselves that certainly constitute as work?
Are those same people hypocrites as well?
Do these same people starve on the Sabbath Day?
When you get right down to it, preparing a meal is work, whether it is hot or cold. Gathering and serving the food is work, throwing your plate away or cleaning them is work as well.
Let us continue in the book of Luke.
16 “And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?”
17 “And when He had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.”
With each miracle, Christ fame continued to grow and you can see why.
Now, who is going to tell Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God that He sinned for healing on the Sabbath Day?
The answer is no one, Christ had the power and Christ is sinless, (2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15).
Who can possibly believe then, that a specific day, the seventh or otherwise is the specific day we must cease from our works?
I want you to remember, the healing by Christ on the Sabbath Day was not a one off. Christ healed yet another time on the Sabbath Day and He also allowed His Disciples to pick corn on the Sabbath as well, (Mark 3:1-6, Matthew 12:1-8).
Why would He do this?
Jesus Became Our Sabbath
Remember, Christ is our example. He laid it out for us and has made it clear that He fulfilled the Sabbath Day, to believe otherwise would indicate Christ not only sinned, but He led His Disciples into sin as well.
Yet we know, Christ is sinless and He is perfect in all of His ways.
Let us look at another example as we continue this study.
Christ became our Passover Lamb, His Blood was shed so we could obtain forgiveness due to our sins, true forgiveness and due to that we no longer have to shed the blood of animals, (Hebrews 10:1-4). All Christians understand that.
Likewise, Christ became our Sabbath, fulfilling the Law. This does not remove the Law, but it certainly does fulfill it, (Matthew 5:17-18).
Please turn your Bible with me and listen to what Christ tells the Pharisees.
27 “And He said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:”
Man was not made for the Sabbath Day, but the Sabbath Day was made for man.
To provide us with a day of much needed rest.
We should understand, during Biblical times the Word of God was essentially the government, it was the authority, it was the ruling ideal, it was not a religion, but the way the nation should be ruled. Therefore it was our Father who provided us with the Sabbath Day so that we could cease from our work. We are not in bondage to the Sabbath Day, it is there for us, to honor us, to give us rest. Always remember that.
28 “Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”
Just as Jesus Christ became our Passover, He became our Sabbath.
He fulfilled the Sabbath by becoming it. Just as He removed blood sacrifice, the statues and ordinances that were “contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross,” (Colossians 2:14).
Christ fulfilling the Sabbath is why the Scriptures state,
16 “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:”
We are not to judge one another concerning the Sabbath Day.
Is it today, tomorrow, two days from now and so on. One man may take his rest today and another tomorrow and that is perfectly in line with our Father’s Word.
17 “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
The Sabbath day was simply a shadow of things to come, specifically a shadow of Christ. Once Christ come to earth and was crucified for us, He fulfilled many of the statues and ordinances that were contrary to us.
We Take Our (Sabbath) Rest In Christ
What is our rest today?
It is Jesus Christ, He is our rest as the Scriptures declare. We must be in Him, His Word in order to obtain any resemblance of (spiritual) rest. Without Him and His Word we will never have any peace within our souls.
Why do I say that?
Hebrews 3 explains to us, the Israelites who refused God and fell away from His Word during their Exodus from Egypt essentially had “unbelief”. Had they truly believed in God they would have never fell away from His instruction as it was laid out by Moses.
Due to that, the rebellious Israelites did not enter into God’s Rest, His promised land. Instead, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until they died off due to their sin, due to their “unbelief”.
We are now going to pick up our reading in Hebrew 4.
1 “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.”
We should “fear” (Strong’s: G5399) or “revere“, better said, “respect” God and His Promise of Rest. We should remain faithful and firm in our belief of Him otherwise we fall short as many of the Israelites did in the wilderness. We can fall short when we fail to believe and honor His Word, which means we fall short of His Promise of Rest.
“We which have believed do enter into rest,” (Hebrews 4:3). When we accept Christ into our heart, mind and soul we have accepted Him and enter into His Rest.
9 “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”
There remains a rest for those who believe in our Father. This rest is not only physical, but spiritual as well.
10 “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.”
Hebrews has clearly laid it out for us. Those of us who retain our belief in God have obtained His Promise as outlined in Hebrews 4:1. The promise of entering into His Rest. When we enter His Rest it means we have ceased from our works, just as God did from His. It means we are obeying and keeping the Sabbath just as our Father commanded us.
We enter His Rest by communing with our Father and His Son through the Holy Spirit. We can accomplish this through diligent study of the Bible and prayer.
11 “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
Whose example of unbelief?
The Israelites who wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. They did not obtain the promise due to their “unbelief“, they did not enter into His Rest and for that cause they did not enter into the promised land.
The Scriptures tell us we must labor to enter into His Rest. We must work hard both spiritually and physically studying His Word, maintaining our “belief” in Him. When we do this we enter His Rest and we obtain the Promise that leads to Eternal Life.
As we have documented in this study, Jesus Christ Himself and having the power to do so, fulfilled the Sabbath Day by becoming it. Today, we are no longer in bondage to a specific and single day, instead, we take our rest in Christ as often as we desire and we can do that through study of the Scriptures and prayer. This rest is simply, one day out of seven days.
It is up to each one of us to be a responsible and truthful Christian, unlike the “ruler of the synagogue”. We need to ensure it is the Word’s of Christ we teach and honor instead of church doctrine.
Christians should not be placed on guilt trips because they go to church on a different day than another Christian, nor does it make them a sinner and violator of God’s Law. Remember, as Christians, we are to lift one another up, we are one body in Jesus Christ, our Eternal King who reigns forever.
28 “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
29 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”