The Bible Sabbath

by Martin Barlow

The purpose of this booklet is to point out some important facts about the Word of God. The first and most important ingredients needed here is an open mind and a willing heart. The Christian's life should ever be one of willingness to change. God has promised to lead us in the paths of righteousness for His names sake. May we be willing to follow wherever He leads us. As always, I hope that you will pray and ask for God's Holy Spirit to be with you as you study His Word.

In entering our study here, let us first consider this text: Exodus 20:1-17 "And God spake all these words, saying, {2} I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. {3} Thou shalt have no other gods before me. {4} Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: {5} Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; {6} And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. {7} Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. {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. {12} Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. {13} Thou shalt not kill. {14} Thou shalt not commit adultery. {15} Thou shalt not steal. {16} Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. {17} Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."

This, of course, is the passage of Scripture where we find the Ten Commandments. Have you read them lately? Are you familiar with them? It is very important that God's faithful Christian people know the Ten Commandments.

There are many today among the churches, even among the preachers and teachers, who believe and teach that the Ten Commandments have been somehow done away with. They believe that these great laws were given for the Jewish people of the Old Testament, but not for the "New Testament" Christian. So the first thing we need to establish in this study is whether or not the Ten Commandments are still binding upon God's people.

In order to do this in a very concise way, we will see that the Ten Commandments are still taught in the New Testament. Virtually everyone agrees that the Ten Commandments are taught in the Old Testament, but some people have been led to think that they were done away with in the New Testament.

What did Jesus say about the Ten Commandments?

Jesus was very clear about His position on the Ten Commandment law of God. In Matthew 5:16-19 He says: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. {17} Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil (to complete, execute, do, fully preach [see Strong's Concordance G4137]). {18} 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 (notice that all will not be fulfilled until heaven and earth pass - this happens when the "new heaven" (the sky and atmosphere of this earth) and the "new earth are made by God [see Revelation 21:1]. {19} 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." Jesus promised that the Ten Commandments would not be altered or done away with as long as this world lasts!

Actually, the prophet Isaiah foretold about the coming of the Messiah in Isaiah 42:21 "The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable." Indeed, Jesus came during a time when the law was not honorable. The Pharisees of that day had made it into a round of meaningless ceremonies and difficult burdens. Jesus came and taught us that the Ten Commandment law was given to bless us. God's way is the best way, and if we follow Him, we will be happy and healthy. BUT remember that this is not a new principle, for we read in Deuteronomy 6:24 "And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day." Can't you see the happy, healthy life that God wants for us?

Did the Apostles Continue to Keep the Ten Commandments?

Aside from the gospels, which tell us of the work and words of Jesus, which we have already considered, there are only six authors of the New Testament. Most of this New Testament record is in the form of epistles, or letters, which were written to the new and struggling churches to help them straighten out problems that were arising.

By far, the most prolific writer of the New Testament was the apostle Paul. He wrote fourteen of the twenty-six books found there. Paul, too, makes his position very clear on the Ten Commandments. Please consider Galatians 3:10-13: "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. {11} But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. {12} And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. {13} Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"

In Paul's day, there was great confusion among the people over how much of the Jewish religion was to be incorporated into the newly forming Christian church. Some were given to one extreme of doing away with all of the Jewish religion, and others were given to the opposite extreme of thinking that they had to keep all the meticulous ceremonial laws, such as circumcision. Galatians chapter three is Paul's explanation of the delicate balance that is necessary to understanding this subject.

The Pharisees in Paul's day were very exacting in their teachings about the law. Paul points out that no one can be saved by keeping the law. The fact of the matter is that none of us can keep the law by ourselves. It is only through the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ given to us by faith that we can obey the great precepts of His Ten Commandments!

BUT, Paul continues in his teaching on this great subject. "Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." Galatians 3:21. AND, in Galatians 2:17 he says: "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid."

In the book of Romans, Paul makes another attempt at the same issue. There, you will find an ongoing discussion of the subject for several chapters. In Romans 3:20, Paul makes it plain that we cannot be saved by keeping the law: "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." If you will read the next few chapters, you will find that Paul teaches us that to be "under the law" means to be condemned by the law, but powerless to keep it. Of course, this is when we are by ourselves. But when we become Christians we are NOT by ourselves. Jesus comes into our heart and life. He forgives us of the past sins in our life, and gives us the power over temptation and sin. If we trust Him, He will give us victory over every temptation!

Finally, Paul makes the following statement which is very clear: "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. {15} What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." Romans 6:14-15.

The Apostle John Speaks

John had very much to say to us about the keeping of the Ten Commandments. Let's look at just a couple of them. In 1 John 2:1-6 "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: {2} And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. {3} And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. {4} He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. {5} But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. {6} He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." If we abide in Christ, we ought also to walk like Jesus walked!

At the very beginning of the Bible, we are told the story of sin's entrance into this world. Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden because they did not obey the express commandment of God. If you look in the last book of the Bible, The Revelation, and in the very last chapter of this book, you will find a very profound statement about the Ten Commandments: "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14. Only the faithful people who keep the Ten Commandments will go into the heavenly city and eat from the tree of life!

Since we have seen that the Ten Commandments are still to be kept and taught today, let's go back to our original text. Read over Exodus 20:1-17 again. Are YOU keeping God's Ten Commandment law? I hope and pray that you will take time to consider what you are reading here. This is not meant to condemn any person or church. But God has promised that He would raise up faithful people to "cry aloud and spare not;" to show His people their sins; and to repair the breaches in the wall, and restore the paths to dwell in.

"The Nine Commandments"

It is unfortunate, but most of the popular Christian churches today, only teach nine commandments. There is one commandment that has almost universally been forgotten. Notice the words of the fourth commandment: "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." Exodus 20:8-11

Almost all of the "Christian" churches of the world worship on Sunday. There are only a few that are "remembering" the seventh-day (Saturday) Bible Sabbath of the fourth commandment. If we are to keep the Ten Commandment law of God, and if it is a requirement for entering into the heavenly city, will it be sufficient to keep only nine of the commandments? Please consider what the apostle James had to say about this: "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. {11} For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." James 2:10-11. We must obey ALL ten of the commandments!

One of the greatest evidences in favor of the Bible Sabbath is that it has existed throughout this world's history, and will continue to exist throughout all eternity. Some are shocked to find this out, but we will see clearly that the Sabbath is as old as this world, and that it is to be continued in the new earth. For the sake of illustrating this point, let us make a time line. The beginning point of the time line will be the creation of this world.

The Sabbath was instituted in this world at the very creation week. "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. {2} And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. {3} And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Genesis 2:1-3. God sanctified, or made holy, the seventh day of the week. Only God can sanctify something. We cannot make a day, or anything else holy. We cannot even make ourselves holy. God is the only one who can make us holy. Clearly, God sanctified the seventh day and made it holy.

There is something very important to understand about the sanctifying of the Sabbath day. The Bible teaches that it was Jesus, the Son of God, which created the earth. John 1:1-3 says: "In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} The same was in the beginning with God. {3} All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." Hebrews 11:3 "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." And again we read in Hebrews 1:2 "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;" It was Jesus who created the world and everything in it, and it was Jesus who created the Sabbath day!

At Mt. Sanai

We have already read the fouth commandment in it's entirety, but we need to put this event on our time line. Just after the exodus from Egypt, God formally gave the Ten Commandments to His people. They were written with the very finger of God on tables of stone to signify that these laws were unchanging and eternal like God Himself.

There are many who believe and teach that this is where the Ten Commandments originated. The Sabbath clearly shows that the law of God existed before the tables of stone were delivered, by Moses, to the children of Israel. In Exodus chapter sixteen, before the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sanai, an interesting story takes place which plainly shows us this point. Exodus 16:4 says: "Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no." Notice that God identifies this story as a test to see if His people will keep His LAW.

"And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning." Exodus 16:23. This text mentions the Sabbath in passing as if it should be understood. This shows us that the Sabbath commandment was understood by the people before the giving of the Ten Commandment law.

Exodus 16:29 says: "See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day." The giving of the manna involved a special Sabbath miracle which would take place each and every week. The people were instructed that if they gathered more than they could use during one of the working days, it would breed worms and stink. BUT on the preparation day (Friday), each week, they were to gather enough manna to last them both the sixth day (Friday), and the seventh day (Saturday). This was done to keep them from gathering the manna on the Sabbath. On Sabbath morning the people found that the manna that was stored over night was just as fresh as it had been the day before. This story was given to us so that we might understand that the day of God's blessing is truly BLESSED!

And what was the result of the test? Exodus 16:27-28 says: "And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. {28} And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?" Even though God gave His people such detailed instructions, there were some who disobeyed Him and tried to do things their own way. Likewise, today there are many who number themselves with God's people, but who do not follow what the Bible teaches. Instead they try to worship God in their own ways. BUT be advised: God does not accept our ways once we know what His requirement is!

Here is another point for our time line:

It should not be necessary to show verses which tell us of the keeping of the Sabbath by the Old Testament Jews. Virtually everyone understands that the Old Testament Jew was commanded to keep the seventh day holy. I would like to include one passage which takes place during a particularly dark period of Jewish history. This was a time when God's people were not following His commandments, nor keeping the Sabbath day holy. During this time, God raised up a prophet named Nehemiah to deal with this lawlessness. Nehemiah was very faithful to bring in revival and reformation where the Sabbath was concerned. "And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt." Nehemiah 10:31.

There is little question about the Sabbath in Old Testament times, but much has been done to hide the fact that the seventh day Sabbath was kept in the New Testament as well. We need to consider what example Jesus left us in the gospels. There is much that could be written about the Sabbath, where Jesus is concerned, because their was much contention between Jesus and the Jewish leaders about how to keep the Sabbath. But keep in mind that the controversy dealt with how to keep the day, not whether to keep the day! The Pharisees, Saducees, and Scribes, of Jesus' day, had put great burdens on the Sabbath by adding many laws that were not given by God or even by Moses. All of the laws of God were given for the good of the people, not as "hoops" for them to jump through! Jesus told the Jewish leaders that they were very particular in the smallest matters, but that they didn't live according to good principles of the laws. Although He did not do away with the "letter of the law," Jesus came to show us the "spirit" behind the law.

Which day did Jesus keep holy? This is an easy question to answer, for we are told in no uncertain terms: "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Luke 4:16. The Bible plainly tells us that this was Jesus' custom, or habit. Jesus went to church and even participated in the services there, and He did it on the seventh day Sabbath of the fourth commandment!

We must keep in mind that the Bible strictly teaches us that Jesus did not break any of the Ten Commandments. Jesus did not sin, even in thought! We are told: "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15. Jesus is also described in 2 Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

We know that Jesus did not sin so we also know that He did not break any of the Ten Commandments. 1 John 3:4 tells us: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." The very definition of sin is the breaking of God's Ten Commandment law. Jesus did not break any of the Ten Commandments, and Jesus did not break the Sabbath commandment of the Bible!

How unthinkable it really is that Jesus would break the very law that He Himself gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Some people think of Jehovah as being the "God" of the Old Testament, and Jesus as being the "God" of the New Testament. BUT please consider what is said in John 1:18 "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." Moses did not deal directly with God the Father, but it was Jesus who represented Him on the mount. It was Jesus who delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses! How dare we think, for a moment, that Jesus would come and break that holy law of His Father!

Now we are ready for another addition to our time line:

Some will argue that the Sabbath commandment was done away with when Jesus died on the cross, or possibly when He was resurrected. But if this were the case; the apostles, whom Jesus taught and prepared to take charge of His church, would surely teach us about this change. So what did the apostles do? Did they continue to keep the Sabbath commandment, even after Jesus' death?

When Jesus was killed at Calvary, it was on Friday. The Bible calls this day the preparation day, because on this day all preparations were made for the Sabbath day, and on the Sabbath, there was no work done. Of this particular preparation day, we read: "And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: {51} (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. {52} This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. {53} And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. {54} And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on." Luke 23:50-54

"And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. {56} And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment." Luke 23:55-56. In Matthew 27:60, 61; 28:1, we are told who some of these women were. One of them was Mary Magdalene. She was a very close friend of Jesus. You will remember the stories of her in the Bible. It tells how that Mary, her sister Martha, and their brother Lazarus were very close to Him. It tells how Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to every word He spoke. It tells of how she broke the box of alabaster ointment and anointed Him, just before His death. And now we see that she is the principle character mentioned who will prepare His body for its burial.

But notice that the women do not finish the job on that Friday afternoon. Instead they stopped right in the middle of the job, and rested on the Sabbath day "according to the commandment." In fact, it is worthy of notice that Jesus Himself, even in His death, rested on the Sabbath day according to the Ten Commandments!

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. {2} And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. {3} And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus." When the Sabbath day was past those women returned to finish their work of preparing Jesus' body for burial, but they found an empty tomb! For when that Sabbath day was over, very early in the morning, before the rising of the sun on the first day of the week, Jesus arose from the dead and continued His work too!

Even after Jesus' ascension, the apostles continued to worship on the Sabbath day and keep that day holy. In Acts 13:14 we are told: "But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down." Also in Acts 16:13: "And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither." And in Acts 18:4: "And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks." So now let's add this to our time line:

Some will argue that the apostles continued to worship on Sabbath so that they could witness to the Jews that were meeting in the Synagogues. But this is not logical when we consider the next point on our time line. In Matthew chapter twenty-four, Jesus makes a revealing statement about the Sabbath day. If you will examine Matthew twenty-four, you will find that the disciples are showing Jesus the buildings of the temple in verse one. In verse two, Jesus gives them this prophecy: "And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Matthew 24:2

This prophecy clearly refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, which took place in 70 AD about 39 years after Jesus ascended into heaven. The rest of Matthew twenty-four is dedicated to answering two questions raised by the disciples: "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" Matthew 24:3

The disciples asked Jesus: 1] "when shall these things be?" referring to the prophecy of verse two about the destruction of the temple buildings; and 2] about His second coming and the end of the world. Both of these questions refer to prophecy, because they were yet in the future. One was fulfilled in 70 AD at the destruction of Jerusalem, and the other is not yet fulfilled. There is a statement given in verse twenty that seems to fit both of these prophecies, since the Bible teaches that there was to be great tribulation for God's people during both events (see verse 21).

Whichever prophecy the statement refers to, we know that it is after the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here is the statement that Jesus made about the Sabbath: "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:" Matthew 24:20. Jesus fully expected His people to be honoring the Sabbath of the fourth commandment 39 years after His ascension into heaven, and in light of verse twenty-one, it appears that this statement also refers to the yet future time of His second coming.

Wouldn't Jesus Tell Us?

This is an excellent place to consider what the author of Hebrews tells us about the Sabbath. In chapter four of this book, we have some profound statements made about the Sabbath. Hebrews 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." What is the rest of the Lord? We know that the Sabbath day was instituted when God rested from His work of creation, but we will let the Bible tells us what rest it is referring to here: Hebrews 4:4 "For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works." It is very clear that Hebrews chapter four is referring to the seventh day Sabbath of the fourth commandment!

Many people try to tell us that the Sabbath day was changed to Sunday, because of the resurrection which took place on that day. BUT the author of the book of Hebrews, which most Bible scholars believe to be the apostle Paul, raises a simple, but profound question about this supposed change: "For if Jesus had given them rest [or a new day of rest], then would he not afterward have spoken of another day." Hebrews 4:8. If Jesus had changed the law of God, wouldn't He tell us about the change? Yet there is not one word of any such change in all the Bible!

The fact of the matter is that God's law cannot change. The Ten Commandments were written with the very finger of God, on two tables of stone (see Exodus 31:18). Stone is a symbol of being steadfast and unchanging. Jesus is referred to many times as "the Rock" and we are told that He does not change for it says of Him: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8. The New Testament teaches us that Jesus and His Father in heaven are just alike, for He said: "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;" John 14:9. And likewise the Old Testament makes this statement about the Father: Malachi 3:6 "For I am the LORD, I change not."

The Bible even tells us that once the Lord says something, He will not change it in the least. Psalms 89:34 says: "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." God's covenant, at that time, was the Ten Commandment law! Jesus plainly stated that He would not change the law in Matthew 5:17-18 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. {18} 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."

The apostle John tells us: "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." John 21:25. This verse speaks to us of the things Jesus "did," but the gospel writer Luke says: "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach," Acts 1:1. The only way we can reconcile these two statements is to understand that John is talking about each individual thing that Jesus did, and Luke is talking about the lessons or topics that Jesus taught. Luke boasts that his gospel book of Luke includes all the important lessons and doctrines that Jesus taught. Therefore, if Jesus taught His disciples about a change in the Sabbath commandment, Luke would have told it to us in his book.

There is no doubt about it! Jesus did not change the Sabbath commandment in any way! There is yet one more point we need to place on our time line. The verse for this point is found in Isaiah chapter 66, where the subject is the New Earth that God will make after this one is destroyed by fire in the battle of Armageddon. Will the Sabbath still be observed in the New Earth? 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, saith the LORD." YES!

Notice that the time line now has an arrow which means that it will go on infinitely. Isaiah indicated that throughout all eternity, from Sabbath to Sabbath, we will come before God to worship Him in person! In all, the Sabbath is mentioned 137 times in God's Word. There is not a single one of these texts which indicate that the seventh day Sabbath would ever diminish in importance. The only thing that is ever said about the Sabbath is that it should be kept holy!

What About Sunday?

Now that we have looked at such a broad list of texts dealing with the true Bible Sabbath, we will now consider the false sabbath and see if there are any texts which deal with the observance of this day. There are only eight New Testament texts which deal with the first day of the week, or Sunday. We will look at every single one of them to see if there is any command to keep this spurious day holy.

Keep in mind as we look at these texts that we have shown many plain statements which tell us to keep the seventh day Sabbath holy. The very commandment of God directs us to keep the seventh day Sabbath holy. Therefore, the burden of proof falls upon proving that Sunday is to be kept holy now; NOT on disproving Sunday worship. We need to find solid evidence that the commandment of God was changed and that we are no longer obligated to keep the seventh day Sabbath, but instead we are to venerate the first day of the week, or Sunday.

Of the eight New Testament texts which deal with the first day of the week, six of them are actually the same event; that of the resurrection of Jesus. Each of the gospel writers tell us of this wonderful event. They are as follows:

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."

Mark 16:1-2, 9 "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. {2} And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun." {9} "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils."

Luke 24:1 "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."

John 20:1, 19 "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre." {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 Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you."

As is already stated, the resurrection of Jesus is a wonderful event. It is one of the most important events in the history of the world, but that is not what is in question. We are investigating whether the Bible, in any way, instructs us to disregard the seventh day Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and to keep the first day of the week holy. I would encourage you to carefully investigate the above passages. You should take time to read them in their contexts. You will not find anything that even remotely indicates that there should be any change in the Sabbath commandment.

Some have argued that the Jews were meeting in the upper room because it was the first day of the week in John 20:1, 19, but the text plainly states that they "were assembled for fear of the Jews." There is simply nothing in any of these passages to tell us of any such change in God's law!

Next we will look at Acts 20:7-8 "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. {8} And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together."

In this Scripture, we find Paul preaching until midnight and we realize that this meeting took place during the dark part of the day. Since the Bible reckons a day by first the evening, then the morning, many Bible scholars believe that this was the dark part of the first day of the week, or Saturday night. We cannot be sure of this, but there are some Bible translations which render the above text as "Saturday night." Either way, there is nothing said about setting the precedence of keeping the first day holy.

Many have also raised the question of whether this was a communion service, since the text says that they were breaking bread. BUT there is nothing in this text to suggest that this was the case. The terms "breaking bread" simply meant that they were gathered together to eat supper. The verse says that Paul was ready to leave them the next day and so it would be more reasonable to assume that this was a farewell dinner for him.

It is interesting to note that there are at least eighty-four Sabbath meetings that are recorded, and only one Saturday night meeting. The text doesn't tell us that we are to have church or communion on the first day of the week!

The last text that we need to consider is 1 Corinthians 16:1-2: "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. {2} Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."

There are those who will think that this is talking about an offering that is to be taken at church on the first day of the week. BUT I ask you to examine the verse closely, without reading anything into it. There is nothing said about going to church, or keeping the first day holy; only about collecting an offering for the saints. Actually, this verse has more to do with seventh day Sabbath keeping than with anything concerning the first day of the week.

Paul is collecting for the saints in Jerusalem that are being persecuted so severely (see Romans 15:25-26). We tend to think of an offering as being money, as it would probably be today, but the offering that Paul was collecting was that of food and clothing to take with him to the churches in Jerusalem. To collect money would be no great ordeal, but to collect boxes or barrels of food and clothing and to transport them to the coasts, and to load them on the ships would be quite a lot of work. This work was forbidden to be done on the Sabbath day so Paul instructed the churches to set aside these offerings on the first day of the week so that he would come around and collect them.

There you have it; there are the eight New Testament Bible texts which mention the first day of the week. None of them have anything to do with keeping the day holy, or transferring the worship from the seventh day to the first day of the week. There are more than a hundred texts which strictly instruct us to keep the seventh day Sabbath holy, but there is not even one verse which tells us to keep the first day holy!

The Purpose Behind the Sabbath

Most people fail to see the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy according to the commandment of God. Of course, the main reason we should honor this day is that it is the commandment of God. Even if we do not understand God's purposes, we should always choose to serve and obey His Word.

But the Bible does give us the reasons why God instituted the Sabbath and why it is just as important to the Christian today, as it was to the Jews of old. The Sabbath commandment states the reason behind the commandment: "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." Exodus 20:11. The Sabbath is a memorial of the creation of the world. Surely we do not think that God rested because He was tired. He spoke the world and all the rest of creation into existence. This was not something that was tiring to our Creator, but He rested as an example for us, just like it says in the fourth commandment.

This reason is set forth in the Scriptures in Exodus 31:17 "It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed." Some will read this and say: "but the verse says between God and the children of Israel." There are two verses of Scripture that need to be understood before we dismiss this apparently "Jewish" text. In 1 Corinthians chapter ten, the apostle Paul tells some of the highlights of the experience of the children of Israel in the wilderness, after they were brought out of Egypt. In verse 11 he tells us: "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Corinthians 10:11.

These stories, that were written in the Old Testament, were written for the last generation, "upon whom the ends of the world are come." He also teaches us that we are spiritual "Israelites," for he tells us in Galatians 3:28-29 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. {29} And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Again, it is the apostle Paul which says: Galatians 6:15-16 "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. {16} And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." This verse indicates that the ones that are true Christians are the "Israel of God."

Most preachers and teachers will tell you that the Jews were under the Old Covenant, but we are under the New Covenant. They fail to realize that there is no where in the Scriptures that there is any covenant made to any people other than Israel. In both of the Scriptures that identify the New Covenant, the Bible plainly says it is made with "the house of Israel." (See Jeremiah 31:31; Hebrews 8:8). The only way that we can understand this is to realize that "Israel" has and always will be the name for the chosen people of God. In the Old Testament, this was primarily the Jewish people, although others were allowed to convert into the religion. In the New Testament, the house of "Israel" is opened up for all men. Whether Jew, or Gentile, if we are Christ's, we are spiritual Israel.

The Sabbath is a sign that we believe in the creation story, and that we put our trust in the Creator of "heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is." It is paramount to our religion to believe that God created us just as we are taught in the Bible. If we have faith to believe that God created something from nothing, in the creation of this world, we will certainly believe that He can created something from something in the RE-creating of our lives in the plan of salvation! God is the Creator! And He has promised to: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalms 51:10.

Exodus 31:13 says: "Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify [set apart, and make holy] you." And also in Ezekiel 20:12 "Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them." The Sabbath points us back to the creation of this world so that we will know that God has the needed power to change our lives and make us free from sin!

Hard to Understand Texts

There are different arguments that are used by the popular churches in order to undermine the commandment to keep the seventh day Sabbath holy. In order to help the innocent mind which is just now dealing with this subject for the first time, I want to give answers to these erroneous arguments.

We have already discussed that many are teaching that we are to worship on Sunday in honor of the resurrection. The one other point that needs to be brought to light is that the Bible teaches us to be baptized in honor of the resurrection. Romans 6:3-6 says "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? {4} Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. {5} For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: {6} Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."

We are not to keep Sunday in honor of the resurrection, but we are to be baptized in honor of it!

Another of the common arguments against the Sabbath is that it is the only one of the Ten Commandments that Jesus did not quote or that is not taught in the New Testament. This is simply not true! The New Testament deals, in a consistent way, with all of the Ten Commandments.

If you study the Ten Commandments in Scripture, you will find that they were written on two tables of stone. Why were they written on two tables of stone and not one? It is because the Ten Commandments that were given to Moses represent the two great laws that Jesus talked about when asked which was the greatest law of God: "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? {37} Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. {38} This is the first and great commandment. {39} And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. {40} On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:36-40

If you examine the Ten Commandments, you will find that the first four commandments deal with our relationship to God. The last six commandments deal with our relationship to other people. Jesus taught that the greatest commandment was to love God with all of our being. If we do this, we will not: 1] Have other gods before Him; 2] Make graven images and worship them; 3] Take His name in vain; or 4] Forget to keep the Sabbath day holy.

Likewise, the second greatest commandment Jesus gave was to love our fellow men as we love ourselves. If we do this, we will not: 5] dishonor our parents; 6] murder; 7] commit adultery; 8] steal; 9] lie; or 10] covet what belongs to them.

As an illustration, I have listed ALL TEN of the commandments. But you might notice that I capitalized the first letter of the first four commandments, while the last six are written in small letters. I have done this to represent how the New Testament teaches the Ten Commandments. In the New Testament, each of the last six commandments are repeated word for word, just as they appear in the Ten Commandments given to us in Exodus chapter twenty. Here is a list of verses that you can compare:

Exodus 20:12 "Honor thy Father and thy Mother" Matthew 15:4; 19:19; Mark 7:10; 10:19; Luke 18:20; Ephesians 6:2.

Exodus 20:13 "Thou shalt not kill" Matthew 5:21; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 2:21; 13:9; James 2:11.

Exodus 20:14 "Thou shalt not commit adultery" Matthew 5:27; 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 2:22; 13:9; James 2:11.

Exodus 20:15 "Thou shalt not steal" Matthew 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 2:21; 13:9.

Exodus 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour" Matthew 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 13:9.

Exodus 20:17 "Thou shalt not covet" Romans 7:7; 13:9.

Again, I want to reiterate that all six of these commandments were repeated in the New Testament, word for word, just as they are in the Old Testament. If we were going to do away with the Sabbath commandment because Jesus did not quote from it, then we also must do away with the tenth commandment which says "Thou shalt not covet," because Jesus did not repeat this one either. BUT please remember what 2 Timothy 3:16 says: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" And you should keep in mind that when this New Testament verse was written, the apostle Paul only had the Old Testaments Scriptures! He certainly did not intend that the Old Testament was to be done away with!

While the last six commandments are repeated word for word, the first four commandments are taught by precept in the New Testament. Not a single one of the first four commandments are repeated word for word. The Sabbath commandment is treated just exactly like the first three commandments are. So if the Sabbath had been done away with for this reason, wouldn't you have to do away with the other three as well?

Here is the list of the first four commandments as taught in the New Testament:

Exodus 20:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" Matthew 4:10; Luke 16:13.

Exodus 20:4 "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image" 1 John 5:21; Acts 17:29.

Exodus 20.7 "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" 1 Timothy 6:1; Matthew 5:34-35; Matthew 6:7.

Exodus 20:8-11 "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy" Hebrews 4:1-11; Mark 2:28.

You can see from these verses that none of the precepts of God great law, the Ten Commandments, have been altered or done away with in any way. The first four are taught by precept, and the last six are commanded word for word. God's Word is always consistent and true!

Some will say that the seventh day Sabbath was for the Jews only, but we have seen that the sabbath was instituted in the Garden of Eden, before there was any such distinction as a Jew, and it will be observed throughout eternity by everyone. The main text used to support this idea of the Sabbath being a Jewish institution which has been done away with by the death of Jesus is Colossians 2:14, 16 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;" {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:"

This verse seems to be conclusive evidence that the Sabbath day has been done away with, but let's look more closely into what is said here. Verse fourteen talks about the blotting out of ordinances that were "against us," and were "contrary to us." Already we see in this statement, that it cannot be the Sabbath commandment that we are talking about. This refers to the ordinances or ceremonies which were contrary to us, and against us, but God clearly teaches us that the Ten Commandment law was given for our good: "And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day." Deuteronomy 6:24.

In the old testament, there were different laws which were given. First and foremost is the Ten Commandment law of God which was given for our good. It was the one written with the very finger of God on tables of stone which can never change. Also there were laws given by God through Moses' words to the people. Within this law of Moses, as the Bible calls it, there were many different kinds of laws that were given. Some of these were laws of health which told the people what they could and couldn't eat; how to keep their bodies clean; and how to treat infectious diseases; and etc. Some of the laws that Moses gave to the people were ceremonial laws. They were ritual laws that God gave to the people for the purpose of teaching them about the plan of salvation and the ministry of Jesus, the future Messiah.

These ceremonial laws were the ones that symbolically pointed forward to the cross of Calvary and the sacrifice of Jesus. These laws were nailed to the cross (verse 14) and are no longer to be kept. They were only given to fulfill a specific need, for a specific time. BUT we must be careful to define just which laws were meant to be nailed to the cross, because we have already learned that the Ten Commandment law is still binding upon men today.

Now we come to the verse in question: Colossians 2:16 "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:" And the apostle Paul goes on to say: "Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Colossians 2:17. The only laws which have been nailed to the cross, are those which are a symbol, or shadow, of things to come; they point forward to the sacrifice that Jesus would make on the cross. The Sabbath does not, in any way, point forward to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Instead the Sabbath points us back to the creation of the world.

So which of the ceremonies were done away with? Notice the verse says: "Let no man judge you in meat, or drink;" this refers to the meat and drink offerings of the Old Testament tabernacle service (see Exodus 29:41; Exodus 30:9; Leviticus 23:13; Numbers 6:17; and there are twenty other verses which mention these meat and drink offerings). "Or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon;" these were special days that were celebrated in the Old Testament in conjunction with the feast days. "Or of the sabbath days;" this last phrase refers to the yearly sabbaths which were in accordance with the three yearly feasts of the Lord (see Leviticus 23; Exodus 23, and Deuteronomy 16). These ceremonial feasts and their accompanying sacrifices were symbols, or pictures, or shadows of the things to come in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

These were nailed to the cross, and therefore we are not to let any man judge us in these things. BUT the seventh day Sabbath of the fourth commandment is not part of the ceremonial laws. It is one of the moral laws which are as unchangeable as God Himself! Please read this poem:

It's Jewish

by Uriah Smith

When we present God's holy law. . . And arguments from scripture draw. . .

Objectors say, to pick a flaw. . . 'It's Jewish.'

Though at the first Jehovah blessed. . . And sanctified His day of rest. . .

The same belief is still expressed. . . 'It's Jewish.'

Though with the world this rest began. . . And thence through all Scriptures ran. . .

And Jesus said 'twas made for man. . . 'It's Jewish.'

Though not with Jewish rites, which passed. . . But with the moral law 'twas classed. . .

Which must exist while time shall last. . . 'It's Jewish.'

If from the bible we present. . . The Sabbath's meaning and intent. . .

This answers every argument. . . 'It's Jewish.'

Though the disciples, Luke and Paul. . . Continue still this rest to call. . .

The 'Sabbath day', this answers all. . . 'It's Jewish.'

The gospel teacher's plain expression. . . That " Sin is of the law transgression,". . .

Seems not to make the least impression. . . 'It's Jewish.'

They love the rest of man's invention. . . But if Jehovah's day we mention. . .

This puts and end to all contention. . . 'It's Jewish.'

O ye who thus God's day abuse. . . Simply because 'twas kept by Jews. . .

The Saviour, too, you must refuse. . . He's Jewish.

The Scriptures, then, we may expect. . . For the same reason you'll reject. . .

For if you will but recollect. . . They're Jewish.

Thus the apostles, too, must fall. . . For Andrew, Peter, James, and Paul. . .

Thomas, Matthew, John, and all. . . Were Jewish.

So to your helpless state resign. . . Yourself in wretchedness to pine. . .

Salvation, surely you'll decline. . . It's Jewish.

What Will YOU Do?

There is but one question left to explore. What will you do with God's commandments? And especially with His commandment to keep holy the seventh day of the week? Many people have never known the truth about this important subject, but NOW you do! Will you shrug off the law of God? The will of God? There are many arguments that are made against the Sabbath, but NONE of them are Biblical! There is never anything said in God's Word about the Sabbath, except that we should honor the day and keep it holy. There is not one word which indicates any change that was given. And there is nothing said about keeping Sunday, the first day of the week holy.

Will you be one of those who will keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus? Will you be one of those who will enter into the city of God and eat from the tree of life. Jesus said "If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15. To do this, we must keep all TEN of the commandments! Please pray about this important subject and feel free to send for more free information. We would be glad to assist you in learning more about this and other Bible truths.


"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet,
and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins."
Isaiah 58:1