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QUESTION: Which days should we keep as the Christian Sabbath days?

STEPHEN'S ANSWER: The Bible clearly teaches that God's day of rest (Sabbath) is the Seventh Day (that is, the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th day of each month based on moon phases. See this document for proof) NOT the first day or Sunday. Genesis 2:2-3 says:

"By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made".

So the Sabbath law was established by God in creation and God Himself set the example for us to rest on that day (the seventh day, not any other day). Since this Sabbath law was made before the Old Covenant, it does not rise or fall with the Old Covenant. Actually the Bible records that Abraham "obeyed God and kept His charge, His commandments, His status and His laws" (Genesis 16:5).

This Sabbath law was later used by God to test the Israelites whether they were truly obedient to Him. This was again before Mount Sinai.

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction'" (Exodus 16:4).

Further, we see that this Sabbath law was so important to God that He made a separate covenant with Israel. God commanded Moses:

"Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you" (Exodus 31:13-14a).

This Sabbath law is eternal, not only to the Israelites, but also to the Church, and eventually all the people on earth. Psalm 119:89 says: "Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven". Isaiah 40:8 proclaims:"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever". LORD Jesus speaks strongly and clearly on this matter too:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17-18).

How did Jesus fulfill the Law? He first of all kept all the laws of God (including the Sabbath law, thus He did not sin, because "sin is lawlessness", 1 John 3:4). And then He paid the death penalty for sinners so that they can be justified before God and receive the new strength through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to continue keeping the laws of God.

1 John 2:3-6 tell us plainly:

"By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, 'I have come to know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked".

The question each of us needs to ask ourself is: Do I really love God? If so, How can I walk in the same manner as Christ walked?

What most of us fail to realize is this: that when Christ comes back to reign the earth in His Millennium Kingdom, He is going to re-establish the Sabbath Law and demand everyone to worship Him on the Sabbath days. God speaks through Isaiah concerning these days:

"And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me," says the LORD" (Isaiah 66:23).

Those who don't obey this law will face terrible punishment:

"Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind." (Isaiah 66:24)

As you have seen, the Scripture is very clear on this issue: the Sabbath law is so dear to God and He wants us to keep it holy on His chosen day.

You can't show me a single verse in the Scripture that says God blessed the first day of the week and made it holy. The passages many Bible teachers used to support Sunday observance (i.e. 1 Cor. 16:2 and Acts 20:7) should not lead you to a conclusion that Paul started the weekly Sunday observance, if you carefully study these passages in their context and take them at their face value (that is the most natural, normal and customary sense). On the contrary, the book of Acts records in many occasions Paul faithfully kept the Sabbaths during his ministries (i.e. Acts 13:14-44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4).

The reason why the law of Sabbath was not emphasized in the New Testament, even not mentioned in the Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15) was because it never became a problem in the earliest stage of church development. When the Jews believed in Jesus as their Christ, they became believing Jews and continued to keep the Sabbaths and all the holy days of the Lord. When the gentiles were converted, they naturally followed the Jewish traditions and became a part of the body of Christ. The switch from Sabbath to Sunday observance, as many historical records have revealed, was not until late 2nd and early 3rd century. It was caused mainly by fear of persecutions (upon the Jews by Romain emperor) and political reasons (rather than biblical reasons) and was later enforced by Roman Catholic Church through civil law. A good reference book is by Dr. Samuel Bacchiocchi titled "From Sabbath to Sunday: A Historical Investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity". I highly recommend you read this book to gain further understanding of the root of Sunday observance.

May God grant you understanding and a heart of obedience to His holy law.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible.

Further questions or comments on this answer may be sent to Stephen at here.

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RELATED RESOURCE:

-> Proof: Weekly Sabbath Days Are Determined by the Moon (PDF document)

-> Free Daily Moon Phases Website Module

 

 

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