Why do Sunday ministers refuse to keep the Sabbath? Has time been lost, or does it make any difference which day we worship? From Halley’s Bible Handbook, it says this: “All Christian people ought to go to church every Sunday, unless hindered by sickness, or necessary work, or necessity of some kind. It ought to be a matter of conscience, and act of worship.”
“The Lord’s Day is Sunday; the Lord Himself so ordained it, in Acts 20:6-7.” “God instituted the church and God appointed the first day of the week as church day.” These are just some of the reasons that people keep Sunday for the Sabbath.
Sabbath keeping is so important to God that He performed a great miracle. That miracle extended over a period of 40 years. God gave manna from heaven itself to teach the House of Israel exactly which day was the Sabbath. Why? Why did God take the upmost care to make sure that the House of Israel knew which day was the Sabbath? This question will be answered a little later.
In the New Testament Jesus Christ took great care to keep the Sabbath day throughout His life. It was His custom, Luke 4:16. God’s New Testament Church, which Christ built through His 12 Apostles, kept this exact same day that Jesus Christ kept.
We read in Matthew 28:1 “Now after the Sabbaths as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.” Why was this verse written like this?
Immediately after Christ’s death (no possibility of time being lost) God is pointing out to us today, that the 7th day of the creation week, the Sabbath Day, has continued from the time of creation in the same relationship to the other six days. The Sabbath was, and still is the 7th day and not Sunday.
There must be some impelling underlying reason why God has kept this great day identified down through the ages and why the people who truly have followed Him have always kept the Sabbath. Would God set apart a certain day of the week, put His blessings on it, make it Holy Time, command that it be kept forever, and then let that day be lost so that we would not know when that time is and punish us for not keeping it? No, of course He would not!
Did Abraham rest on the 7th day? Read Genesis 26:4-5. Notice that Abraham kept the commandments of God, and that includes number 4, the Sabbath day. Luke 13:22-28 talks about a narrow way, notice verse 28 “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and yourselves thrust out.”
The Apostle James wrote: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, (the Ten Commandments), and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” If Abraham was keeping the wrong day, he would have been guilty of breaking the law.
What about the Gentiles, did they know which day was the Sabbath? In the Library of King Ashurbanipal of Assyria, 6th century B.C., archeologists have found many clay tablets relating to the epic of creation. One tablet reads: “On the 7th day He (God) appointed a Holy Day (the Sabbath) and to cease from all business He commanded.”
In John 1:1-3 we read: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Colossians 1:16 backs this up. It was Jesus Christ who actually created the Sabbath, this is the reason He called Himself Lord of the Sabbath in Mark 2:28.
As Creator of the Sabbath, Ruler, and God-in-the-flesh, Jesus knew exactly which day to keep and how to keep it. Jesus Christ never once broke the Sabbath. Had He done so in the slightest point, He could not have become our Savior. Heb. 4:15 says He “was without sin.”
After Jesus’ death, which days did Paul keep? Notice Acts 17:2 “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them (both Jews and Gentiles), and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” What Scriptures? Why of course, the Old Testament, that was all he had.
Now why did Paul do this (keep the Sabbath)? Just because he felt like it? Gal. 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Remember that Jesus Christ is the same “yesterday, today and for ever” Heb. 13:8. If Christ lives His live in us today, through the Holy Spirit of God, then God’s true saints will also keep the same day that Jesus Christ did.
Notice Acts 18:1-4 “After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome): and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked: for by occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and persuaded both Jews and Gentiles.” Verse 11, “And he continued there a year and six months teaching the word of God among them.”
Here we see that the apostle Paul labored at a job for 6 days and rested on the Sabbath and he did this for a year and a half. Paul did not preach on the first day of the week (Sunday), except for Pentecost, Paul preached only on the Sabbath, the 7th day.
Now is Paul following the example of Jesus Christ who dwelt in him? If so, it is obvious that Paul taught the Gentile Christians at Corinth to follow him as he followed Jesus Christ, Phil. 3:17.
Has time been lost? Is there a fact that conclusively proves that the Jews have preserved the weekly cycle and the true Sabbath up to this present time? In 70 A.D., during the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews were driven into every nation on the earth. Throughout the Middle ages the Jews in China had no way of communicating with the Jews in Africa, nor the Jews in Europe have any means of communication with those Jews in other parts of the world, but when those communications were restored over every part of the world we find all the Jews observing the same 7th day of the week. If the weekly cycle had been changed or mixed up the Jews in one part of the world would be observing one day for the Sabbath, while Jews in another part of the world would be observing another day.
In Vol. I of Apostolic and Post-Apostolic Time we read these words: “Christians were accustomed to celebrate the Sabbath with the Jews.”
The Sabbath day is not a day of any man or group of men, denomination, or nation or race. It is God’s Sabbath, and the people of this earth are to keep it.
There are blessings for keeping the Sabbath and curses for not keeping it: Isa. 58:13-14 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the Holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord: and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, the mouth of the Lord has spoken,” that is from the Old Testament.
Notice Isa. 56:1-7 “Keep justice and do righteousness for My salvation is about to come (the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ), and My righteousness (keeping God’s laws) to be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil, Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord speak saying, the Lord has utterly separated me from His people; nor let the eunuch say, here I am a dry tree, for thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths (now it is plural – annual and weekly Sabbaths)and chooses what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and name better than that of sons and daughters: I will give them an everlasting name (Eternal life) that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to be His servants everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath and holds fast My covenant, even them I will bring to My Holy Mountain (The Kingdom of God) and make them joyful in My House of prayer.” Read also Jeremiah 17:19-25.
The curses for breaking the Sabbath day are found in Lev. 26:14-39 and Deut. 28:15 to the end of the chapter.
In Gen. 6:9 you will read that Noah walked with God and because Noah walked in obedience to God, look what God did for him. Noah was transferred and with his family from that old world of wickedness to a new world of peace and rest.
The Sabbath day pictures to man the pinnacle of God’s creative endeavors, the completion of us from clay to Spirit Beings, sons and daughters of the Great God Himself. No wonder God has set this day to be far above all other days; no other day pretends to represent such lofty heights and achievements.
God is the Supreme God and the Sabbath day is honored by God’s presence among those who keep it and those who submit themselves to Him as their Creator. Are you keeping The Sabbath Day Holy? You should, it is God’s most important day!