The Sabbath Day
Sabbath observance is a subject
vaguely known by many, but truly reckoned with by few. And you ask, "Why
should I take it seriously? After all, it's just another ritual." The
Sabbath is not a ritual. It is a special day which God has hallowed and blessed
at the completion of his creation. He has made the Sabbath for us so that we
may rest from a week of hard work on this day and remember our Creator for his
unfailing care and providence.
Why Keep the Sabbath?
Sacred Day of Rest
The Sabbath reminds us of the
grandeur of God's creation; it points clearly to the Creator and to his immense
providence and grace. As God himself rested on the seventh day of Creation to
set an example for us, he also wants us to be refreshed physically, mentally, and
spiritually through worshiping him and keeping this day holy.
Sabbath observance is also a sign
between God and his worshipers. It is an identity that every citizen of God's
holy nation carries. By keeping this day holy, we acknowledge that God is our
Lord, who sanctifies us and strengthens us against the temptations of this
Hope of Eternal Rest
All the more, the Sabbath is a
day to remember the salvation of God. It is a constant reminder that Jesus died
on the cross to redeem us from the bondage of sin and to give true rest to our
souls. In the same way, the Sabbath urges us to look forward to the blessing of
the eternal rest in the HeavenlyKingdom. It is the
constant renewal of this hope that guides God-fearing people on the path to
Only for the Jews?
Many professing Christians have
been taught that believers today no longer need to keep the Sabbath day since
it was meant only for the Israelites of the Old Testament. But the Bible makes
it clear that Sabbath observance is a commandment to every God-worshiper.
God decreed Sabbath observance in
the Ten Commandments, which outline God's basic requirements for all human
beings. So to keep the Sabbath is in fact a moral obligation to our Creator
regardless of our ethnic background.
God made the Sabbath day at the
end of the Creation week, long before the Israelite nation existed. He set this
day aside as a blessed day of rest. Every seventh day of the week, therefore,
is to be honored by peoples of all races and nationalities. The Lord Jesus,
being the Creator and Lord of the Sabbath, declared that "the Sabbath was
made for man" (Mark ).
"Man," of course, extends to all humanity and is not confined just to
the Jewish nation.
Transcends Mosaic Law
The origin of the Sabbath
precedes the institution of the Mosaic laws. As such, although Christ has freed
us from the strict Sabbatic regulations under the
Mosaic laws, the Sabbath day still remains; and Christians still need to keep
the Sabbath as a sacred day of rest.
Which Day Is Sabbath?
The Biblical Sabbath is on the
seventh day of the week, or Saturday. This fact was made clear at the time of
Creation. God rested on the seventh day of the Creation week; the Israelites
kept the seventh-day Sabbath; the Lord Jesus kept the Sabbath, as was his
custom; the apostles and members of the church in the New Testament observed
the seventh day as the Sabbath day. Today, God wants all believers to honor
this day as well.
God specifically set the seventh
day apart from all other days of the week and blessed this day. The Scriptures
also remind us to keep this day holy unto the Lord. Since the Sabbath day is
the Lord's appointed day, not a day of our own choice, we must observe this day
to the Lord just as he commanded.
Observing the Sabbath
The Sabbath is a day of rest. We
are to rest from worldly tasks and cares and dedicate this day solely to God.
The Bible tells us to "call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day
honorable, and honor it by not going [our] own way and not doing as [we] please
or speaking idle words, then [we] will find [our] joy in the Lord" (Isaiah
Dedicate It to God
Worship service, prayer, Bible
study, and fellowship are all spiritually edifying activities that help us
focus our minds on the things of God. Through praises and offerings, we express
our sincere gratitude to God for his salvation and daily provisions.
Do the Lord’s Work
The New Testament also gives us
vivid scenes of Jesus preaching the gospel, caring for the sick and doing good
deeds on the Sabbath. We should imitate our Lord and devote this day to
performing good deeds.
Origin of Sunday Worship
Ample evidence from history shows
that the celebration of Sunday originated from pagan practices of sun worship.
In March of 321 A.D., the Roman Emperor Constantine, who was at first a
sun-worshiper and later a Christian convert, issued the first decree declaring
Sunday to be a legal day of rest. In 336 A.D., the Roman Catholic church officially changed the observance of Sabbath to
Sunday for political and economic expediency. Since then, the original Sabbath
gradually gave way to Sunday observance and the practice remains to this day.
The Biblical Sabbath, however, is
and has always been on the seventh day of the week, or Saturday. Despite the
prevalence of Sunday worship in Christendom, we must look to the Bible as our
authority and keep the seventh-day Sabbath ordained by God.