Monday: A Time for Rest and Worship

(Luke 4:16)

Image © Pacific Press from

Image © Pacific Press from

According to Colossians 1:16 and Hebrews 1:2, the pre-incarnate Christ was directly involved in the creation process. These texts declare that all created things came into existence through Him. Paul further expresses that Christ had a part in creating invisible things (Col. 1:16-17), which would, of course, include the Sabbath. Although Christ was central in the creative process, when He was transformed into human flesh, He subjected Himself to His Father’s commandments (John 15:10). As earlier lessons showed, Jesus was opposed to certain traditions and used every opportunity to correct religious behavior that was not grounded in the will of God. If Jesus had intended to abolish the Sabbath commandment, He had plenty of opportunities to do just that.

Most of the Sabbath texts in the Old Testament speak of the Sabbath as a day of rest. The understanding of rest in many modern languages may lead some to believe that the Sabbath should be spent sleeping and generally relaxing. While we can definitely enjoy these activities on the Sabbath, the true meaning of rest is cessation, stop, or pause. The Sabbath is a time when we can take a break from the routine labor of the first six days and spend special time with the Creator.

By the time of Christ, the Jews were holding a weekly divine worship service on the Sabbath (see Luke 4:16). Those who lived in Jerusalem would attend special prayer services in the temple, where the liturgy was different from what it was on the other days of the week. Jews who lived in other parts of the world developed the synagogue as a place of social gathering and worship. On Sabbaths, as long as a minimum of ten males was present (a minyan), a divine worship service could take place.

What do the following texts inform us about Sabbath keeping among the earliest Christians? What does this tell us about those who claim the Sabbath was changed to Sunday in honor of the resurrection? Acts 13:14, 42, 44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4; Heb. 4:9.

Given their Jewish roots, it was only natural for early Christians to worship on the day prescribed in the Old Testament. Yet, almost twenty years after the ascension of Jesus, it was still Paul’s custom to attend a synagogue on the Sabbath (Acts 17:2). Thus, no biblical evidence shows that the first Christians kept Sunday instead of Sabbath.



Monday: A Time for Rest and Worship — 27 Comments

  1. Here is the link to a previous comment I made. It contains a list of Bible verses on keeping the Sabbath.

    Works of compassion are allowed on the Sabbath, even if it is through your normal employment. A Pastor, because of compassion, works on the Sabbath and does not break it. Doctors and nurses, also because of compassion, have to work on the Sabbath and don't break it.

    One thing to remember though, is that if you are in the position where you have to work on the Sabbath because of the nature of your job, you still have to take a day off sometime. The human body working seven days a week without rest will eventually burn out.

    I remember hearing one of our Pastors saying that he is not available on Sundays because Sunday was his Sabbath. A number of eyebrows were raised and then he explained. He needs a day of rest too. For him, Sabbath was sometimes the hardest day of the week. Then there is the adrenalin crash afterwards once the Sabbath is over. Sunday was his day of recuperation after having to fellowship with so many people and dealing with church issues.

    Even Pastors need a day of rest. No doubt doctors and nurses need their day of rest too or anyone else who has to work on the Sabbath on compassionate grounds. They need to take it whenever they can get it. They also need the support and prayers of our general membership, to ensure they do get a day of rest sometime during the week.

    • I agree with you about the nature of work accepted on Sabbath. The problem is that a lot of people choose to work on Sabbath(weekend) for double pay or extra money. Ellen Withe talks about taking turns if we work in a hospital and be able to join our brothers and sisters in the assembly of the saints. Satan has perverted the acts of benevolence into acts of personal gains. I would suggest that perhaps the money earned for the time worked on Sabbath to be given back to God and He will multiply the money that are left for us.

      • Who am I to judge as to why a person chooses to work on the Sabbath. Isn't this between the person and God?

        What they do with their wage that they earn for working on the Sabbath is between them and God too.

        I would be more worried about those who feel they can't keep the Sabbath because they can't make ends meet if they do. I feel the Christian thing to do would be to provide for these people in some way so that clearly they will be able to keep the Sabbath.

        • Owen, I don't judge them. Is God who is going to judge us according with our deeds. Ii is just an observation and as a nurse I was always able not to work on Sabbath and be in the church. For this I had to work nights or Sundays. If someone chooses to work on Sabbath and be off on Sundays when it is possible the other way around is between them and God. I recognize that this is not possible in an Adventist Hospital. The question is if we follow God's counsel in this regard. I heard hundreds of testimonies how God opened doors and blessed those that wanted to obey His commandment. Ps 37:25

    • I somewhat agreed with you, but even those who do compassion care have to be careful. There are those who do work only on the week end because of having a larger salary (in the name of compassion care). Working only week end can be dangerous dont matter how we reason this out. I personally don't believe no Pastor needs to be so overburden on the Sabbath with church business that he needs Sunday as his Sabbath.

  2. Several local churches in my community now meet on Saturdays and then again on Sundays for dual services. Is this a good start for non SDA churches?

    • Raphael, why are these local churches having a service on Saturday? Is it because they want to honor God's Sabbath?

      Does the Lord look on what day we keep, or does He consider what's in our hearts?

  3. In exodus 12:16 when God was giving Moses some instructions for the Israelites about the Passover, He told Moses that they were to meet on the seventh day and the first day of the week for worship and no work was to be done on both days.Is this not the evidence that Sunday is also the true day of worshipping?

    • The first day mentioned in Exodus 12:16 is not the first day of the week but the first day of unleavened bread (Passover). It could fall on any day of the week. Please notice when the first day of unleavened bread in the passion narrative in the Gospels occurred.

  4. I pray that the Holy Spirit of God continue to teach us how to worship Him and to enjoy our relationship with Him on His Holy Sabbath Day.

  5. Are there other "compassionate workers" who also have to work on the sabbath: policemen, firemen, EMT personnel, ALL hospital workers (not just doctors and nurses), convalescent and hospice workers, prison personnel, utility workers (people usually need/want their lights and heat or air conditioning back on ASAP--some may be on oxygen)--you get the picture.
    Those of us who don't have sabbath work detail can support and bless those who do.

  6. I work as a support worker working with people with mental health and I have promise myself on sabbath that am not working another sabbath as I can't say am keeping the sabbath with lots of swearing going on and shouting am now on 2 weeks leave and told my manager that I will not be looking to be working on the sabbath when I come back am praying that God will work things out in my favour and if I get the sack I trust God enough to know he will make a way out for me please pray for me God bless

    • Angel, how do you see yourself in your line of work. Do you see it as a job where it is just a means to support yourself financially?

      Then maybe you shouldn't work on Sabbath.

      Do you see your job as a ministry where you are providing in some way for the needs of others, needs that have to be met even on the Sabbath?

      God has placed you in that job. Maybe you need to put up with the swearing and shouting on Sabbath and continue to minister. After all, the only Bible these people might ever read is the observation of how you care about them.

      How do you see yourself?

      Now talk to God about what you see and what He requires of you.

      • Owen Brunker I see it in both ways but am thinking am missing the blessing that the sabbath brings that time when you can lock off from the care and troubles of the world and seek to have that personal relationship with God because at the end of the day that is what counts most

        • Continue praying, but I echo Owen's thoughts as well.

          What you do week-long *is* the spirit of the Sabbath. Jesus could have been overwhelmed by all the sick people who thronged Him for healing and therefore He would have been justified in taking a rest from healing people on the Sabbath.
          But as He said, " Father works...and I work..."

          But you seem to be longing for some rest, so do talk to God.

  7. Pacifica
    In Exodus 12:15 the instruction given was for the feast, they were instructed to rid there houses of leaven. To celebrate this feast the first and the seventh days there was an holy convocation. This had nothing to do with worshipping on the first day of the week. Manna was given to them on the first day of the week, but not on the seventh.

  8. Here is something to consider:

    Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove. Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed. (Ex 23:10-12 NKJV)

  9. I grew up in a SDA home. Presently I do not attend church at this time and am sincerely trying to work on my relationship with Christ. I do believe in the the 7th Day Sabbath but it get exhausting when I listen and read the emphasis and the constant judgement on which members of the SDA Church (which i consider myself to be apart of) place on what is the right way of keeping the sabbath HOLY.

    It crazy that we focus so much on the day and what is right and what is wrong wrong that we forget the spirit of the day. We teach or children religion and not a relationship with Christ and that's on of the reason our children leave the fold of God(speaking from experience).

    As SDA we are so rigid our teaching that we hardly show the love of God. It is my hope that one day we will learn to teach the true Spirit of Sabbath and not Law of the Sabbath.

  10. Let us go to God in truth and righteousness (even in our keeping of the Sabbath) and stop flimsy execuses and justifications for our actions.

  11. I have been an Adventist since the 70's. I still don't know exactly what I'm suppose to do on Sabbath, besides prayer and studying the Bible. No one has ever said. I think it would be a great idea if when people became SDA that there was a class that had instructions for Sabbath. Most of the people I know at Church were raised Adventist, I was not.

    • Ann, if the Sabbath is a delight then there are a million possibilities. You wouldn't ask what to do on your spouse's birthday, you'd dive right in, and each one will be memorable.
      And the more you get to know your spouse, the more each birthday celebration will develop. Similarly, the more you learn about Christ and His character, the more you'll be drawn to do on the Sabbath.

      In practical terms, ask God to give you a personal conviction on the meaning of the Sabbath and when you understand what it means for yourself--all your activities will surround that meaning.

      Practical example:

      For some people creation seems to stand out strongest in their conception of the Sabbath. So they may find different ways to engage nature.
      For others, Christ's healing on the Sabbath stands out strong--so they may desire to bring healing in one or more ways to someone.
      Some people just crave the fellowship they do not get in the week, so they enjoy church services and picnics and potlucks.

      and so on...

  12. Ellen White in her book 'Desire of ages ' penns "The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world. It had been made known to man in Eden, and, like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation"....
    "To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ's creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour."

  13. [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting.]

    Adriana, can u give exact book from Ellen White, I like that quote


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