Sabbath: Christ and the Sabbath

Read for This Week’s Study: Gen. 2:1-3, Heb. 1:1-3, Acts 13:14, Mark 2:23-28, John 5:1-9, Isa. 65:17.gless05-2014b

Memory Text: The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28, NKJV).

The vast majority of Christian denominations observe Sunday as the day of rest and worship (even though the vast majority of Sunday keepers don’t really rest on Sunday). Sunday keeping is so prevalent among modern Christians that many believe the day to be the Christian Sabbath.

This was not always the case. On the contrary, as a continuation of the Israelite faith, Christianity did not discard all of the symbols of its parent religion, including the seventh-day sabbath. For a time the only Bible that early Christians had to guide them was the Old Testament. No wonder, then, that the issue of an alternative day of worship was not introduced into Christianity until more than a century after Christ ascended to heaven. Furthermore, it was not until the fourth century, with the edict of Constantine, that Sunday observance became the policy of the dominant church. Unfortunately, even after the Protestant Reformation, almost all Christianity has adhered to keeping Sunday, despite the Bible teaching that the seventh day remains the true Sabbath.

This week’s lesson will cover Christ and the Sabbath.

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, May 3.



Sabbath: Christ and the Sabbath — 29 Comments

  1. 1.GOD Remains the institutor of the laws_Sabbath inclusive. lets keep it with fidelity n' minus doubt.
    2.So Not any moment should we say "our Sabbath" b'coz its God's. I have my brothers who worship on sunday n' call it "their Sabbath" am pretty sure God created one Sabbath_sartuday
    3.TAKE The ten commandments and check the ones in which u have a weakness. I tell u brethren the same way we should keep the Sabbath so should we not be liars/speak falsely or even commit murder or adultery.

    Sabato njema{kiswahili word for blessed Sabbath}

  2. It appears that when the 1st day of the week was introduced it was not meant to be an alternative worship day and Christians at first observed both and each had a different meaning to them. The edict of Constantine was a civil edict as I understand it, not a religious edict. Yet this civil legislation certainly seems to have given the religious observance of the 1st day a boost.

    Still even in the 5th century both Socrates and Sozomen said (as recorded in the Post-Nicene Fathers 2) that most Christians everywhere kept the 7th day Sabbath as well as the 1st day and again they did not at this time confuse the two, and even in the 5th century for most Christians the 1st day had not yet replaced the 7th. It thus could be argued that the 7th day Sabbath is the only true Biblical as well as the only true Historic and orthodox Christian Sabbath.

    • The edict of Constantine was a civil as well as a religious edict.
      "The first public measure enforcing Sunday observance was the law enacted by Constantine. (A.D. 321) This edict required townspeople to rest on "the venerable day of the sun," ...Though virtually a heathen statute, it was enforced by the emperor after his nominal acceptance of Christianity. {Darkness before Dawn 25.2}
      "... Eusebius, a bishop ..., advanced the claim that Christ had transferred the Sabbath to Sunday. ... All who desired to be honored by the world accepted the popular festival. {Darkness before Dawn 25.3}

    • I went so many years not knowing what was true. I found that I need to go by the Word. What does the Word say.Finding this out now when I'm older is better than a kick in the nose. Amen

  3. After God had finished His work for six days, the seventh day He rested, the bible says that the seventh day was sanctified and isolated from other days, in day six again we see that God created man in His own image, ideal Adventists therefore are like God and should by deeds show it. We should honor God and follow His commandments, keeping all His commandments not selecting, Sabbath day is very important.

    • [Editor's Note: Please use full names when commenting. Thank you.]

      The ideal Adventist ( or any true believer ) is one who does the will of God by surrendering all to his master Christ Jesus and so doing he, the christian will show his love and commitment to Christ by keeping the commandments holy through the power of the holy Spirit.( Adventist or true Christians are not_ -like God.-_) we are just reflectors of His character.

  4. If we love God with all our heart and with our soul than we would want to meet with Him on the day that He chooses(7th) not on the day that man choose(any other day than the 7th day). I don't want to miss my weekly date with my loving God.

  5. if Sunday observance was introduced a century after Christ had ascended to heaven what then did Paul mean in his letter to the church at colossae when he told them that nobody should judge them about what they eat or drink or the new moon festival or the Sabbath?

    • Colossians 2 could be talking about feast Sabbaths but I don't think so, at least not directly, here is the reason why I say what I do.

      First of all the entire section is bracketed by two texts:

      Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (Col. 2:8 NKJV)

      Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-- "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using-- according to the commandments and doctrines of men? (Col. 2:20-22 NKJV)

      So what Paul is addressing is the traditions, commandments, and doctrines of men that are according to the "principles of the world." Obviously then he cannot be talking about things that come from God. Furthermore, Paul also mentions, "taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God (Col. 2:18-19 NKJV). Not only are they doing things that originate from man but they are doing things that never came from God.

      Therefore, in my opinion what is being discussed here are the rules that were tacked on to God's commandments and laws and the traditions that in a lot of cases opposed what God has told us to do (Mat 15:3-6; Mk 7:8-9; 1 Pet 1:17-18). In some cases such as the worship of angels what they were doing was clearly not biblical (Rev 19:10; 22:9; Deut 4:15-19). As Jesus said, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:`This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" (Mk. 7:6-7 NKJV).

    • [Moderator's Note: Please us full names when commenting. Thank you.]

      The commandment is detailed, read also Isaiah 58. Do not perform any work on the Sabbath day, neither you nor you maid, your cattle, etc, and do not travel on Sabbath, etc. Then pay close attention to how Christ qualified the Sabbath activities to acts of worship, empathy to fellow human beings and what is needful and can't be done at any other time, etc. I think this gives sufficient guide.

  6. Margret

    Without question there was Christian Sunday observance around the mid 2nd century, but there is no real solid historical evidence for any date earlier than that. Some may speculate earlier dates and that is possible but we can not interpret Paul based on speculation.


    Colossians says: “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths.” It is questionable that sabbaths mentioned here is a reference to the festivals since he already mentioned that earlier in the text.

    Given the very Jewish nature of the early Church it is not surprising that Jewish Christians coming from different Jewish sectarian backgrounds would have different views on what to eat, drink, and how to observe the Sabbath and their festival days. I think Paul's message is for them not to Judge each other something they likely needed to hear.

    • True Tyler and Robert, but reading the passage together it tells me it is referring to the Jewish feast days, where they did "eat and drink" and they were all a shadow of the cross. Still you have both opened up my eyes. The way you both look at it, it gives even more credence to what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 15 by following the traditions of man. Many people use this verse to reject the 7th day Sabbath when in fact it is saying just the opposite in rejecting man-made Sabbaths and customs. Which leads me to wonder once again, when people say it does not matter which day you keep, then why do they get so mad when I keep the 7th day? It's like they are saying any day but that day. going by what they say, that it does not matter, then they should not mind when I keep the 7th day Bible Sabbath.

      • William, I think part of the problem is the forced conformity to tradition. When a person's job and social status is on the line then self usually takes precedence. The stigma of being out of line with the rest of society is just too much for many people especially when the odd-balls are routinely ridiculed. it's the same kind of peer pressure we see so often in our schools - nobody likes rejection and will usually do anything to prevent it even doing what they know is wrong.

      • There are a couple of little things I would like to add to this discussion. First is that I agree with William that what Colossians has to say certainly has something to do with feast days but I can't see Paul arguing against them as such. Many of those feast days were prophesy of the plan of salvation that went beyond the simple concept of sacrifice. Some of them were reflections back to events in Jewish history much like the Sabbath and would have had valuable faith building power in a believer's mind. In a certain sense Paul shows the value of law in general, "Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law" (Gal. 3:21 NKJV). Where Paul drew the line is when we attempt to make law our savior - to him salvation can only come by a free gift through faith, therefore, doing things in order to be saved is a no go proposition.

        Second, neither do I see Paul condemning all tradition per se because he counseled his churches to follow the traditions that he taught (1 Cor 11:2; 2 Thess 2:15; 3:6). So Paul was indeed following Christ and was against anything that was not according to scripture or that cast a bad shadow on the character of God such as the more than 450 sticky little regulations that made the Sabbath anything but a delight.

      • William

        The Passage (Col. 2:16-17) is referring to feast days, new moons and Sabbaths. If it is referring exclusively to feast days why would he repeat himself three times? Secondly I think you maybe misquoting the passage Paul says “are a shadow” not “were” in the past tense but he uses “are” in the present tense in the versions I checked.

        Paul's message in Col 2:14 is “our certificate of debt” was wiped out (see note 9 on the link when you bring up the full passage from the written record that was against us Samuele Bacchiocchi in “Sabbath to Sunday” argues is the record of our sins that is a witness against us and requires our punishment. Many Christian commentators from a wide range of denominations agree. It is the record of our sins that should be referred to in the past tense, because of the cross.

        I think we all agree it was man made rules that people were being judged by, obviously the worship of angels is certainly not a precept of the Law but rather a violation of the Law.

        • Robert, the phrase “our certificate of debt” is translated from one word in the Greek, cheirographon (χειρόγραφον). However there is another word that is associated with it that follows the article in the Greek, dogma (δόγμασιν), which is defined as:

          1) doctrine, decree, ordinance 1a) of public decrees 1b) of the Roman Senate 1c) of rulers 2) the rules and requirements of the law of Moses; carrying a suggestion of severity and of threatened judgment 3) of certain decrees of the apostles relative to right living

          So, literally, according to Young’s Literal Translation "χειρόγραφον τοῖς δόγμασιν" is rendered, “handwriting in the ordinances” (Col 2:14 YLT). So if it has to do with indebtedness it isn’t just any indebtedness but a particular one that is in official decrees or ordinances. The word “dogma” is found in such places as Rom 13:2; 1 Pet 2:13; Lk 2:1.

          It is well known that translation involves quite a bit of interpretation which is the reason that the various translations of the Bible can be legitimately different. In first semester Greek one doesn’t get into that but the further one goes into the study of Greek the more he has to deal with historical uses and background material concerning it and the more interpretation comes into play. The Greek word, cheirographon, which literally means “a handwriting” was apparently used during the first century in legal matters involving transfers of money, contracts, and indebtedness of all sorts, therefore the reason for considering it being “our certificate of debt.”

          The problem is that there is only one place in the New Testament where that word is used and that is in Col 2:14. As I have already stated, Paul is obviously talking about that which is “according to the commandments and doctrines of men” (Col 2:22 NKJV) not of God or the angels or anyone else in Heaven. In a sense I think it could be the condemnation which we incurred through sin but that does seem to fit the point Paul is making in Colossians very well, neither is it the point that he makes in either Romans or Galatians. “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations” (Col 2:20 NKJV). Is he referring to our sins here or is it about regulations?

  7. The Protestant world also understands that the seventh-day weekly Sabbath is the only day of weekly observance commanded in Scriptures.  Yet they cling to the Sunday observance which the Catholic Church instituted solely on human authority.  As a result, the Protestants are following the authority of the Roman Catholic Church for Sunday worship, while they knowingly reject the seventh-day weekly Sabbath of God.  As the Catholic Church boasts, the Protestants bow to the authority of Rome, beginning with Martin Luther.

  8. One topic not covered with in this week’s lesson, but I believe would be appropriate to bring up, is the believers rest talked about in Hebrews 4. I believe that the Sabbath commandment is tied in with the promise of the second advent. The Sabbath is the sign of God's people today, because it represents the promise of rest from sin that we enter when Jesus comes to take us home.

    Hebrews 4:4-5 talks about God resting on the seventh day from all His works. It also mentions those who are denied entering God's rest.

    As it was with the children of Israel when the generation who left Egypt for the promised land did not enter God's rest because they hardened their hearts against God. Many who initially accept the Gospel will not enter God's rest when Jesus comes. Why? they harden their hearts against God and end up accepting another Gospel.

    Hebrews 4:9-10 says that "there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God for the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His."

    There is a powerful connection between Jesus as our High Priest, the Sabbath, and the promise of Sabbath rest from sin at the end of time. I believe that until this connection is shown clearly, teaching Sunday worshipers about the importance of the Sabbath will remain a lost cause. Without the connection being shown, the Sabbath has no real significance for Christians outside of our Church.

  9. Tyler

    You have no argument from me I agree with and like your interpretation I believe you have made excellent points in all your posts on this topic. I agree the debt can be understood and interpreted in different ways, and do not say Bacchiocchi's view is the only correct view I only cited it as possibility.

  10. Mine is not a comment but I have a problem explaining the Sabbath to Catholics, they seem to think that the day you worship is your Sabbath be it a Friday or a Sunday. I was asked a question recently which I failed to answer. The question was, was anybody else there when God created the Sabbath, if not then who knows the actual day that the Sabbath was created. The reason for that question is the issue of the Gregorian calender which came into being way after the commandments were issued to Moses. The Jewish calender which was followed at that time does not tally with our normal calender. Look at the Jewish festivals, they are all very different from what our calender has now for instance the Jewish New Year. I would be most greatful if I can get verses, answers as to why the Sabbath is where it is today. I certainly have no doubts about the Sabbath, but I need to be armed with more knowledge for evangelism purposes. Please pray for my friend also who becomes very emotional whenever the Sabbath issue comes up. We end up not talking to each other for days.

    • Hello Ntoe,

      Next time this question comes up, you can say that you're sure Jesus kept the right Sabbath, and you keep the Sabbath that Jesus kept. It's the day before Sunday, which is kept in honor of His resurrection. No one doubts that Sunday is the first day of the week. 🙂

      Another thing: The order of the days of the week were not changed when calendar adjustments were made, such as the change to the Gregorian calendar.

    • Since the time Moses went up to mountain to receive the Law till now Jews have been keeping the Sabbath every Seventh day. Since the time of Jesus both Jews and Christians have been keeping the Sabbath every Seventh day. The are and have been many different calendars in the world. Calendars come and go, but the Jews have kept their calendar and the Sabbath since Moses.

  11. The SABBATH is the centre of the great controversy. Worshipping God on Sabbath day which is the seventh day declares that God is not only the Creator of all creations but that He is Supreme and all knees bow to him. The Sabbath day has been kept since God gave a command to our forefathers (Adam and Eve) and was passed through generations since then.

    The catholics through the CATHOLIC CATECHISM admits changing the Sabbath day from the 7th to 1st day (Sunday) of the week. see

    God gave His Law to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai. Amid thunder and lightning, a thick cloud covered the mountain, and a trumpet blasted. Smoke billowed up as from a furnace and the whole mountain shook as the trumpet grew louder and louder. Moses led the Israelites out of their camp to meet with God, and every one of them trembled. Then God spoke (Exodus 19:16-19, 20:1). If this Law were to be changed, it would be reasonable to expect God Himself to announce it, and give reasons for its alteration, amid the same amount of ceremony. Yet there is no indication in Scripture of such an announcement.

    In the New Testament, the seventh day of the week is called the Sabbath; it is mentioned 58 times. The first day of the week is mentioned eight times. It is simply called the first day of the week, and it is always differentiated from the Sabbath. This in itself is evidence for the continued validity of the seventh-day Sabbath.

    Brothers and Sisters, we can not alter what the Lord had instituted for we have no such mandate!

  12. Ntoe, before studying Sabbath day in the past, I found myself in a confused situation with a Sunday worshipper with such twisted question but not any more...

    In the Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, we read:

    Q. Which is the Sabbath day?
    A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.
    Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
    A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea, (AD 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday….
    Q. Why did the Catholic Church substitute Sunday for Saturday?
    A. The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday, because Christ rose from the dead on a Sunday, and the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles on a Sunday.
    Q. By what authority did the Church substitute Sunday for Saturday?
    A. The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday by the plenitude of that divine power which Jesus Christ bestowed upon her!
    —Rev. Peter Geiermann, C.SS.R., (1946), p. 50.

    In Catholic Christian Instructed,

    Q. Has the [Catholic] church power to make any alterations in the commandments of God?

    A. ...Instead of the seventh day, and other festivals appointed by the old law, the church has prescribed the Sundays and holy days to be set apart for God’s worship; and these we are now obliged to keep in consequence of God’s commandment, instead of the ancient Sabbath.

    —The Catholic Christian Instructed in the Sacraments, Sacrifices, Ceremonies, and Observances of the Church By Way of Question and Answer, RT Rev. Dr. Challoner, p. 204.

    Next time, the above information may help you. May the Lord help us in this great controversy where the devil want to constantly put us on logger heads with our creator!


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