Should We Remember The Sabbath Day ?

 

 

Are Christians supposed to “remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy”?  

 

The “ten commandments” are given in  Exodus 20, verses 3 thru 17.   In  verse 8,  we find the fourth commandment, which is  “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy”.   There are many people who believe that this commandment is binding upon Christians today, just as it was binding upon the people of Israel, in the day when the commandment was given.   

This is something that we need to know, because if it IS a binding commandment for us today, then we had better be keeping that commandment, along with every other commandment that God has given us to obey.  This is really not a difficult question to answer though, if we are simply willing to learn, and to believe, what the bible says on the matter.

 

There’s actually two ways in which we can approach the question.  First, we can consider whether or not this old testament law is still in force today, and secondly, we can consider who this law applied to in the first place.  Let’s address the second consideration first.

Who did this law apply to, when God gave the commandment?   Did this commandment apply to everyone who was alive, or did it only apply to a select group of people?  Let’s see what the bible says.

It says in  Exodus 19:1;  “In the third month, after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.”

Verse 18  says;  “Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire, and it’s smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.”  

You can see, that on this occasion, the only ones who were present, were the sons of Israel, and God.  God had brought Israel out of their bondage in Egypt, and now He descends upon Mt. Siani, to give them the laws which they must live by.  The nation of Israel was consistently referred to by God, as “My people” (ie. Ex 3:7).   Israel was God’s “chosen people”  (ie. Isaiah 43:20)

In  chapter 20, verses 3 thru 17,  God gives the part of His law to Israel, that we refer to as the “ten commandments”, which includes the commandment to  “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy”.

Then in  chapters 21, 22, and 23,  God gives many, many other laws to His people.  But again, notice that all of these laws, were given to the nation of Israel.  These laws were given to no other nation, or group of people, except to Israel!

God made it very clear, in  Deuteronomy 4:44 & 45,  that the old covenant laws, were given to Israel, and to Israel alone;  “Now this is the law which Moses set before the sons of Israel;  These are the testimonies and the statutes and the ordinances which Moses spoke to the sons of Israel, when they came out from Egypt.”   

We need not even go any further with this approach to the question, because it is more than obvious, that the only people who were ever commanded to “Remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy”, were the Israelites.  This was a part of their covenant with God.  God made that covenant with no one else, except the sons of Israel.

Therefore, the one and only reason that anyone could possibly be concerned with whether or not that law is still in force, is if they themselves are one of the sons of Israel.   If you are of Jewish descent, then you would rationally ask the question;  Is the commandment to remember the Sabbath day, still binding today?

If you are not of physical Jewish descent, then neither that commandment, nor any other commandment which was a part of first covenant, would ever have been binding upon you any how.

 

So then, let’s deal with the next question;  Is the command to remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy, still binding upon the Jews today?    We’ve already clearly established that it was NEVER binding upon anyone OTHER than the Jews, in the first place.

Once again, let’s see what the bible says.  Let’s turn to  Jeremiah 31:31 thru 33.  Here’s what God says concerning the first covenant that He made with Israel;  “Behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.” 

“Not like the old covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, declares the Lord.”

“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord;  I will put My laws within them, and on their heart I will write it, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”  

The old covenant was with the physical descendants of Abraham, of whom Israel (Jacob) was the grandson.  But the new covenant is with the spiritual descendants of Abraham, through faith in Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul wrote to Jewish Christians in Galatia, and this is what he says concerning the old law, in Galatians 3:23 thru 29;  “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.” 

“Therefore, the law has become our schoolmaster, to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  For you are all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus.”

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female;  For you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you belong to Christ, then are you Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

There is so much revealed in these verses, however, so many people fail to understand what’s being said.  Verse 24  clearly states that the old law served as a “schoolmaster”.  A schoolmaster is in charge of teaching, and that was the purpose of the old law.  To teach the people how to live, and how to obey God, to make them ready for the coming Christ.  And that verse also clearly says, that now that faith in Christ HAS come, the Jews are no longer under the schoolmaster.  In other words, they are no longer under the old covenant law.  The old law had served it’s purpose, and now it’s of no value anymore.  The Jews, as well as everyone else, are now under the law of Jesus Christ.  

And  verse 28  specifically states that now, it’s not only the Jews that are under the new law, but everyone is under the law of Christ!  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female, you are all one in Christ Jesus.”   

The old law was for the Jews, the physical sons of Israel.  The new law is for everyone!   Through faith in Christ, everyone can be a “spiritual” son of Abraham.  (Verse 29).  

 

People who believe that we must still “remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy”,  try to separate the ten commandments, from the rest of the old covenant law that Moses gave to Israel.  But as you can see from the passage in Galatians, God does not separate one part of the law from the other.  

Hebrews 6:20,  tells us that  “..Jesus  has entered (into heaven) as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”   The priesthood under the old covenant, was specified by God to be from the family of Levi.  The old testament is full of references to “the Levitical priesthood”.   However, Jesus was NOT descended from the tribe of Levi,  He was descended from the tribe of Judah.  And so in the new covenant, there was a change of the priesthood.

Hebrews 7:12  plainly says;  “For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change in law also.”   It has been ordained by God, that when the priesthood changes, the law must change also.  

Verse 18  says;  “For on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment, because of it’s weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand, there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”  

The old law, which was given only to the sons of Israel, had served it’s purpose, in preparing the people for the Christ, and therefore, it has been “set aside” in favor of the new covenant, which was inaugurated by the blood of Christ.

 

I pray that this short lesson has helped you to understand the facts about the commandment to “remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy”.  The entire old covenant law, was given to the sons of Israel, and to no one else.  And the entire old covenant law, ahs been “set aside”, and replaced, with the new and better covenant in Christ.

Once again, the prophetic words of Jeremiah;  “Behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, When I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.”  

If you have any questions at all, please leave them in the comment section provided below.

 

 

 

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This article has 4 Comments

  1. Hello Jim. We really need to reason when it comes to regards of spiritual matters. I love your approach to Bible matters though there’s only one part you missed concerning this subject. In your explanation you mentioned to say the Sabbath only for Israelites well that would be a false claim. let us consider the 6th commandment “thou shalt not kill” would we say it has been done away with or belongs only to the Jews? No one would think that because it’s killing. same applies to the 7th on adultery. So when answering this question we need to read the Bible and see what God says about the whole subject. The Sabbath was first declared in Genesis 2:1-3 God rested on the seventh day and blessed it. This was to show an example to every human because obviously God doesn’t need rest. So as the children of God journeyed out of captivity many had forgotten the Sabbath day. Hence God put it in writing with His own finger “Remember”. Some may ask why do we need to keep the Sabbath? Ans.The reason i in the command itself because God showed us the example to work in six days and rest on the seventh as the Sabbath is a memorial of creation. This is a day made Holy by God for the benefit of His children. God’s law same as His character can never change hence Christ says He came “not to abolish but to fulfill”. Did Christ keep the Sabbath? Luke 4:16 we are told it was our loving saviours custom to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath. Christ kept the Sabbath even in His death. He rose up on Sunday not Sabbath I’m reverence to the Holy day. What more us His follows. Spiritual application: the ultimate reason we are called to rest on the Sabbath is because Christ Jesus did everything that we need to be saved therefore we are called to rest not that we have worked for our salvation but we are acknowledging His work even on the cross of Calvary. No man can save himself, thus we are not saved by works but by grace through Jesus Christ. I would have loved to expand more but this is already too long. I pray you revisit this subject prayerfully and test every claim I have made with scripture and see if is true. May God bless your ministry

    1. Hi David, and thanks for your comments. I would to appeal to your desire for truth, and your acknowledgment that it doesn’t matter what either you or I say, it only matters what the word of God says. To begin with, the entire law of Moses, which includes the ten commandments, and all of the other laws contained in that covenant, was made only with the nation of Israel. The bible is so clear on that fact. Just one example should be enough. Jeremiah 31:31 & 32 says; “Behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will male a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers, IN THE DAY I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND, TO BRING THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT. My covenant which they broke! although I was a husband to them, declares the Lord.” Clearly, the old covenant was with the house of ISRAEL! However, the bible is also clear that God has always condemned indiscriminate killing, which we clearly learn from the example of Cain and Abel. We always need to be careful though, so that we don’t read something into a verse, that is neither said nor implied. That’s what you are doing Genesis 2:1-3. I would like you to accept something which is simply a fact, and not an opinion of mine or anyone else’s. When God said that He rested on the seventh day, and that He blessed it and sanctified it, no command was being given to any human being. And neither do we find any other instance of God commanding any person to treat the seventh day of the week, any differently from any other day. And we find no evidence that anyone DID treat the seventh day any differently, until God gave the command to Israel to do so. Genesis 2:3 is simply stating the fact that God blessed the day and sanctified it. But god was blessing HIS day, not ours! God blessed and sanctified the day in which He rested from HIS work of creation. Here’s a fact for you to think about. God’s seventh day, the day He rested, was NOT man’s seventh day. God’s seventh day, was only man’s second day. Was the second day that Adam and Eve existed called Tuesday? No. Does the bible tell us that God named the days of creation, as we have named the days of the week? No. The bible doesn’t say that does it? The bible calls the days; one day, the second day, the third day, and so on, through the seventh day. Keep this fact in mind here; God rested on the seventh day, and nowhere in the bible does it indicate that His rest has ended, as a matter of fact, the bible clearly indicates that God’s seventh day rest is still going on! That’s why Hebrews 4:1 thru 11, talks about man entering into God’s rest at the end of time. God’s seventh day is eternity. And if we remain faithful to Him, we shall enter into God’s rest, after the resurrection. God’s “seventh day” is still going on, and will go on eternally. Please follow me one step further.. The reason that God blessed and sanctified HIS seventh day, is because that “eternal day”, has been “set aside” as “the day of rest”, not only for God, but for all those who are faithful to God. You will not find one verse of scripture that tells of God commanding anyone to observe the Sabbath, until He gave the command to Israel. Once again, please acknowledge this fact; God’s seventh day is NOT man’s seventh day. When God set the nation of Israel apart, from all other nations, He gave them laws by which to live by. And one of those laws was to remember the Sabbath day, and to keep it holy. Israel was to treat IT’S seventh day as holy, just as God has treated HIS seventh day as holy. No one can change the fact that the law of Moses was given only to Israel. The command to not kill, has been given to all mankind, from the beginning of time. It was specified during the Patriarchal times, and under the law of Moses, and under the law of Christ. The same goes for adultery. God commanded one man for one woman back in the garden, and that has been restated in the new testament also. So then, while it is a fact that God has given some of the same laws to mankind, during all ages, the entire law of Moses was ONLY for the Jews. And that includes the Sabbath. That’s a law that was never given BEFORE the nation of Israel came to be, and has not been given since then either. Those are the facts of the bible. I would love to hear from you again on this topic or an any other also. Thanks so much for commenting. God bless you.

  2. Thanks for your wonderful article on Sabbath,
    please pray for printing and circulation among the people in India.
    Sabbath is only for physical children of Israel not for spiritual Israel.
    Thanks for everything

    1. Thank you Adam. Once again, many people get confused trying to separate the physical from the spiritual. But we need to listen closely to what God says in His word, and not listen so closely to what other men say. God bless you in your efforts.

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