The Sabbath

Sabbath is from the Hebrew name for the day of the week we call Saturday. Their day begins, and ends, at sunset. So, we would consider that the Jewish Sabbath begins at sundown Friday evening, and ends at sundown Saturday evening.

The Sabbath Law To Israel

EXODUS 20:8-11 NKJ
8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

EXODUS 31:13-17 NKJ
13 "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: `Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.
14 `You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.
15 `Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
16 `Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.
17 `It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.' "

3 "You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the Sabbath day."

NUMBERS 15:32,35-36 NKJ
32 Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day.
35 Then the Lord said to Moses, "The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp."
36 So, as the Lord commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died.

EXODUS 16:23,29 NKJ
23 Then he said to them, "This is what the Lord has said: `Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.' "
29 "See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."

32 . . . from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath."

People living in the far north cannot keep the Sabbath, as it was given to Israel, because it was to be kept from sundown to sundown. There the sun does not set for weeks or even months at a time.

Jesus Broke The Sabbath

JOHN 5:17-18 NKJ
17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working."
18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

MARK 2:25-28 NKJ
25 But He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him:
26 "how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat, except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?"
27 And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
28 "Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath."

Gentiles Were Not Told To Keep Sabbath

ACTS 15:19,20,23,24,28,29 NKJ
19 "Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God,
20 "but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.
23 They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings.
24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, `You must be circumcised and keep the law' -- to whom we gave no such commandment --
28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things:
29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.

We Are Not Bound To Keep Any Day

5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.

9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.
11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
16 Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Notice that sabbaths are a shadow of things to come -- of which Christ is the reality.

The New Testament, although it repeats all the other ten commandments from the Old Testament, nowhere instructs us to keep the Sabbath.

We Are Saved By Faith

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

10 For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.

We Have Life By Faith

17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "The just shall live by faith."

Right Standing With God Only By Faith

4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

22 even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

16 "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Some people today teach that you must still keep the Jewish Sabbath to be saved and be right with God. The New Testament says you do not -- which the above verses make clear!

Cursed If You Do Not Keep The Whole Law

2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.
3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them."

10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

Those who insist you must still keep the Sabbath, try to take you back under the Law. As the above verses show, trying to be right with God by keeping the Law is doomed to fail! By the Law no one will be justified before God (Galatians 2:16).

Actually, almost all who insist Christians must keep the Sabbath -- break it themselves! For example, Israel was restricted to travel only a very short distance on the Sabbath (see Acts 1:12) -- which most people today exceed going to their place of worship.

We Are No Longer Under The Law

23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.
24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

ROMANS 6:14-15 NKJ
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!

4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

19 "For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."


Which day of the week should we worship God? Every day! Which day of the week should the church meet together? The New Testament does not tell us!

Christians, since the days of the apostles, have traditionally met on the first day of the week. We have no scripture in the New Testament telling us when to meet -- only a couple indicating they met on the first day of the week.

Probably the use of the first day of the week for Christian assembly began simply by using the night hours which followed the close of the Jewish Sabbath. The first day could not have been observed as a Sabbath in the early days of the church, since it was not a holiday for Jews, or Gentiles.

All the scriptures I know of that people use to substantiate making Sunday the "Christian Sabbath" are listed below.

Day Of Pentecost Was On Sunday

15 `And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed.
16 `Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.

According to the testimony of the early church fathers, Pentecost came on the first day of the week. That was the day the Holy Spirit was poured out and the church really began (see Acts 2).

Disciples Met Then

7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.

This was obviously what we would call a Saturday night meeting. Consult almost any modern translation for confirmation of this.

2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.

Resurrection Of Jesus Was On Sunday

9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.

Remember, by Jewish reckoning, each day starts at sundown. So, Jesus probably arose from death during the time period we would call Saturday evening.

Disciples Saw Jesus On Sunday

JOHN 20:19,26 NKJ
19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."
26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!"

The Lord visited the disciples on the first day of the week, which is Sunday. However, He also came to them after eight days, which would probably be Tuesday, or possibly Monday. (Some translations say after one week -- which could be viewed as again on the first day of the week.)


Our focus should be on Jesus, and our relationship with Him -- rather than disputes over outward observances. Only by God's grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, can you be saved -- not because you observe any outward ritual. Jesus is Lord!

Go to BELIEVE! Papers List
Go to Believers Home Page