Are we not to buy or sell on the Sabbath day?

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The Ten Commandments – Not to Buy or Sell

The prohibition to buy or sell and conduct work on the Sabbath is implicit in the fourth commandment, which states:

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11, KJV).

The Prophets’ Teachings

The prophet Nehemiah instructed the people not to buy or sell on the Sabbath: “if the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath …” (Nehemiah 10:31).

And the prophet Amos described the evil spiritual condition of the Israelites after the Assyrian captivity, when they broke the Sabbath commandment by buying and selling on the Sabbath. And they murmured to one another, “When will the New Moon be past, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may trade wheat?” (Amos 8:5).

Also, the prophet Isaiah admonished the people not to do any unholy work (ex. buy or sell…etc.) on the Sabbath. He said, “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words” (Isaiah 58:13).

Likewise, the prophet Jeremiah instructed the people also not to do any work (ex. buy or sell…etc.) on the Sabbath, “Thus says the LORD: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;  nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers“ (Jeremiah 17:21,22). Such activities on the Sabbath were forbidden by the Lord (Isaiah 56:2-6).

The Sabbath Through History

The Sabbath rest was instituted at the end of the creation week (Genesis 2:2,3). The Bible tells us that God created the world in six days. Then, God rested on the seventh day and He blessed and sanctified it, 2000 years before the existence of Jews. Therefore, the seventh day should not be called a Jewish Sabbath. It is the Sabbath of the Lord (Ezekiel 20:19-20; Isaiah 58:13-14; Leviticus 26:2; Deuteronomy 5:12-14). The seventh day was a day of both rest and worship (Numbers 28:25; Exodus 31:13; Leviticus 23:3) not a day to farm, build, buy or sell.

In the New Testament, Jesus kept the seventh day of the week (Luke 4:16) and declared Himself Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:7; Mark 2:28). He said, He didn’t come to destroy the law, but to fill it to the fullest spiritual meaning (Matthew 12:12; Luke 13:10-17). He emphatically declared that not one “jot or title” of the law would be changed until heaven and earth pass away (Matthew 5:17,18; Luke 16:17).

And when Christ prophesied about events that would take place forty years after His death about the destruction of Jerusalem, He underscored the fact that His followers would still be observing His sacred weekly Sabbath (Matthew 24:20). When Jesus was crucified on Friday (the sixth day), we read that the women “rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56).

After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, His disciples kept the Lord’s day and taught the converted Gentiles to keep and sanctify the Sabbath as well (Luke 23:56; Acts 13:13,14, 42-44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4). The disciples at one time met on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7-21). But there is no suggestion anywhere in the Scriptures that Jesus, His Father, or the apostles ever—at any time changed the holy seventh day Sabbath to any other day.

Few centuries after the resurrection, Constantine first then the Roman Catholic Church changed God’s holy day of worship from the seventh day (Saturday) to the first day of the week (Sunday). This erroneous doctrine was passed on to our time as a tradition (see Who changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?).

Based on this man-made tradition, some ask: Isn’t Sunday the seventh day of the week? No, Sunday is the first day of the week (check any dictionary). God blessed the seventh day Sabbath (Saturday) and when He blesses, no man can “reverse it” (Numbers 23:20). Today, Seventh Day Adventists along with over 500 other Sabbath keeping Churches of all different denominations are observing the Sabbath according to the fourth commandment and the Scriptures.

For more on the Sabbath, check (Lessons 91-102): https://bibleask.org/bible-answers/ 

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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