Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses not practice the Sabbath?

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The Jehovah’s Witnesses Teaching on the Sabbath

The official Jehovah’s Witnesses website states that believers are not obliged to keep the Sabbath as seen in the following source:  

“The Sabbath law applied only to the people subject to the rest of the Law given through Moses. (Deuteronomy 5:2, 3; Ezekiel 20:10-12) God never required other people to observe a sabbath rest. In addition, even the Jews were “released from the Law” of Moses, including the Ten Commandments, by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Romans 7:6, 7; 10:4; Galatians 3:24, 25; Ephesians 2:15) Rather than adhere to the Law of Moses, Christians follow the superior law of love.—Romans 13:9, 10; Hebrews 8:13.” 

The Seventh Day Sabbath Is Still Binding

The weekly Seventh day Sabbath has frequently been considered a Jewish institution but the Bible declares that it was instituted more than two thousand years before the existence of the Jews. Let’s review the following points:  

  1. Adam and Eve were not Jewish and they were the only ones in the Garden of Eden when “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it” (Genesis 2:3) before sin entered.  
  2. “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27) in the Garden of Eden before it was “written” down on Mount Sinai.  
  3. The other nine commandments are not “just for Jews.” God wrote the “Ten Commandments” on stone, not just nine (Deuteronomy 4:12, 13; Exodus 20).  
  4. “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God” (Exodus 20:10). God calls the Sabbath, “my holy day” (Isaiah 58:13).  
  5. The Sabbath commandment is for the “stranger” too. “Strangers” are non-Jews or Gentiles (Isaiah 56:6). The fourth commandment itself says the “stranger” is to rest on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:10).  
  6. Isaiah said Gentiles should keep the Sabbath (Isaiah 56:6, 7).  
  7. “All” mankind will keep the Sabbath in the New Earth (Isaiah 66:22, 23).  
  8. Gentiles kept the Sabbath in the Book of Acts (ch. 13:42-44; 16:13).  
  9. “The law” [of Ten Commandments] is for “all the world,” not just for Jews (Romans 2:17-23; 3:19, 23).  
  10. Jesus said, “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:8). Therefore, the Sabbath is for all that worship the Lord (Jews and Gentiles).  

Does God’s Law Change?

God’s law doesn’t change from one generation to another (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; Numbers 23:19). For the law is a reflection of God’s own character and will (1 John 4:8; 5:3). Jesus affirmed, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17, 18).

By fulfilling the law, the Son of God “filled” it “full” of meaning—by offering people an example of full obedience to God’s law, in order that the same law “might be fulfilled in us” (Romans 8:3, 4). Fallen man has been unable to obey the law, and it has had no power to empower him to obey. But Jesus Christ has come to make it possible for man to give perfect obedience (Philippians 4:13).

End-Time Test

The prophecies of Revelation 12–14 make it clear that the Seventh day Sabbath will be the point controverted prior to the second coming of Christ (It is the commandment broken by most of the Christian world). God’s children will be identified by their observance of the commandments of God (Revelation 12:17; 14:12), including the Sabbath command.  

Believers will be called upon to choose between the Sabbath of the Lord and the substitute sabbath of man (the first day of the week, Sunday). The keeping of the Sabbath will thus become a test and constitute a sign (or a seal, Revelation 7) of true worshipers. 

The Lord declared, “hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God” (Ezekiel 20:20). The Bible declares that the Seventh day Sabbath observance will never end. It started at creation and will continue throughout eternity for it is a memorial of God’s creative acts (Isaiah 66:22-23).   

For more on the Sabbath, check Lessons 91-102 on Bible Answers.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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