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Believers are to keep the seventh-day Sabbath because of the following facts:
A- The seventh-day Sabbath is God’s commandment.
God wrote the fourth commandment: “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. … For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is: … wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8–11).
B- The seventh-day Sabbath was made for all people not just the Jews.
Some Christians call God’s fourth commandment the “Jewish Sabbath.” But nowhere is this expression found in the Bible. The seventh day is called “the sabbath of the Lord,” and it is never called “the sabbath of the Jew” (Exodus 20:10). Luke, a Gentile writer of the New Testament, writes of the “nation of the Jews,” “the people of the Jews,” “the land of the Jews,” and the “synagogue of the Jews” (Acts 10:22; 12:11; 10:39; 14:1). But he never writes of the “sabbath of the Jews.”
Christ said, “the sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27). Adam and Eve were the only two people who existed when God actually established the Sabbath. There were no Jews in the world until 2,000 years later, so it was never meant just for the Jews. Jesus uses the term “man” in the general sense, referring to all mankind.
C- The Sabbath is not about just keeping any day of the week.
Genesis describes the origin of the Sabbath like this: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made. … And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:1–3).
Which day did God bless and sanctify? Could any of the other six be kept holy? No. Why? Because God commanded not to rest on those days but to work. The seventh day is different from all the other days because it has God’s blessing and a memorial to His creative work.
D- How can we locate the seventh-day Sabbath today?
Some reject the seventh-day Sabbath over the belief that we cannot know which day it falls on today, therefore, picking any day is okay. But this is wrong. Here are four proofs that identify the true Sabbath.
1: According to Scripture, Christ died on Friday and rose on Sunday, the first day of the week. Most churches acknowledge this by observing Easter Sunday and Good Friday. “This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. The women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment” (Luke 23:52–56).
This is clear evidence that Jesus died the day before the Sabbath! The day of His death was a “preparation day” because it was the time to get ready for the Sabbath. Notice, then, that the women rested over the Sabbath “according to the commandment.” The commandment says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath,” so we know they were resting on Saturday. The very next verse says, “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared. … And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre” (Luke 24:1, 2).
2: The calendar has not been changed so as to confuse the days of the week. Just as we know that Jesus and His followers observed the same day as Moses, we can be positive that our seventh day is the same day Jesus observed. Pope Gregory XIII did make a calendar change in 1582, but it did not interfere with the weekly cycle. Pope Gregory changed Friday, October 5, 1582, to be Friday, October 15, 1582. Thus, he did not affect the weekly cycle of days what soever.
3: The Jews have observed the seventh day from the time of Abraham, and they still keep it today. An entire nation of people, all around the world, continue to observe a Sabbath they have known for more than 4,000 years.
4: Over 100 languages on earth use the word “Sabbath” for Saturday. For example, the Spanish word for Saturday is “Sabado,” meaning Sabbath. This proves that when those languages originated long ago, Saturday was recognized as the Sabbath day and was incorporated into the very name of the day.
E- Jesus and the apostles observed the seventh-day Sabbath.
Jesus made it His custom to keep each Sabbath by attending worship services. “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read” (Lu 4:16). Jesus said He did not come to destroy the Law, but to fill it to the fullest spiritual meaning “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Mt 5:17-18).
Christ’s disciples kept the Sabbath after the Crucifixion and the Resurrection: “And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” “But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.” “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. …And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.” “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures…” “And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” (Lu 23:56; Acts 13:14, 42-44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4). There’s no mention in the New Testament (written up to sixty years after Christ’s death) of changing or eliminating the seventh-day Sabbath.
F- Baptism is meant to memorialize the Resurrection not the Sabbath.
It is true that Jesus rose on a Sunday. But nowhere does the Bible say that we should keep Sunday holy. Many other wonderful events occurred on certain days of the week, but we have no command to keep those days holy either. Baptism is the memorial of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Paul wrote: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
G- The Sabbath will be observed throughout eternity.
“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 66:22, 23).
In His service,