The Sabbath Issue

Introduction

This book addresses the controversial issue of the Sabbath Law. There is much confusion surrounding the Sabbath Day and how it applies today. I believe the issue becomes straightforward, if we will just simply stay with what the Scripture says. 

Does the Sabbath apply to believers today in any way? Are we still under the 10 Commandments, and the Sabbath Law in particular (the 4th Commandment)? Are we required to keep the Sabbath, since it is one of the 10 Commandments? If so how are we to keep it? Is it a day of rest or a day of corporate worship? Is Saturday or Sunday the Christian Sabbath? 

There are are number of differing views, often strongly held:

*A general Christian belief that has developed in Church history is that we are still under 10 Commandments and the Sabbath Law in particular, but the Christian Sabbath is now Sunday, to celebrate and commemorate the Resurrection of Christ. Thus in the New Testament the Sabbath has moved from Saturday to Sunday.

*Others (especially Seventh day Adventists) say that we are still under the Law, but that the Sabbath is by definition the Saturday (which actually starts at sunset on Friday evening), not the Sunday. 

They say the Sabbath is by definition the 7th (last) day of the week, not the first day. Thus they insist we must meet for worship on 
Saturday as the Jews do, not on Sunday. This is central to the faith of 7th Day Adventists, who define themselves on this issue. They believe the ultimate evil, the mark of the beast is a law that will enforce Sunday worship, and forbid Saturday worship. For them, strict Sabbath Observance is a Salvation issue, for the saved are by definition those who keep the Commandments of God: “the saints.. those who keep the Commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12), “who keep the Commandments of God and have the Testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). “Blessed are those who do His Commandments, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14). They assume the Commandments of God in these verses are the 10 Commandments (written by the very Finger of God on stone tablets). Therefore to be eternally saved, we must obey all 10 Commandments, including the 4th (to keep the Sabbath). 

*Some Messianic Jews teach that believing Jews are still required to obey the Law of Moses as much as possible, including keeping 
the Sabbath, and some even teach that Gentiles, should discover their Jewish roots by keeping the Sabbath. 

*Others say that we are no longer under the Sabbath Law, whether it be applied to Saturday or Sunday. In Christ, every day is equally the Lord’s day. The Saturday Sabbath rest is distinctive to Israel, and although Sunday worship has become normal for the Church, this is a matter of Church history, rather than Divine Law. Yes, we are commanded to be part of a Church that meets regularly, but in theory every day is equally valid for Public Worship. Sunday Worship developed as a matter of convenience and as a celebration based on Christ’s resurrection on the first day of the week, but it is not obligatory. If a Church needed or wanted to use another day that would be equally valid. However, there is nothing wrong with Sunday worship; and since it is still a day off work for most people, it is generally the most convenient day to have Church. In fact, our society has been blessed in receiving the 2 day weekend for rest and worship from our Judaeo-Christian heritage (Saturday Rest from Israel, and Sunday Worship from Christian Church History). 

It is vital to address these issues, and see what the Bible really teaches, so that we do not come under confusion, bondage or false condemnation. Fundamental to the whole debate is to understand the ORIGIN of the Sabbath in the Law of Moses and the relationship of the Law of Moses to believers today.

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