There are two articles in this file on the subject of Sabbath Keeping. The first is by John MacArthur and while brief, gives important insights from this godly man. The second article is an outstanding history of the Sabbath from Genesis to our present day. A careful reading of it will give the correct perspective of how a Christian should view the Sabbath. Please prayerfully read these with an open heart to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The following was taken from a message that was delivered at Grace Community Church in Panorama City, California, By John MacArthur Jr. It was from the tape, GC 1776, titled “For the Love of the Church – Part 3”. A copy of the tape and the Study Notes, “For the Love of the Church” can be obtained by writing, Word of Grace, P.O. Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412, or by calling 1-800-55-GRACE
The Dead Issue of the Sabbath
Sunday is not the Sabbath. People talk about going to church on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was Saturday. It is a dead issue.
One Sunday afternoon I was on a talk show on KOBL–the number two rated radio station in Honolulu, Hawaii. They gave three hours for a Christian dialogue program. It as really interesting to be the answer man and get grilled by all those people. At the beginning of the show, one fellow called in and asked, “What day is the church supposed to meet?” I didn’t realize I was being baited, so I went into a lengthy answer about the meaning of the Lord’s Day. When I finished the telephone lines went bananas. There is a strong contingent of Seventh-Day Adventists in Honolulu. I had opened up Pandora’s box. The station couldn’t handle all of the calls. Through all of this I simply maintained that the only way to allow for worship on Saturday is: one, ignore the history of the church; two, assume that the old covenant is still in vogue; and three, reject the teaching of the Apostle Paul.
They didn’t take too kindly to those statements, but I supported them with Scripture:
1. COLOSSIANS 2:16-17a – “Let no man, therefore, judge you in food [if you didn’t eat like Jewish people], or in drink, or in respect of a feast day, or of the new moon, or of a Sabbath day, which are a shadow of things to come . . . .” Once the thing arrives, there is no need for the shadow.
2. 1 CORINTHIANS 16:2 – Historically and biblically the Lord’s Day became the time when the church met together. Paul says to bring your offerings when you come together on the first day of the week.
If you want to believe the importance of meeting on the Sabbath, then you will have to believe the entire old covenant and be saved by works. On the radio show one man was giving me a long argument, so I said, “Let me ask you about your doctrine. Why do you say that only covenant people are the ones who worship on the Sabbath and that the mark of the beast is on everyone who worships on Sunday? That is in your theology.” There was a long silence. Then he admitted it was true. Ultimately they were saying that you are saved by works–keeping the whole covenant and obeying the law.
The Death of Judaism
In the New Testament, many Jews continued to keep the Sabbath and feasts even after they were saved. Judaism died hard for them. Even Paul took a Jewish vow after he was a Christian preacher (Ac. 18:18; 21:24-26). Paul answers this in Romans 14–a very conclusive passage.
The church in Rome had both Jews and Gentiles. Some Jews hung on to the Sabbath. One good reason was that the only day a Jew had off from work was the Sabbath. The pagans did not have any days off. It was easy for a Jew who worked for a Jewish employer to take the Sabbath day off. In good conscience he would go to the synagogue or worship Christ on the Sabbath. For him the Sabbath was sacred. In effect the Lord said, “Give him time. Don’t hassle him. If this is your brother’s problem, let him grow up. Don’t lord your liberty over him” (Rom. 14:1-4). In Romans 14:5-6a Paul says, “One man esteemeth one day above another [some Christians still keep the Sabbath]; another esteemeth every day alike [some know all days are equal]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.” In other words, as long as you are conscientious, don’t worry about it–just don’t do something that will offend your brother. If he is still stumbling along thinking the Sabbath is important – don’t offend him.
The Absence of Regulations
There is no instruction in the New Testament as to regulations for the Lord’s Day. Many years ago someone dragged out all the restrictions from the Sabbath and imposed them on the Lord’s Day. When I grew up in Philadelphia you couldn’t do anything on Sunday. I couldn’t read the paper, or play catch. I had to sit all day in my little Lord Fauntleroy suit.
Those kind of restrictions are not found in the New Testament. I do think there should be a balance on the Lord’s Day. It is good to take a rest when God provides you the time. It is also good to have some of the time in the afternoon between the two studies of the Word of God to apply yourself diligently to the application of that information. It is a great day for spiritual restoration. I certainly have nothing against you taking a bike ride or doing something similar that people in the past said was so evil.
I. ORIGIN OF THE SABBATH
A. Teaching of the Bible
1. Sanctification of the seventh day of creation.
The Hebrews did not claim to be the creators of this unique institution. They affirmed that God Himself was its creator. The record of its origin which they preserved for us is in the Bible. The divine origin of the Sabbath is described in the opening chapters of Genesis. The first two chapters describe God’s creative activity during six days and His sanctification of the seventh day by His cessation from His creative work (Gen 1:1-2:3). The word “Sabbath” is not employed, but it is certain that the author meant to assert that God blessed and hallowed the seventh day as the Sabbath.
The grouping of the creation narrative into six periods called days, followed by a seventh day of rest, seems to have been done purposefully to establish a weekly sacred day. Later scriptural teaching on the Sabbath seems to corroborate this. The fourth commandment of the Decalogue, as recorded in Exodus, gives as the reason for the Israelites’ observance of the Sabbath the fact that God “in six days . . . made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exod 20:11). The words of Jesus, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27), point back beyond the Mosaic command to the original purpose and will of God. They indicate that the Sabbath came into being when man came into being.
It seems clear, therefore, that the divine origin and institution of the Sabbath took place at the beginning of human history. At that time God not only provided a divine example for keeping the seventh day as a day of rest, but also blessed and set apart the seventh day for the use and benefit of man. There is no mention of the observance of the Sabbath by the patriarchs, although a period of seven days is mentioned several times in the account of Noah and the Flood (Gen 7:4, 10; 8:10, 12), and a week is mentioned in the story of Jacob and Rachel (29:27). Whether the patriarchs had knowledge of or observed the Sabbath does not matter; the revelation of God to Moses was that He had instituted the Sabbath at the close of creation.
2. The ordinance concerning the manna.
The first mention of the word “Sabbath” is in Exodus 16:23 which gives certain regulations concerning the gathering and preparation of the manna, when the Israelites were in the wilderness of Sin. At the command of the LORD, Moses told the people to gather and prepare twice as much manna on the sixth day as on other days (Exod 16:5). When the leaders of the congregation reported to Moses that the people had done so, Moses replied, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD'” (16:22, 23). The next day Moses commanded the people to eat what had been kept over, and added, “Today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none” (16:25, 26). Some of the people, notwithstanding this explicit command, went out to gather manna on the seventh day (16:27). At this point the LORD said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? See! The LORD has given you the Sabbath, therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days; remain every man of you in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day” (16:28, 29).
This passage shows that the Sabbath was certainly made known to Israel before the giving of the law at Sinai. The Israelites did not arrive at Sinai until the following month (16:1; 19:1). This passage also shows that this was not the first institution of the Sabbath. The incidental manner in which the matter is introduced and the remonstrance of the LORD for the disobedience of the people both imply that the Sabbath had previously been known. The LORD’S inquiry, “How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?” sounds as if it had long been in existence. In fact, the equation of the Sabbath with the seventh day, the statement that the LORD gave the Israelites the Sabbath, and the record that the people, at God’s command, rested on the seventh day, all point unmistakably to the primeval institution of the Sabbath.
3. The fourth commandment of the Decaloque.
The fourth commandment itself does not purport to be the first promulgation of the Sabbath. Its introductory words, “Remember the Sabbath day” (Exod 20:8), suggest that the Sabbath had been previously known but either forgotten or neglected. The reason given in the commandment for the sanctification of the Sabbath day was the example of God at the close of creation (20:9-11). The commandment pointed back to the original institution of the Sabbath.
The fourth commandment made the Sabbath a distinctive Hebrew institution. It formed an integral part of the covenant which God made with Israel at Sinai. The covenant consisted of “the ten commandments” uttered by the LORD Himself from the mount (Deut 4:13; 5:2-21). The fourth commandment has a central place in that covenant, serving as the connecting link between those commandments having to do with duties toward God and those having to do with duties toward man.
The Ten Commandments are prefixed by a declaration that God had brought Israel out of the land of Egypt (Exod 20:2; Deut 5:6). These words can apply in their literal sense only to the children of Israel. The wording of the commandments themselves also indicates that they were given specifically to the Israelites. The fifth commandment contains a promise of long life in the land which the LORD was about to give to Israel (Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16). Similarly, the Deuteronomic version of the fourth commandment gives the deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt as the primary reason for the observance of the Sabbath (Deut 5:15). The keeping of the Sabbath is elsewhere declared to be the sign of Israel’s allegiance to God (Exod 31:13; Neh 9:14). It served to distinguish Israel from the other nations. There can be no doubt that in its original setting and application the Sabbath command was a law intended only for the people of Israel.
At the same time it is evident that the fourth commandment contains principles which are applicable to all people. It recognizes the moral duty of man to worship his Creator, for which stated times and places for worship are needed as well as the ceasing from the ordinary employments of life. It recognizes also the basic need of man for a weekly day of rest. Man’s history has demonstrated his need for the recuperation of his physical and mental energies once in every seven days as well as his need for a day of the week set apart for spiritual devotion and instruction. The Sabbath command provided for these needs of the ancient Israelites.
II. HISTORY OF THE SABBATH
A. The Sabbath of the Mosaic legislation.
The regulations for the observance of the Sabbath in the Mosaic legislation are relatively simple. The Sabbath was to be observed on every seventh day; it was to be observed by all: the servants, the humble beasts of burden, the members of the Hebrew household, and the guests who were staying within their gates were all commanded to cease from labor on that day (Exod 20:8-11; Deut 5:12-15).
The humanitarian aspect of this freedom from toil on the Sabbath is especially emphasized in Deuteronomy, where the deliverance of Israel from the oppressive bondage of Egypt is given as the reason for the keeping of the Sabbath (Deut 5:14, 15). The gathering of manna on the seventh day had been expressly forbidden (Exod 16:27-29). Likewise, the kindling of it fire on the Sabbath was forbidden (35:3). The penalty for profaning the Sabbath by doing any work on it was death (31:14). A man who was found gathering sticks on the Sabbath day was stoned to death. (Num 15:32-36).
The Sabbath, however, was not a day of total inactivity. The priests carried on their duties about the Tabernacle. The bread of the Presence was to be set on the table in the holy place on the Sabbath day (Lev 24:8). A special sacrifice, in addition to the ordinary daily sacrifice, was to be offered on the Sabbath day (Num 28:9, 10). The rite of circumcision was performed on the Sabbath if that was the eighth day after the child’s birth (Lev 12:3; John 7:22). The Sabbath is listed among the sacred festivals, “the appointed feasts of the LORD” (23:1-3). It, like them, was proclaimed to be “a holy convocation” (23:3). This can only mean that it was regarded as a day for the calling together of the congregation of Israel to worship. In the early history of the Israelites, the Sabbath was a day of welcome rest from labor and of solemn worship at the sanctuary of God.
B. The Sabbath in the historical and prophetical books of the Old Testament.
The first mention of the Sabbath in the historical books is in 2 Kings 4:23, which contains a question uttered by the husband of the Shunammite woman at whose home Elisha had been entertained. She had asked for one of the servants and one of the donkeys that she might go to see the prophet (4:22). Her husband expressed surprise at her request and said, “Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath” (4:23). His mention of the Sabbath was incidental, but his remark plainly infers that it was customary to suspend work and to visit the prophet on the Sabbath.
Visiting a prophet on the Sabbath would necessarily be limited to the few. There is evidence that visiting the Temple on the Sabbath was a more widespread custom. There are a number of references in Chronicles to the ritual performed in the Temple on that day (I Chron 9:32; 23:31; 2 Chron 2:4; 8:13; 23:4; 31:3). The prophet Isaiah, in his condemnation of the hypocrisy of the worshipers, seems to indicate that assemblies took place in the Temple on that day (Isa 1:13).
Isaiah denounced the formalistic Sabbath observance of his time (1:12, 13), and defined true Sabbath-keeping as turning from one’s own ways and from one’s own pleasures, and taking delight in the LORD (58:13, 14). Other prophets raised their voices in protest against the abuse of the Sabbath (Jer 17:21, 22; Ezek 22:8; Amos 8:4). They regarded the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jews as due, at least in part, to the desecration of the Sabbath (Jer 17:27; Ezek 20:23, 24). Hosea predicted that God would make Israel’s Sabbaths to cease because of her unfaithfulness (Hos 2:11); but that this cessation of Sabbath observance was not meant to be permanent is made clear by Isaiah and Ezekiel (Isa 66:23; Ezek 44:24).
During the period of the Exile, the Sabbath rose in prominence as compared to the other religious festivals of the Jews, since it was independent of the Temple in Jerusalem, whereas the other festivals were in part dependent on that religions center. In the period of the return from exile, Sabbath observance was revived in Palestine, in large measure through the reforms of Nehemiah. On his return to Palestine, he was shocked to see the widespread desecration of the holy day. People labored in the fields, gathered the harvests, and bought and sold publicly on the Sabbath day. Nehemiah rebuked the nobles of Judah and ordered the gates of Jerusalem closed during the Sabbath (Neh 13:15-22). His vigorous efforts were largely responsible for the establishment of the Sabbath as a day of universal rest among the Jews of Palestine.
C. The Sabbath in the inter-testamental period.
In the years following the reforms of Nehemiah and Ezra, their successors, the scribes, developed an elaborate code of regulations and restrictions governing Sabbath observance. These were intended to safeguard and preserve the spirit of the Sabbath, just as the shell protects the kernel. They were an attempt to “hedge in” the law so that its proper observance would be guaranteed. The discussion of actual or hypothetical cases led to the formulation of thirty-nine articles which prohibited all kinds of ordinary agricultural, industrial, and domestic work, unless it was by its nature, or in the circumstances of the case, necessary (G. F. Moore, “Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era,” pp. 27-30).
The efforts of the scribes to promote a regard for the Hebrew Sabbath were successful. The Sabbath became so deeply rooted in Jewish consciousness and so treasured by individual Jews, that in the days of the Maccabees many chose to die rather than desecrate it. The Jews refused to engage in battle, even in self-defense, on their holy day. Later, however, Mattathias, the leader of the revolt against the tyranny of Antiochus IV, ruled that it was permissible to take up arms in self-defense on the Sabbath.
The ruling of Mattathias is significant because it was the first of many such rulings designed to liberalize the restrictions of Sabbath observance. Many ways were found to get around the letter of the law. The motive for the extended casuistry on the Sabbath was undoubtedly to make the law more practicable, but it led to many fanciful and far-fetched interpretations. For example, from the rabbinical interpretation of the command in Exodus 16:29 to “remain every man of you in his place” on the Sabbath day, it was determined that a Sabbath day’s journey might not exceed two thousand cubits beyond one’s dwelling. However, if a man had deposited at that distance on the day preceding the Sabbath enough food for two meals, he thereby constituted it his dwelling, and hence might go on for another two thousand cubits. Similarly, if families living in private houses which opened into a common court deposited food in the court before the Sabbath, thereby establishing a “connection” between the houses and making them one dwelling, they were permitted to carry things from one house to another without breaking the law (A. Edersheim, “The Life and times of Jesus the Messiah,” Vol. II, p. 777).
One of the outstanding features of this period was the rise of the synagogue. The synagogue became the center of the religious life of Judaism, not only in those places which were far removed from Jerusalem, but also alongside the Temple in Jerusalem. Attendance at the synagogue became customary on the Sabbath day (Luke 4:16). The Hebrew Sabbath became distinctively a day of worship, a worship connected largely with the synagogue.
D. The Sabbath in the New Testament period.
1. Jesus and the Sabbath.
At the beginning of the New Testament period, the true meaning of the Sabbath had been obscured by the multitudinous restrictions laid upon its observance. Sabbath observance had largely become external and formal. Men had become more concerned for the punctilious observance of a day than for the poignant needs of human beings. It was inevitable that Jesus should come into conflict with the Jewish leaders over the Sabbath. It was Jesus’ custom to attend the synagogue on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16; Mark 1:21; 3:1; Luke 13:10). In His teaching He upheld the authority and validity of the Old Testament law (Matt 5:17-20; 15:1-6; 19:16-19; 22:35-40; Luke 16:17) His emphasis, however, was not on an external observance of the law, but on a spontaneous performance of the will of God which underlay the law (Matt 5:21-48; 19:3-9). Jesus sought to clarify the true meaning of the Sabbath by showing the original purpose for its institution: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
On six different occasions Jesus came into direct conflict with Jewish prejudices in regard to the Sabbath. He defended His disciples for plucking grain on the Sabbath by alluding to the time when David and his men ate the bread of the Presence (Matt 12:1-4; Mark 2:23-26; Luke 6:1-4). By so doing, Jesus placed the Sabbath commandment in the same class as the ceremonial law which prohibited the eating of this sacred bread by others than the priests, and taught that human need had precedence over the legal requirements of the Sabbath. He also reminded His critics that the priests in the Temple profaned the Sabbath and were guiltless (Matt 12:5). He no doubt referred to the practice prescribed by the law of circumcising a male child on the Sabbath if that were the eighth day after his birth (Lev 12:3; John 7:22, 23). Thus the ceremonial law requiring the circumcision of the child on the eighth day took precedence over the law of the Sabbath. It was on this same occasion that Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27), indicating that He regarded the Sabbath as a provision for man’s need and welfare and not as a burdensome legal requirement. It was also on this occasion that Jesus asserted His lordship over the Sabbath (Matt 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5).
Jesus expressed anger over those Jews at the synagogue in Capernaum who showed more concern for the punctilious observance of the Sabbath than for a human being who was deprived of the use of a hand, and proceeded to heal the man before them all (Mark 3:1-5). On another occasion, when the ruler of the synagogue became indignant because Jesus healed a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years, He defended His action by appealing to the common practice of untying one’s domestic animals to lead them to water on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17). Again, when Jesus, under the critical eye of the Pharisees, healed a man on the Sabbath who had dropsy, He defended His action by asking if His critics would not rescue an ox or a donkey that had fallen into a well on that day (14:1-6).
The remaining two occasions when Jesus’ action on the Sabbath brought Him into conflict with the Jewish leaders are recorded by John. One was the healing of the sick man at the pool of Bethzatha (John 5:1-18); the other was the healing of the man born blind (9:1-41). On the first of these occasions Jesus defended His right to heal on the Sabbath on the grounds that His Father did not suspend His beneficent activity on that day (5:17) and on the second occasion He condemned the spiritual blindness of the Pharisees (9:40, 41).
In all of these instances, Jesus showed that He placed human need above the mere external observance of the Sabbath. Jesus never did or said anything to suggest that He intended to take away from man the privileges afforded by such a day of rest. On the other hand, it cannot be said that Jesus intended to perpetuate the Hebrew Sabbath or extend its application to all men. As far as the record of the gospels is concerned, He never made mention of the fourth commandment. By emphasizing the principles which lay back of the law, the spirit and purpose of the law instead of its formal and external regulations, He prepared the way for the abolishing of all the external laws and ordinances of the Old Testament.
2. Paul and the Sabbath.
The early Christians were loyal Jews. They worshiped daily in the Temple at Jerusalem (Acts 2:46; 5:42). They attended services in the synagogue (Acts 9:20; 13:14; 14:1; 17:1, 2, 10; 18:4). They revered the law of Moses (21:20). The Jewish Christians undoubtedly continued to observe the Sabbath. When Gentiles were brought into the Christian community, a problem arose with regard to their relation to the Jewish law. There were those who insisted that it was necessary for them to submit to the rite of circumcision and keep the law of Moses, which would, of course, include the Sabbath command (Acts 15:1, 5; Gal 2:3-5). Others, of whom Paul became the leader, affirmed that it was not necessary for the Gentile converts to accept the religion of Judaism. Paul argued that, since they had received the Spirit without observing Jewish law, they were not obligated to adopt Jewish ceremonial [laws] in order to live righteously (Gal 3:2-3; Acts 15:7-10).
The Apostle Paul regarded the law as a yoke of bondage from which the Christian had been set free (Gal 5:1). In his “revolt against external law” (P. Cotton, “From Sabbath to Sunday,” p. 11), Paul made no distinction between moral and ceremonial law. It was all a part of that old covenant which was done away in Christ (2 Cor 3:14). The Sabbath is definitely included in “the bond which stood against us with its legal demands,” which, Paul declares, God canceled and set aside, “nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:14). It is mentioned along with festivals and new moons, all of which are declared to be “only a shadow of what is to come” (2:16, 17). To “observe days, and months, and seasons, and years” is to be slaves to “the weak and beggarly elemental spirits” (Gal 4:9, 10; Col 2:20). The observance of days is a characteristic of “the man who is weak in faith” (Rom 14:1-15).
Paul provides no grounds for imposing the Hebrew Sabbath on the Christian. The Christian is free from the burden of the law. The Spirit of Christ enables him to fulfill God’s will apart from external observance of the law’s demands. The author of Hebrews likewise speaks of the Hebrew Sabbath only as a type of “God’s rest,” which is the inheritance of all the people of God (Heb 4:1-10). He does not tell his readers to keep the Sabbath, but rather urges them to “strive to enter that rest” (4:11).
E. The Sabbath in the post-New Testament period.
The Early Church Fathers of the 2nd and 3rd Christian centuries were practically unanimous in their view of the Hebrew Sabbath. Some insisted that it was completely abrogated; others emphasized its typical character; but all agreed that it was not binding on the Christian. Ignatius, the disciple of the Apostle John, and the bishop of Antioch, wrote to the Magnesians in the early years of the 2nd century: “Be not deceived with strange doctrines, nor with old fables. For if we still live according to the Jewish law, we acknowledge that we have not received grace”; and then goes on to categorize his readers as “those who were brought up in the ancient order of things” but who “have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath” (“The Ante-Nicene Fathers,” Vol. I, pp. 62, 63).
Justin Martyr, the first great Christian apologist around the middle of the 2nd century, explains in his “Dialogue with Trypho” why the Christians do not keep the law of Moses, submit to circumcision, or observe the Sabbath. He asserts that:
(1) True Sabbath observance under the new covenant is the keeping of a perpetual Sabbath which consists of turning from sin.
(2) The righteous men of old, Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, and the like, pleased God without keeping Sabbath.
(3) God imposed the Sabbath upon the Israelites because of unrighteousness and hardness of heart
(“The Ante-Nicene Fathers,” Vol. I, pp. 199, 200, 204, 207).
Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons during the latter part of the 2nd century, viewed the Sabbath as symbolical of the future kingdom of God, “in which the man who shall have persevered in serving God shall, in a state of rest, partake of God’s table” (“Against Heresies, Book IV, Chap. 16, The Ante-Nicene Fathers,” Vol. I, p. 481). He cites Abraham as an example of one who believed God “without circumcision and without observance of Sabbaths” (ibid.).
Clement of Alexandria, writing in “The Stromata” around the close of the 2nd century, says: “The Sabbath, by abstinence from evil, seems to indicate self-restraint” (Book VII, Chap. 12, “The Ante-Nicene Fathers,” Vol. II, p. 545).
Tertullian, at the beginning of the 3rd century, says: “We have nothing to do with Sabbaths or the other Jewish festivals, much less with those of the heathen” (“On Idolatry,” Chap. 14, “The Ante-Nicene Fathers,” Vol. III, p. 70). In another work he says that those who would contend for the continued obligation of Sabbath-keeping and circumcision must show that Adam and Abel, Noah and Enoch, and Melchizedek and Lot also observed these things. He goes on to say that the Sabbath was figurative of rest from sin and typical of man’s final rest in God. It, together with the other ceremonial regulations of the law, was only intended to last until a new Lawgiver should arise who should introduce the realities of which these were shadows (“An Answer to the Jews,” Chap. 2, “The Ante-Nicene Fathers,” Vol. III, pp. 153, 155, 156).
The Hebrew Sabbath has, of course, continued to be observed by non-Christian Jews to the present time. During the first centuries some Jewish Christians also continued the practice of observing the seventh day of the week as well as the assembly for worship on the first day of the week. But their influence on Christianity, though discernible for several centuries, especially in the East, dwindled rapidly after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (P. Cotton, “From Sabbath to Sunday,” pp. 58-63). The testimony of the ante-Nicene fathers is that for the vast majority of Christians, the Sabbath was a Jewish institution which was not binding on Christian believers.
III. VIEWS OF THE CHRISTIAN’S OBLIGATION TO KEEP THE SABBATH
A. The “Christian Sabbath” view.
This view holds that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath, the observance of which is a moral obligation based on the fourth commandment of the Decalogue. Philip Schaff, the church historian of England, calls it the “Anglo-American theory” because it has been so widely held in Great Britain and the United States. He traces its origin to the Puritans at the close of the 16th cent. (P. Schaff, “History of the Christian Church,” Vol. VI, p. 494).
This view emphasizes the divine institution of the Sabbath at the close of creation. God’s blessing and sanctification of the seventh day is taken to mean that He intended one day in seven to be observed by all men in all ages as a sacred day of rest and worship. The fourth commandment of the Decalogue, which alludes to the primeval institution of the Sabbath, is regarded as a moral command, and therefore of universal and perpetual obligation. It is argued that the day of the week on which the Sabbath is to be kept was not of the essence of the law, but rather the observance of one day in every seven. Jesus affirmed that He was “Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28) and therefore had the authority to change the day of its observance. It usually is held that this change took place during the forty days between Christ’s resurrection and ascension, when He spoke to them concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
Sabbatarians insist that Jesus intended to perpetuate the Sabbath and extend its application to all men. Much stress is laid on the statement of Jesus, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27), as evidence that Jesus regarded the Sabbath as an institution which is grounded in the very constitution of man, and which was instituted by God from the very beginning not only for Israel but for the whole human race (W. F. Crafts, “The Sabbath for Man,” p. 366). The teachings of Paul regarding the Sabbath are taken to refer only to the Jewish Sabbath and not to the “Christian Sabbath.”
This view has appealed to many Christians because it seeks to establish a firm Scriptural basis for the observance of Sunday by grounding its observance on the fourth commandment. The Bible does teach that God instituted the Sabbath at the close of creation (Gen 2:3). The Sabbath is identified as “the seventh day” (Gen 2:3; Exod 16:29; 20:10; Deut 5:14), not as one day in seven. There is a moral element in the fourth commandment, for it provides for the worship of God. There are, however, also ceremonial elements in the commandment which applied only to the Israelites. While this command is included among the moral laws of the Decalogue, it is also included among those civil and religious observances which were obviously temporal and provisional. Jesus Himself treated the Sabbath law as ceremonial when He defended His disciples for plucking grain on the Sabbath. A moral law could never be suspended by circumstances of hunger or by the requirements of a merely ceremonial regulation. Paul made no distinction between ceremonial and moral laws when he declared that all external law is abrogated for the Christian.
The basic weakness of this theory is the teaching that a change was made in the day of the week to be observed as the Sabbath. There is not the slightest hint in the New Testament that Jesus transferred the Sabbath to another day of the week, nor that anyone else did so. Furthermore, if one insists on the perpetual and universal obligation of the fourth commandment, and at the same time recognizes that there is no New Testament ground for a change in the day of its observance, the only logical position to which he is forced is to maintain that the seventh day of the week, and not the first day, should be observed as the Sabbath, as the fourth commandment stipulates. This is precisely the position which is taken by the Seventh-day sabbatarians.
B. The seventh-day Sabbath view.
This view, held by the Seventh-day Baptists who originated in England in the 17th century, and by the Seventh-day Adventists who originated in America in the 19th century, insists that Christians are obligated to keep the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. In support of this position, they appeal largely to the Old Testament, especially to the language of the fourth commandment, which, they point out, clearly states that the seventh day is the Sabbath, appointed by God to commemorate His work of creation. The Ten Commandments are referred to as “the law of God,” to be distinguished from the ceremonial and civil laws which are called “the law of Moses” (A. L. Baker, “Belief and Work of Seventh-Day Adventists,” p. 74).
The seventh-day sabbatarians also find evidence for the observance of the seventh day in the New Testament. They appeal to the practice of Jesus and the apostles of attending the synagogue on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16; Acts 13:14, 42; 16:13; 17:1-2; 18:4). They appeal to Jesus’ prophecy regarding the destruction of Jerusalem and His exhortation that His disciples pray that their flight should not be on the Sabbath (Matt 24:20). They even contend that the reference in Revelation 1:10 to “the Lord’s day” is a reference to the seventh-day Sabbath (ibid., pp. 73, 74).
Since, according to the Seventh-day Adventists, it is useless to search for the change from seventh day observance to first day observance in the New Testament, they assert that this change was made by the Roman Catholic Church. They teach that, during the early centuries of the Church, a great apostasy set in, in which the pagan festival of Sunday was gradually substituted for the ancient Sabbath by “unconsecrated leaders of the Church” and by the half-pagan emperor Constantine (E. G. White, “The Great Controversy,” pp. 58, 59).
The insistence of seventh-day sabbatarians on the wholly moral character of the fourth commandment and on its perpetual and universal obligation is based upon statements which find no support in the Bible. They ignore the clear statements that the fourth commandment was addressed to the Israelites whom the LORD had delivered from Egypt. Moreover, the distinction which they make between “the law of God” and “the law of Moses” is not supported by Scripture. Likewise, their interpretation of the words of Christ and of Paul which are quoted in defense of the perpetuity of the Sabbath command, if pressed to its logical conclusion, proves too much. The word “law” as used by Jesus and Paul refers to more than just the Ten Commandments. Seventh-day sabbatarians do not insist that all the laws of the Mosaic legislation are meant to be observed by Christians in this age. But, they fail to see that Paul definitely included the Sabbath command among those ordinances which were done away in Christ. Their claim that the Roman Catholic Church changed the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day of the week is without foundation. In spite of some Roman Catholic writers that claim that such a change was made by “the Catholic Church,” the evidence from the Early Church Fathers is conclusive that these early church leaders did not regard Sunday as a continuation of the Hebrew Sabbath.
While later writers came to think of Sunday as bearing some analogy to the Hebrew Sabbath, and others called the Christian holy day a Sabbath (Eusebius, “Commentary on the Ninety-first Psalm,” quoted by J. A. Hessey, “Sunday,” pp. 299, 300; Alcuin, “Homily 18, post Pentecost,” quoted by A. E. J. Rawlinson, “The World’s Question and the Christian Answer,” p. 78; P. Alphonsus quoted by Hessey, “Sunday,” p. 903), they grounded its observance more on the authority of the Church than on the fourth commandment. The Reformers, although they advocated the Christian observance of Sunday, did not base its observance on the Sabbath command.
R. L. Dabney, “The Christian Sabbath: Its Nature, Design and Proper Observance” (1882)
W. F. Crafts, “The Sabbath for Man” (1985)
W. W. Everts, “The Sabbath: Its Permanence, Promise and Defence” (1885)
A. E. Waffle, “The Lord’s Day: Its Universal and Perpetual Obligation” (1885)
J. A. Hessey, “Sunday: Its Origin, History and Present Obligation” (1889)
W. D. Love, “Sabbath and Sunday” (1896)
H. R. Gamble, “Sunday and the Sabbath” (1901)
A. A. Hodge, “The Day Changed and the Sabbath Preserved” (1916)
E. G. White, “The Great Controversy” (1926)
B. S. Easton, “Lord’s Day,” ISBE (1930)
J. R. Sampey, “Sabbath,” ISBE (1930)
G. F. Moore, “Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era,” Vol. II (1932)
P. Cotton, “From Sabbath to Sunday” (1933)
J. P. Hutchison, “Our Obligations to the Day of Rest and Worship” (1942)
A. E. Miligram, “Sabbath: The Day of Delight” (1944)
A. E. J. Rawlinson, “The World’s Question and the Christian Answer” (1944)
G. H. Waterman, “The Origin and History of the Christian Sunday”
(Unpublished Master’s thesis, Wheaton College, 1948)
W. Rordorf, “Sunday: The History of the Day of Rest and Worship in the Earliest Centuries of the Christian Church” (1968)
The preceding historical account of the Sabbath was taken from the book Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible edited by M. C. Tenny.
Copyright 1975, 1976 by the Zondervan Publishing House. Used by Permission.
The following is a listing of all the verses of the Bible which reference the Sabbath. These are provided for you own personal study.
Taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
GEN 2:2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
EXO 16:5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much–two omers for each person–and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses.
23 He said to them, “This is what the LORD commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.'”
24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it.
25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a Sabbath to the LORD. You will not find any of it on the ground today.
26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”
27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none.
28 Then the LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?
29 Bear in mind that the LORD has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day; no one is to go out.”
30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
23:12 “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed.
31:13 “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.
14 “‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people.
15 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death.
16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.
17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.'”
34:21 “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.
35:2 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.
3 Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”
LEV 19:3 “‘Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.
30 “‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD.
23:1 The LORD said to Moses,
2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.
3 “‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD.
27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire.
28 Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God.
29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people.
30 I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day.
31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
32 It is a Sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your Sabbath.”
24:8 This bread is to be set out before the LORD regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant.
26:2 “‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD.
34 Then the land will enjoy its Sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its Sabbaths.
35 All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the Sabbaths you lived in it.
NUM 15:32 While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day.
33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly,
34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.
35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.”
36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses.
28:9 “‘On the Sabbath day, make an offering of two lambs a year old without defect, together with its drink offering and a grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil.
10 This is the burnt offering for every Sabbath, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its drink offering.
DEU 5:12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.
13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do.
15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.
2KI 4:23 “Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.” “It’s all right,” she said.
2CH 36:21 The land enjoyed its Sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah.
NEH 9:13 “You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good.
14 You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses.
10:31 “When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day. Every seventh year we will forgo working the land and will cancel all debts.
13:15 In those days I saw men in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day.
16 Men from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath to the people of Judah.
17 I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing–desecrating the Sabbath day?
18 Didn’t your forefathers do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity upon us and upon this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.”
19 When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day.
20 Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem.
21 But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath.
22 Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember me for this also, O my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.
PSA 92:1 It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High,
2 to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,
3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.
4 For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.
5 How great are your works, O LORD, how profound your thoughts!
6 The senseless man does not know, fools do not understand,
7 that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be forever destroyed.
8 But you, O LORD, are exalted forever.
9 For surely your enemies, O LORD, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered.
10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured upon me.
11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
118:24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
ISA 1:13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations–I cannot bear your evil assemblies.
56:2 Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
4 For this is what the LORD says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant–
5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.
6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant–
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
58:13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’S holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the LORD has spoken.
66:23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD.
JER 17:21 This is what the LORD says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem.
22 Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers.
24 But if you are careful to obey me, declares the LORD, and bring no load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy by not doing any work on it,
25 then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this city with their officials. They and their officials will come riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by the men of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, and this city will be inhabited forever.
27 But if you do not obey me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses.'”
LAM 1:7 In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into enemy hands, there was no one to help her. Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction.
2:6 He has laid waste his dwelling like a garden; he has destroyed his place of meeting. The LORD has made Zion forget her appointed feasts and her Sabbaths; in his fierce anger he has spurned both king and priest.
EZE 20:12 Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the LORD made them holy.
13 “‘Yet the people of Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They did not follow my decrees but rejected my laws–although the man who obeys them will live by them–and they utterly desecrated my Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and destroy them in the desert.
16 because they rejected my laws and did not follow my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths. For their hearts were devoted to their idols.
22:8 You have despised my holy things and desecrated my Sabbaths.
23:38 They have also done this to me: At that same time they defiled my sanctuary and desecrated my Sabbaths.
44:24 “‘In any dispute, the priests are to serve as judges and decide it according to my ordinances. They are to keep my laws and my decrees for all my appointed feasts, and they are to keep my Sabbaths holy.
46:1 “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The gate of the inner court facing east is to be shut on the six working days, but on the Sabbath day and on the day of the New Moon it is to be opened.
3 On the Sabbaths and New Moons the people of the land are to worship in the presence of the LORD at the entrance to that gateway.
4 The burnt offering the prince brings to the LORD on the Sabbath day is to be six male lambs and a ram, all without defect.
5 The grain offering given with the ram is to be an ephah, and the grain offering with the lambs is to be as much as he pleases, along with a hin of oil for each ephah.
HOS 2:11 I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days–all her appointed feasts.
AMO 8:5 saying, “When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?”– skimping the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales,
MAT 12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.
2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
3 He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread–which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.
5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent?
6 I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.
7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?
12 How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.
24:20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.
27:62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate.
MAR 2:27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
6:2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!
15:42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached,
16:1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.
9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.
LUK 4:16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.
31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people.
6:6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled.
13:10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues,
11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.
12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”
13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?
16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
14:1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.
2 There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy.
3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?”
4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.
5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?”
6 And they had nothing to say.
23:54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
JOH 5:5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,
10 and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.'”
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
7:21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all astonished.
22 Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath.
23 Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath?
24 Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”
19:31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.
20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
ACT 13:14 From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down.
27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.
42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.
44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
15:21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
16:13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.
17:2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
18:4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
20:7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.
1CO 16:2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
COL 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
HEB 4:4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.”
REV 1:10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,
Transcribed and added to Bible Bulletin Board’s “MacArthur Collection” by:
Bible Bulletin Board
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