Thought for the Day, June 29, 2022,
The Christian Sabbath
Is there such a thing as a Christian Sabbath?
The Biblical accounting of days is an evening and a morning. (Ge.1.5) As we know, there are seven cycles of these days which make up one week: day one through day seven. Being these days begin a little differently than we are familiar with today it is necessary to point out that the seventh day of the week begins on our Friday evening and ends at the beginning of our Saturday evening. This order of days has not changed since creation. In the day that the LORD declared that HE finished or ended His creation, then He rested. There in Ge. 2.2 it reads ... and he rested. Rest in the Hebrew language is sabbath.
The English word Sabbath is first used in the Bible in Exodus 16.23. There the LORD chided Israel for gathering more manna than was their daily need. Only on one day, the day before the Sabbath day, Israel was to gather in a double-portion of manna to eat because the LORD would rest on the next day, the Sabbath day. In other words He ceased with sending manna on the seventh day of the week. From creation to the history of Ex.16.23, ONLY the LORD is said to have rested on the Sabbath. No man is said to have observed a Sabbath day UNTIL the giving of the Law at Sinai. (cf. Ex. 20.8-11) Such rest was historically unknown to all that lived prior to the giving of the Law at Sinai. If Adam, Cain, Abel, Seth, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and all of those prior to Sinai knew anything of Sabbath it was that the LORD rested in it. Otherwise, there is no evidence that any man, prior to the giving of the Law at Sinai, observed the Sabbath, much less, that there was a commandment for man to observe the Sabbath.
The giving of the Law at Sinai marks the first occasion when man was commanded to rest on the seventh day. To whom was this Law specifically directed? It was directed to Israel, not the gentiles. Ex.20.2, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Again, Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD ...Deu.6.4. Since the Sabbath was given to Israel then how can it be a Christian observance? But our Lord Jesus observed Sabbath! The early disciples of the first churches observed Sabbath and went to synagogues and the Temple! It must be Christian, right? Well, our Lord Jesus and His disciples did not observe Sabbath because they were Christian, but because they were Jews of the nation of Israel. With this in mind, I believe it is correct to point out that Christ’s disciples’ attitude toward the Sabbath and the whole law of Moses began to change after Christ’s ascension into glory. It was during the history of the Acts of the Apostles that the messianic Jews began to see over the next 40 years the necessity to leave behind the old practices of what now is called Judaism to follow after the commandments of Christ. In this way the believing Jews joined together with the believing Gentiles in one body, by one Spirit, in one government, eating the same things and worshipping the same God on any day they deemed fit to gather together in the name of the Lord Jesus. The Sabbath observance, the dietary laws (Acts 10.13), the religious Sabbath holidays (Col.2.16), tithing (!!!), and circumcision were past for the New Testament faithful whether they were Jew or Gentile. So, Christian Jews and Gentiles have no Sabbath day observance.
Let’s not confuse the issue. Sunday is not a Sabbath. It should never be called a Sabbath! That notion is a Catholic and Protestant error! How can the first day of the week be the seventh day of the week? Where is it in the New Testament that the saints began to call the first day of the week the Sabbath? Now, we know that a pattern of the churches assembling together on the first day of the week became a regular practice. After all, this was the day that the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead. This was a great day for the saints of God. But they met, first of all, because of the necessity to fellowship, not because of a commandment to meet on any particular day. The truth is, churches may assemble together on any day they choose.
So, to whom was the 7th Day Sabbath given? Israel. Are Christians bound to observe Sabbath? No. Is Sunday the Sabbath? No. And there is no such thing as a Christian Sabbath!