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Should Christians Keep the Sabbath?


In this fourth episode in our Ten Commandments Series titled, "Should Christians Keep the Sabbath?", we explore the relevance of the Sabbath for Christians under the New Covenant. Contrary to popular belief, Christians should observe the Sabbath as a day of rest based on seven biblical facts:

First, the Sabbath was established by God at creation — not just for the Israelites but for all humanity. It predates the ceremonial laws of Moses, indicating its enduring significance. Second, the Sabbath is identified as the seventh day of the week, which is Saturday, not Sunday. This is supported by linguistic evidence across various languages where the word for Saturday is derived from "Sabbath."

Third, the Sabbath was made for all humanity, not just the Israelites, as a day of rest and worship. Fourth, both Jesus (Yahshua) and the early Church observed the Sabbath, indicating its continued relevance in the New Testament era. Fifth, the Sabbath is a commandment, not a suggestion, and is integral to God's law.

Sixth, the Sabbath command is implicitly present in the New Testament, as the early Christian community continued to observe it. In the seventh and last point, we address the historical shift from Saturday to Sunday worship. This is due to human decisions rather than divine instruction, most especially Emperor Constantine and the Catholic Church.

Upholding the Sabbath is not only a matter of obedience but also a source of blessings. Consider these truths seriously and embrace the Sabbath as a sacred practice aligned with God's will.

Full Transcript

Are Christians still required to keep the Sabbath under the New Covenant? Or was the Sabbath exclusively for the Jews or the ancient Israelites under the Old Covenant? In this episode, I will share with you seven biblical facts — seven good reasons — why Christians today ought to remember and keep God’s Sabbath holy. Let’s discuss.

In our last episode in this series on the Ten Commandments, we discussed the Third Commandment about taking God’s name in vain. In this episode, we will turn our attention to the “forgotten commandment” — the Fourth Commandment about keeping God’s Sabbath holy.

A majority of professing Christians and preachers believe and even teach that the Sabbath is no longer to be observed today. They assume it is obsolete, “Old Covenant,” and part of the ceremonial laws of Moses that were abolished by the death of Christ. They even say that nine of the Ten Commandments were repeated in the New Testament, but only the Sabbath was not.

Are these assertions true? Let’s find out — directly from the Word of God.

The Fourth Commandment is utterly unique in the Ten Commandments. It is the only commandment that begins with the word “remember.” But sadly and ironically, this is the one commandment that most professing Christians forget! In this episode, I will share with you seven indisputable FACTS — seven biblical truths — about the Sabbath. I will prove to you, beyond a show of a doubt, why New Testament Christians must keep God’s Sabbath today.

Here is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, thundered from Mount Sinai:

Exodus 20:8-11 — “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”

This leads us to our very first point.

1. The Sabbath was established by God (YHWH) at creation.

The Eternal said “remember.” This is not the first time He is giving the Sabbath command — it had already existed for centuries! He is just bringing the Israelites all the way back to creation:

“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”

It should be obvious that the Sabbath is a creational law, not a ceremonial law. It pre-dated and preceded the Old Covenant at Mount Sinai. Therefore, the Sabbath was never abrogated when the Old Covenant was superseded by the New Covenant. Our being “New Covenant” Christians does not — in any way, shape, or form — give us license to ignore or break the Sabbath.

2. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week (Saturday).

The seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God… the LORD… rested the seventh day.”

These phrases don’t mean “one day in seven.” The true Sabbath day is, was, and always will be Saturday, not Sunday. In fact, in more than 100 ancient and modern languages, the seventh day of the week (Saturday) was named “Sabbath” or its equivalent. In contrast, there is no language where the word “Sabbath” means the first day of the week (or Sunday). Clearly, Sunday was never considered the biblical Sabbath. As proof, here is a list of names for the seventh day of the week, Saturday, in 26 languages in which the root word Sabbath is still easily recognizable:

  1. Arabic: Sabet
  2. Armenian: Shabat
  3. Bosnian: Subota
  4. Bulgarian: Sabota
  5. Corsican: Sàbatu
  6. Croatian: Subota
  7. Czech: Sobota
  8. Georgian: Sabati
  9. Greek: Savvato
  10. Hebrew: Shabbat
  11. Hungarian: Szombat
  12. Indonesian: Sabtu
  13. Italian: Sabato
  14. Latin: Sabbatum
  15. Maltese: is-Sibt
  16. Polish: Sobota
  17. Portuguese: Sábado
  18. Romanian: Sambata
  19. Russian: Subbota
  20. Serbian: Subota
  21. Slovak: Sobota
  22. Slovene: Sobota
  23. Somali: Sabti
  24. Spanish: Sabado
  25. Sudanese: Saptu
  26. Ukranian: Subota

The true biblical Sabbath is Saturday — or the 24-hour period from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. The Sabbath command is more than a “principle” of rest. It doesn’t mean setting aside a day of the week — any day — as long as it’s “one day in seven.” It only means the seventh day.

3. The Sabbath is a blessing for both Israelite and Gentile.

Contrary to what many believe and teach, the Sabbath wasn’t made exclusively for the Jews or the ancient Israelites. The Sabbath was intended and created to be a blessing for all humanity. God our Creator knows we cannot keep working nonstop — seven days a week without a break — and still be healthy and enjoy life to the fullest. So Christ, when He was here on earth, said:

Mark 2:27 — “The Sabbath was made for man [Gk. anthropos], and not man for the Sabbath.

The word “shabbat” means to cease or stop — all our activities of earning a living. Keeping the Sabbath is a matter of faith — that God will take care of us and provide for all our needs.

In fact, in the millennial Kingdom, when Christ will set up His government here on earth, the true Sabbath will be restored to its rightful place and will be required to be observed by all humanity:

Isaiah 66:23 — And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh [all humanity] shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD.

But didn’t God say the Sabbath is a sign between Him and His people, Israel? Let’s examine it:

Exodus 31:13 — “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

What many people don’t realize or understand is that Christians are spiritual Israelites. There is no separate covenant for the Gentiles. Even the New Covenant was made with the Israelites:

Jeremiah 31:31 — “Behold, the days are coming, says [YHWH], when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— [no mention of Gentiles here]

God nowhere says that He will make a New Covenant with the Gentiles. The Gentiles have to be grafted into Israel. So whether an Israelite by race or by grace, they are “the Israel of God.”

Galatians 3:28 — There is neither Jew nor Greek [or Gentile], there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in [Messiah Yahshua].

The Galatians were not native-born Israelites, but were Gentiles. Yet Paul knew who they were:

Galatians 6:16 — And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

4. Yahshua (Jesus) and the early Church kept the Sabbath.

It is a fact that Yahshua the Messiah (aka Jesus Christ) kept the Sabbath as His custom was — not because He was Jewish or because He was still living under the Old Covenant, but because the Sabbath has never been abolished, and He was obedient in keeping God’s commandments!

The early New Testament Church likewise kept the Sabbath following in the footsteps of Christ.

Some people think that Acts 20:7 proves that the early apostolic Church worshiped on Sunday. This is a mistake. The event in question was not a Sunday “communion” service, but a normal meal on a Saturday evening. A new biblical day begins at sunset the day before, so a dinner at the end of the seventh day Sabbath (Saturday) is already considered the first day of the week.

Still some others use 1 Corinthians 16:2 to say that the early Church worshiped on Sunday. This again is another mistake. This was not a collection on a Sunday morning service, but a normal work day where the people were to set aside a gift for the brethren suffering a famine in Judea.

The teaching that the original apostolic Church worshiped on Sunday comes from the false belief that Christ was resurrected on a Sunday morning. The fact is, Jesus Christ (or His real name, Yahshua the Messiah) was not resurrected on a Sunday morning, but just before sunset at the end of the weekly Sabbath (Saturday) — exactly 72 hours after He was buried. For more information about this topic, please watch our video: “Did Jesus Really Die on Good Friday?”

5. The Sabbath is not a suggestion, but a commandment.

Many people seem to forget that keeping the Sabbath is not one of the “Ten Suggestions,” but one of the “Ten Commandments.” Keeping the Sabbath is not optional, but mandatory.

Some people will quote Romans 14:5 in support of their belief that it doesn’t matter which day we worship God. But this passage is not talking about the Sabbath, but fast days. God didn’t give us the prerogative to decide which day we will worship Him — but only whether we will worship Him on the day He has set apart as holy. Only God, not man, can make a day holy.

Some would also like to quote 1 Corinthians 8:9 to show that Sabbath-keepers have a weak conscience. However, this conclusion is unwarranted. 1 Corinthians 8 is not talking about the Sabbath at all — but eating meat offered to idols. Even if a certain kind of meat is “kosher,” clean, or biblically approved according to Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, there are those who will abstain if it had been sacrificed to an idol. Those who are such eat only vegetables. Those are the people Paul classifies as “weak.” But he is not talking about Sabbath-keepers here at all.

Finally, some use Colossians 2:16-17 to somehow prove that Christians are not to be judged for not keeping the Sabbath. However, a thorough examination of the text shows that this verse proves the opposite. The Colossian Christians were being judged by the unbelievers for [their manner of] keeping the Sabbath, the annual Holy Days, the food laws, and the New Moons.

6. The Sabbath command is repeated in the New Testament.

Some people say we no longer have to keep the Sabbath because it is the only commandment in the Ten that is not repeated in the New Testament — unlike the other nine.

But the fact is, there was no need for the Sabbath command to be repeated in the New Testament, since the Sabbath is the only command that begins with the word “remember.” The people to whom Christ and the apostles preached would never have imagined that it needed to be repeated. For example, why don’t we find any written reminders for Filipinos to eat rice? Why, that would be ridiculous and so obvious!

The Scriptures that would later be called the Old Testament were the Bible of the Jews, their guide for living. The Holy Scriptures clearly commanded them to keep the Sabbath, and the common people accepted it as God's inspired instruction.

Christ and the apostles lived and taught in a Sabbath-keeping society. Yahshua’s confrontations with the Pharisees were over how to observe the Sabbath, never over whether to observe it.

Sabbath observance was well known in other parts of the Roman Empire. Notice this quote from the first-century historian Josephus:

“The multitude of mankind itself have had a great inclination for a long time to follow our religious observances; for there is not any city of the Grecians, nor any of the barbarians, nor any nation whatsoever, whither our custom of resting on the seventh day hath not come . . . As God himself pervades all the world, so hath our law passed through all the world also” (Against Apion, Book 2, chap. 40).

Even though there was no need to repeat the Sabbath command, God made sure to repeat it in the book of transformations, Hebrews.

Notice Hebrews 4:9 — “There remains therefore a rest [in Greek, sabbatismos — a literal “keeping of the Sabbath”] for the people of God.”

In his book The Sabbath in the New Testament, Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi wrote:

“The Sabbath rest that remains for the people of God (4:9) is not a day of mere idleness for the author of Hebrews, but rather an opportunity renewed every week to enter God’s rest, that is, to free oneself from the cares of work in order to experience freely by faith God’s creation and redemption rest.

“‘The Sabbath rest that remains for the people of God’ (Heb 4:9) is not only a physical cessation from work to commemorate God’s perfect creation but also a spiritual entering into God’s rest (Heb 4:10) made possible through Christ’s complete redemption. The physical act of resting becomes the vehicle through which one experiences the spiritual rest. We cease from our daily work to allow God to work in us more freely and fully” (1985, pp. 76-77).

7. God did not change His Sabbath to Sunday, humans did.

Here is an Old Testament prophecy that a power would seek to change the official rest day:

Daniel 7:25 — He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.

Here is how this prophecy has been fulfilled in history:

1. On March 7, A.D. 321, Emperor Constantine made Sunday the official rest day.

2. In A.D. 325, Pope Sylvester I officially named Sunday “the Lord's Day.”

3. In A.D. 338, Eusebius, the court bishop of Constantine, wrote:

“All things whatsoever that it was the duty to do on the Sabbath (the seventh day of the week) we (Constantine, Eusebius, and other bishops) have transferred to the Lord's Day (the first day of the week) as more appropriately belonging to it.”

4. In A.D. 363-364, the Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea (Canon 29) outlawed the keeping of the Sabbath (Saturday), and encouraged rest on Sunday, essentially transferring the solemnity of the Sabbath to Sunday:

“Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.”

Summary and Conclusion

In conclusion, we have established the following seven facts and reasons:

  1. The Sabbath was established by God (YHWH) at creation.
  2. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week (Saturday).
  3. The Sabbath is a blessing for both Israelite and Gentile.
  4. Yahshua (Jesus) and the early Church kept the Sabbath.
  5. The Sabbath is not a suggestion, but a commandment.
  6. The Sabbath command is repeated in the New Testament.
  7. God did not change His Sabbath to Sunday, humans did.

Knowing what you know now, you are left with a choice: Obey the commandment of men — to keep Sunday, or any day of your own choosing, or no particular day at all — and reap the curses of disobedience. Or obey God’s commandment to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” and reap the blessings of obedience. I hope and pray you will make the right choice.

Until next time, this is Daniel Macaraeg of BiblicalTruths TV, reminding you to always be growing, to always be giving, and to always be grateful.


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