Some things to consider about the Sabbath

Some say that to please God one must believe in Jesus, renounce and repent of all your sins, AND keep the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath.  This is what we will look into in this article.

There are only two instances in Scripture where God spoke audibly to all who were present.  One was at the baptism of Jesus (Matt. 3:16 -17) and the other when God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, shortly after they left Egypt .  Below is a quote from one of these two instances.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.  ‘For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.”
Exodus 20:8-11

Here God told the Israelites not to work on the sabbath, or seventh day of each week, but to rest: even as God rested after creating the heavens and the earth – including its plants, trees, animals and birds – in only six days.

So the first question we ask of Sabbath keepers is this: Do you believe God created the heavens and the earth in only six literal days?  If not then why take the seventh day seriously --  if you don’t believe what it is supposed to be a reminder of the God who said that He  made everything in only six days: and then rested?  And according to Scripture: He made man, animals, and birds -- not one from one another -- but independently from the ground: meaning that there is NO LOGICAL REASON (for men) to add "millions of years" to what God says He did in Six literal days.  For more on this subject see Gen. 2:7,  Genesis 2:19,  Psalm 33:6-10, 148:5, Mark 10:6 and Hebrews 11:3.

Another Scripture that talks about fasting and living to please God and that also mentions the Sabbath is in Isaiah 58.  We start from verse five.

“Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?  Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed, and for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?  Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD? 6) “Is this not the fast which I chose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? 7) “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8)“Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you;  the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9) Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry, and He will say,  ‘Here I am.  If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10)And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday. 11) “And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. 12)“And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell. 13)If because of  the sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and shall honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure,  and speaking your own word, 14)

Then you will take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”        Isaiah 58:5-14

And in the next chapter of Isaiah, their shortcomings are elaborated on, but the sabbath was not mentioned: perhaps because it was less (or much less) important to God than the various evil things they were doing (?).  In other words, from the passage above it appears that one could serve God and help others on the Sabbath, and that God was quite concerned about their doing just that: as opposed to stealing, telling lies, conceiving mischief, or seeking out, and/or serving other (false) gods.  See also Isaiah 1:10-23, and note that God was a LOT MORE interested in His people observing justice and looking after the poor, than He was in their mockery of failing to do so, yet observation of  the sabbath days and festivals.

Consider also what this prophet said in chapter one of the same book -- even comparing Israel's leaders of that day to Sodom and Gomorrah:

"Hear the word of the LORD,  you rulers of Sodom;  Give ear to the instruction of our God,  you  people of Gomorrah. What are your  multiplied  sacrifices to Me? says the LORD  ... bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me.  New  moon  and sabbath, the calling of assemblies -- I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.   I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have  become a burden to Me.   ... So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will  hide My eyes  from  you, Yes even though you multiply prayers,  I will not listen. ... (because) Your hands are covered with blood.  Wash yourselves,  make yourselves  clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from  My sight.  Cease to do evil, learn to do good;  Seek justice,  Reprove the ruthless; Defend the fatherless,  plead  for the widow. ... (for)  Your rulers are rebels,  and companions of thieves ...  (who) love bribes and chase after rewards.   They Do not defend the fatherless, nor does the widow's plea come before them."   Isa. 1:10-11, 13-17, 21-23 

Jesus and the Sabbath: In Matt. 12:1-8 we are told that:
“At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath through the grain fields, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. 2) But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, ‘Behold, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.’  3) But He said to them,  ‘Have you not read what David did, when he became hungry, he and his companions;  4) how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor those with him, but for the priests alone?’  5) ‘Or … that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath, and are innocent?  6) But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here.  7) ‘But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.  8) For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.’

God wants you -- including your time, talents, money, and everything you own. Consider the following and their implications.

1)      The rich man who came to Jesus claimed that he had kept the Ten Commandments, yet when he asked the Lord what else he was ‘still lacking,’ to inherit eternal life he was told: ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’   Matt. 19:16-24

2)      With regard to tithing (in Malachi 3:10 ), we again have reason to think that God is even more interested in your heart than your pocketbook.  We say this because we are told only eight verses later (in Malachi 3:18 ) that God makes a distinction between “the one who serves God” vs. “the one who do not serve Him.” 

3)      Jesus said of that the apostle Paul that he was “… a chosen instrument of Mine.” Acts 9:15 .  This is significant in light of some things that he said; for example as quoted below.

4)      With regard to food and the Sabbath and judging others, the apostle Paul said:

“One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.  Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats,  for God has accepted him.  Who are you to judge the servant of another?   To his own master he stands of falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand.  One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike.  Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. … For  not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies  for  himself;  for if we live,  we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore  whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.  For to this end Christ died and lived again, the He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.  But you, why do you judge your brother?  Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt?  For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” Rom. 14:2-5, 6-10

“Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect  to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day – things which are a mere shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”  Col. 1:16-17 

So we see here that those who feel that they should keep the Sabbath to please God are free to do so, but NOT to look down on their brothers and sisters who are not compelled to do so.

5)      The purpose of the Old Testament Law was to point people to Christ and a one-on-one relationship with God the Father and His Son: and to realize that God wants more than a ritual-type relationship.  “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes: Rom. 10:4.  See Prov. 3:3; Isa. 57:15; 58:6-14; Jer. 21:12 ; 22:15 -17. Hos. 2:18-23; 12:6;  Joel 3:13; Mal. 3:18; John 10:14-27; 12:26; 14:21-23; 17:3; Rom. 3:20-23; Gal. 3:17-29; 2:15-21.

6)      When the early Church met together to discuss the newly converted Gentile believers and  whether or not they needed to keep the Old Testament Laws, their decision was as follows:

“The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings.  Since we have heard  that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words,  unsettling your souls, it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabus and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth.  For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and  from things strangled and from  fornication; if you keep  yourself free from such things, you will do well.”             Acts 15:23-29

Note that circumcision nor Sabbath observance are not on the list; however, other obvious sins are spoken clearly against, such as lying, sorcery (or taking drugs), homosexuality, murder, kidnapping, etc. : I Cor. 6;9-11 and Rev. 21:8.

7)      Out with old and in with the New, “for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”   2 Cor. 3:6. “
“Behold,  Days are coming,  says the LORD, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt; For they did not  continue in my covenant, and I did not care for them, says the LORD.  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their minds,  and I will write them upon their hearts.  And I will be their God, and they will be My people. … When He said,  ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete.  But whatever is becoming obsolete  and growing old is ready to disappear.”   Hebr. 8:8-10, 13

8)      And looking around He said ‘Behold My mother and My brother, for whoever does the will of God, he is My mother and sister and brother.”  Mark 3;34-35  See also Mark 8:34-38, 14;23, and 18;28-30.