5 Reasons Why Keeping the Biblical Sabbath Day Matters

 In Christian Faith

The year I was saved and came to Jesus, I didn’t think twice about the true Biblical Sabbath day. I was born and raised in a Catholic family, so Sunday just seemed the normal day to go to church. But is Sunday the true Biblical Sabbath day? And why does it matter to keep it?

Personally, I knew that the Bible said ‘the seventh day’, but because I was raised with Sunday being the rest day, I actually believed Sunday to be the last day of the week. We always started with Monday when naming the weekdays as well; not Sunday.

But, as I had made a habit of researching everything I heard, I also looked into the true Biblical Sabbath day. And lo and behold… Saturday is indeed the true Biblical Sabbath day! This changed everything for me.

Since then, I started noticing that more and more people are asking the question: ‘What day should we keep as the true Biblical Sabbath?’. It seems that God is bringing this to the attention and funnily enough – God did say ‘Remember the Sabbath day’ {Ex 20:8}, knowing we’d forget!

Understanding the Biblical Sabbath

Before we go into the reasons of why we should keep the Biblical Sabbath, let’s try to understand the Biblical Sabbath first.

When I was new to Christianity, many questions about keeping the Sabbath day holy came to mind. Here are just a few:

  • What is the Sabbath day?
  • What is the true Sabbath day: Saturday or Sunday?
  • Do we still need to keep the Sabbath?

Of course, I’m not going to answer these from my own perspective. I’m going to let the Word of God do the talking and share a few sabbath day Bible verses to answer these questions.

What Is the Sabbath Day?

The Sabbath day is the seventh day of the week, the last day of creation. God rested on the seventh day, blessed it, and made it holy. This event is recorded in Genesis 2:2-3.

He also commanded us to keep the Sabbath which is stated as the fourth of the ten commandments. In the Sabbath commandment it’s said that we’re not to do any work, but to rest. Why? Because God created everything in 6 days and rested on the 7th day {Ex 20:8-11}.

In Ezekiel 20:12 we can read that the Sabbath is ‘a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them’. Similar words can be found in Exodus 31:13-14 and Ezekiel 20:20.

What Is the True Sabbath Day: Saturday or Sunday?

As mentioned in the section above, the biblical Sabbath day falls on the 7th day of the week. If you simply google ‘what is the seventh day of the week,’ you’ll find that Saturday is the seventh day, not Sunday.

Now, before I delve into this question a little deeper, let’s look at a few Bible verses first:

‘For I am the Lord, I change not…’ {Malachi 3:6 KJV}

‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever‘ {Hebrews 13:8 KJV}

‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning‘ {James 1:17 KJV}

So, from these verses it’s clear that God doesn’t change. Neither does His moral law change:

‘My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips’ {Psalm 89:34 KJV}

The question that then comes to mind is: ‘If God doesn’t change, and the Bible clearly states that the Sabbath day is the seventh day of the week, who changed the Sabbath day?’.

Well, the change started with the Roman Emperor Constantine I who professed conversion to Christianity (he was a pagan worshipper) and made the Sunday a rest day. He referred to this rest day as ‘the venerable day of the sun’. This was in A.D. 321. Four years later, Pope Sylvester officially called Sunday ‘the Lord’s Day’.

Do We Still Need to Keep the Sabbath?

Well, if we believe that the ten commandments still stand, then automatically we believe the Sabbath still stands. Right?

But for the sake of argument, let’s have a look at what the Bible says.

In the day of Jesus and the disciples, the Sabbath day was referred to as a high day {John 19:31}. After Jesus’ ascension, Paul taught on the Sabbath day {Acts 17:2} as did the other disciples {Acts 13:42 and 44; Acts 16:12}. Even in the new Earth, we’ll all be keeping the Sabbath {Is 66:22, 23}.

Finally, Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath {Matt 12:18}. If He would have changed it, the change would have been mentioned in the Bible. He would have warned His disciples about it, especially during the warnings of the end time and the destruction of Jerusalem {Matthew 24:20}. How else would they have known that the Sabbath was changed to the first day of the week, if they weren’t told?

Now, let’s have a look and see why it’s still important to keep the Biblical Sabbath.

1. Keep the Biblical Sabbath Because: God Commands Us to Keep the Sabbath Day Holy

I’ve put this as my first reason because, let’s face it… it’s clear as day that God commands us to keep the Sabbath day holy.

Interestingly enough, He begins the commandment with: ‘Remember…‘ He knew we’d forget the true Biblical Sabbath at some stage!

Keeping the rest day on Sunday is so ingrained in most Christians’ lives, that they don’t even question it. I didn’t until it was pointed out to me. Resting on the Sunday has just become so normal.

Unfortunately, Sunday isn’t the Biblical Sabbath. And nowhere in the Bible is it mentioned that the Sabbath changed.

2. Keep the Biblical Sabbath Because: God Blessed the Sabbath

As mentioned before, God created the earth, the heaven, the sea and all that in them are in 6 literal days. On the seventh day, God rested from all His work, enjoyed His creation, and blessed it:

‘And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made’ {Genesis 2:3 KJV}.

Only this seventh day is blessed and set apart from the others. Not the first, not the second, or any other day. The seventh day!

Now, what is a blessing? In Acts 3:26 {KJV} we read: ‘Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities’.

Blessings are given to us not because we are good, but to make us good. The Sabbath blessing is the blessing of being turned away from our iniquities. It reminds us of God’s great power in Jesus Christ to save us from sin {also see CAS 16.1}.

‘When we cease from our works, which are sinful, we are saved from sin. But it is creative power alone which can save from sin, and that creative power is always manifested through Jesus Christ. And this work going on in us is the work of sanctification. Then the blessing of the Sabbath is the blessing of sanctification by the power of God working through Jesus Christ’ {CAS 15.3}.

John also mentioned a beautiful blessing at the end of Revelation for those who keep God’s commandments: ‘Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city’ {Rev 22:14 KJV}.

3. Keep the Biblical Sabbath Because: the Sabbath Will Give You Spiritual Rest

A question to consider: Do you think God was tired after creating everything? Is this the reason why He rested at the end of the week?

Jesus Christ said to the woman of Samaria: ‘God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth’ {John 4:24 KJV}

So the fact that God is a Spirit means that God cannot physically exhaust Himself. Therefore, He wouldn’t have needed a physical rest from His work.

We often look at the Sabbath as just a day of physical rest, a day where we cease our daily work. And although this is part of it, it’s the spiritual rest that sets the Sabbath apart from the others.

We can have a rest from our physical activities at any day and any time. We don’t need a Sabbath just to rest from our labour.

When God rested after His creation work, He was refreshed and took delight in all the glorious things He made.

God wants us to stop working on the Sabbath day, so that we may be able to better understand God who manifested to us in Jesus Christ, and to abide in His rest {also see CAS 15.2}.

Paul said the following about rest: ‘For we which have believed do enter into rest’ {Hebrews 4:3 KJV} and ‘For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his’ {Hebrews 4:10 KJV}.

4. Keep the Biblical Sabbath Because: God Hallowed the Sabbath

In the words of the fourth commandment we read: ‘…wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it{Exodus 20:11 KJV}.

The word ‘hallowed’ means ‘holy’, so God made the Sabbath day holy. What exactly does this mean?

Do you remember the stories of Moses and the burning bush? And the time when ‘boundaries’ were set into place around Mount Sinai, right before God gave the 10 commandments?

In both circumstances, the ground was said to be holy. Moses had to take off his shoes because the ground was holy. Had it always been holy, or did it become holy because of God’s presence in the bush?

The people were told not to step over the ‘boundary’ at Mount Sinai because they’d die. The Mount had become holy; not because of the mountain itself, but because God came down from heaven. He made the ground holy.

People were okay to continue with life outside of the boundary, but if any man treated that Mount in the same way as he treated other portions of the surrounding country, gave his life.

William Prescot describes it beautifully:

‘It is none the less true that man may go about as usual, may attend to his usual avocations on six days of the week, but when he comes to that boundary line which marks off the time that Christ has made holy by his own presence in it, if he knowingly steps over that line, and treats that time just as he treats the other time, he does it at the risk of his own life’ {CAS 19.1}.

Just a the presence of Christ hallowed the burning bush and Mount Sinai, His presence also hallows the Sabbath day.

‘There is one thing that always makes holy, and that is the presence of Jesus Christ. When Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, we are made holy by His presence, and this is the blessing of Sabbath-keeping. That is Christian experience; that is the Christian life. When Christ dwells in the heart by faith, He by His presence makes the believer holy’ {CAS 19.2}.

5. Keep the Biblical Sabbath Because: the Sabbath Reminds Us of His Great Power

After reading all this, you’ve probably realised that keeping the Sabbath day holy is a sign that shows we follow the one true God.

We can find 3 Bible verses that tell us the Sabbath is a sign between us and the Lord. They are: Exodus 31:13, Ezekiel 20:12, and Ezekiel 20:20.

Because the Sabbath is so closely linked to the creation story, it represents a sign of creative power. When we keep the Sabbath day holy, we are reminded of His creation as it’s the day He rested after His work.

The creation was God’s first display of His creative power. He revealed this creative power again through the signs and wonders in the time of the deliverance of Egypt {Deuteronomy 4:32-34}. It was the same power that created everything that also divided the Red Sea.

After their deliverance, God reminded them of the importance of the Sabbath:

‘And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day’ {Deuteronomy 5:15 KJV}.

So after the deliverance from Egypt, the Sabbath was a sign of God’s power during creation AND His power through setting them free from slavery.

This same God that set His people free then, has set us free from bondage through giving us His only begotten Son.

These are my 5 reasons for keeping the Biblical Sabbath.

Since we started keeping it in our own family, it has been an incredible blessing. We look forward to every Sabbath. Not just to spend time with other Christians, but to seek His face, to worship Him, and to remember how great He is.

God provides so many things for us. He cares for us with such a love that He gave His only Son to save us from sin. He’s willing to give us everything if we stay faithful, if we overcome {Revelation 21:7}.

What day do you keep the Sabbath? If it’s Sunday, would you consider changing it? Or at least keep the Saturday as well? If not, why not?

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