A while back, I had a conversation with a former Sabbath keeping friend who had first turned away from the Sabbath, and then gradually started turning away from other Bible teachings as well. Sadly, this confirmed for me that the same logic some Christians use to do away with the Spirit of Prophecy and the Sabbath, is the same logic atheists use to do away with the entire Bible.
My friend told me that the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday in the Bible, without giving me any Scripture to back up his claim. In another breath, he told me the Sabbath was done away with altogether. I asked him why Constantine changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday in the third century, if it had already been done away with or changed, centuries earlier? He gave me no reply.
He told me the Sabbath was only given to the Jews, yet here is what I found in my Bible.
So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. Genesis 2:1-3 NLT
My friend told me that God kept the Sabbath at creation but Adam and Eve didn’t. He told me the Sabbath was never kept by man until Exodus 20:8-11. I answered with the question: Did God Tell Adam and Eve to Keep the Sabbath, by pointing out that the Sabbath was made, when it was made at creation for all mankind, according to Jesus in Mark 2:27? Also, the Sabbath was already an institution in Exodus 16, before the law was given. As a matter of fact, while some argue that the law was done away with, which it was not, you still have the Sabbath at creation, before there was ever a Jew or the law was given to Moses. So, even if you could argue that the ten commandments were done away with, you still have the Sabbath long before the ten commandments were given.
The argument came up, that the Sabbath was only given to the Jews, because it was a sign to them that they were God’s people, to which I replied, “I want to be a part of God’s people too!” Does that mean that I also need to keep the Sabbath? Was the Sabbath given to Jews only?
“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord, who serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant.” Isaiah 56:6 NLT
Clearly, the Sabbath was not only given to the Jews, but is for everyone who wants in on the everlasting covenant. The Sabbath was not given as a sign that anyone was a Jew. It was a sign given to anyone who was a part of God’s people.
The claim was presented that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday as a memorial to the resurrection. While such a claim is found nowhere in Scripture, the book of Romans gives us a memorial to the resurrection. Baptism is the memorial to the resurrection, and not Sunday observance.
Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. Romans 6:3-7 NLT
It was then said, that Jesus is our rest. If Jesus is our Rest, do we Still Need a Weekly Sabbath? The fact is that Jesus has always been our rest. We have never been saved by works or by the law. Just like we do not throw our country’s flag away because we have the country it represents, likewise we do not do away with the weekly Sabbath, which is a weekly reminder that Jesus is our rest.
Exodus 20:8-11 tells us the Sabbath is a weekly reminder of our Creator.
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 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 male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 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. Exodus 20:8-11 NLT
Deuteronomy 5:12-15 tells us the Sabbath is a weekly reminder of our deliverance from bondage.
“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 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 male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 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. Deuteronomy 5:12-15 NLT
God has given us the weekly Sabbath as a constant reminder that we are twice His. First, at creation he made us, and then, at the cross He bought us. While atheism is gaining ground in much of the world, we need the weekly Sabbath now more than ever as a constant reminder of our Creator. As we battle legalism in the world, and even in the church, we need the weekly Sabbath now more than ever as a constant reminder that only God’s grace can save us from the bondage of sin. We need that weekly reminder that Jesus is our Sabbath rest.
We also need the Sabbath for physical as well as spiritual rest. People talk about how much longer health-conscious Seventh-day Adventists live because of our diet, but I believe our longevity is also due to the fact that we have a weekly Sabbath rest. We need a break from worldly cares and stress, as we rest on the Sabbath and devote time to God and His family. It is interesting to me that many people who want to say that we are not “bound” to keeping the Sabbath, say so as if that is good news. I am wondering why it would be good news to someone who loves Jesus to say that we don’t “have” to spend an entire day with Him? If we can’t be happy dedicating an entire day to God, how could we possibly be happy spending all eternity with Him? Why would someone who loves God consider the Sabbath a burden? Do people tell their spouse that going on a date with them is a burden?
The Sabbath is not a burden. It is a gift.
They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you… Exodus 16:29 NLT
God has given the Sabbath as a sign that we are His people. The Sabbath was never a sign given to the Jews that they were Jews. It was a sign given to the Jews and everyone else choosing to be in on the everlasting covenant that we are all His people. Satan would love to have us forget the Sabbath, so that we will forget God. If Satan can make us forget God, then he can set up his own counterfeit Sabbath. We need the weekly Sabbath today, more than ever, as a weekly constant reminder that we have a Creator who loves us. We need the weekly Sabbath now, more than ever, to remind us that we are not saved by our works or by legalism. The Sabbath is a constant reminder of salvation by grace and the rest we have in Jesus. We need the weekly Sabbath now, more than ever, to give us a weekly rest from all the stress and cares of this life.