As Christians, we know Jesus is our Savior and perfect example. So, should we observe the Sabbath day like He did?
[Steve] As Christians, we know Christ is our Savior and ultimate example. So should a Christian observe the Sabbath day like He did? I did some street interviews and asked this question.
Do you know that Jesus kept the Sabbath?
> > I guess He was illustrating that it don’t matter which day you keep, as long as you keep it holy, right?
[Steve] When you hear the word Sabbath, what comes to mind?
> Well, the first thing I think about is a day of rest, a day to spend with family. To kind of voice your religious convictions and things like that.
> The Jews practice the Sabbath on Saturday and…you know, Christians practice it on Sunday.
[Steve] But wait. Did Jesus set aside one specific day for you as special? His example was Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, but does it really matter?
You may be surprised by what the Bible really teaches and how it should impact your worship.
Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we discuss: “Jesus: Creator of the Sabbath.”
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[Steve] Jesus poses a challenge to all of us. He says: “Follow me!” All of us as Christians know that we must follow Jesus and live like He did (1 John 2:6 1 John 2:6He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
American King James Version×). But, does this include worshiping on the same day as He did—observing the Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset?
I asked a few people about this very thing.
If Christ kept the Saturday Sabbath, do you think we should follow His example?
[Steve] So, if you’re a Christian, do you have to keep the Sabbath?
> > To keep it holy. Yeah, of course.
[Steve] You think so? Do you think that Christians should follow Jesus’ example? Where you had mentioned from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset?
> You know, that’s a tough call. I think whatever religion decides which day is their day of Sabbath, that they hold to the traditions that Jesus would want you to be able to hold that to…
> > I think it just really depends on you know, your own faith. I believe as long as you take time out of your week to give something to God, then you’re, in a way, you’re participating in the Sabbath.
[Steve] Why wouldn’t you want to follow Jesus’ example? Jesus worshiped on the Sabbath—Friday sunset to Saturday sunset and He told us that we should too.
But many have a tendency to say things like: “….well, the Sabbath was an Old Testament thing” or “the Sabbath has nothing to do with salvation” or “we have liberty and that doesn’t restrict us to a particular day of the week” or that “it was changed to Sunday.”
Now before you jump to conclusions, I’d like you to notice a simple verse that carries so much meaning. It’s found in Hebrews 13:8 Hebrews 13:8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
American King James Version×. It says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
How does this passage help determine if you should worship on the Saturday Sabbath?
Well let’s notice how Jesus was yesterday—in the past. To do that, we have to consider a verse that refers to a time before the creation of the earth. Did you know that the oldest account in the Bible is not right at the beginning of the book? This passage speaks of a time prior to events described at the beginning of your Bible in Genesis 1.
Believe it or not, this passage is a key that will help you unlock the answer to the Sabbath question. It’s a key to understanding not only the Sabbath but also the entire Bible. And it’s found in the New Testament—at the beginning of the gospel of John.
John 1:1 John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
American King James Version×says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:1-3 John 1:1-3 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
American King James Version×, John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
American King James Version×).
Here’s why this passage is so important. We see that, before any physical creation, a Being called the Word existed. It also tells us that the Word became flesh, a physical being. Now, that should immediately get our minds working—making a connection.
So here’s the key: The Word is the One who became Jesus Christ—they are one and the same. It also tells us that He was with God—that would be God the Father. And we find that the Word was also named God Himself!
So not only are we told that the Word became Jesus, we’re also told what He was doing. He was making or creating all things—not just some things, but all things were made through Him!
So, with that in mind, let’s go back now, as we consider how the Word, how Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever and what does that have to do with the Sabbath day.
Genesis 2:1 Genesis 2:1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
American King James Version×tells us: “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (NIV).
Let’s ask ourselves:
Who made the heavens and earth? The Word did—The One who became Jesus did.
Who made the seventh-day Sabbath? The Word did—The One who became Jesus.
So, who blessed and sanctified the seventh-day Sabbath? The Word did—The One who became Jesus did.
Who rested from all His work on the seventh-day Sabbath? The Word did—The One who became Jesus.
And who made the seventh day holy? The Word did—The One who became Jesus did that very thing.
So this is a vital key to understanding the true Sabbath and why it should be important to you. Before Noah, before Abraham, before Moses, and long before the Old Covenant, the Word—the One became Jesus—created the seventh-day Sabbath. And it wasn’t just any day. He blessed it and in a way He set it apart from every other day. Now did you notice how important it was to God? He designated Friday sunset to Saturday sunset as holy time.
Now holy means that this day is something very special and precious to God. He made it unique and He told us all to remember this wonderful time that He designed.
So not only did it become holy time, but we find Jesus, the Word, setting an example for all mankind—for you—to follow. What did He do? He rested. He rested from the work of creation.
So how should that impact you and the way that you worship? Well we’ll see that in just a moment.
Now remember the scripture we began with in Hebrews 13? Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8 Hebrews 13:8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
American King James Version×). Now looking back to yesterday, we found that Jesus created the Sabbath as holy time at creation.
Since the Scripture must be true—that Jesus is the same—what do we find as we go forward through time?
From creation, let’s move ahead more than 3,000 years. Here we find Isaiah prophesying about worship on the seventh-day Sabbath: “From month to month and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all humanity will come to worship me, says the Lord” (Isaiah 66:23 Isaiah 66:23And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, said the LORD.
American King James Version×, CEB).
Now isn’t that amazing? It may even surprise you. Jesus our Savior says that the Sabbath is the day He designed for worship. He made the Sabbath at creation and three millennia later, it’s still holy as the day of worship.
Now remember what holy means. This weekly day of worship is incredibly special and it’s precious. It’s precious to God. He loves it, and He wants you to love it, too. The Sabbath of worship and rest He created was not just any day of the week and it certainly was not Sunday.
Now here’s the part that may be truly unexpected: Who will worship God on the Sabbath day? Isaiah prophesied it wasn’t just a Jewish day of worship. It wasn’t made only for the Israelites. It was designed for humanity; for you and for me—for everyone. He tells us that the seventh-day Sabbath continued to be holy from creation and still is the time for worship for all people.
In fact, this wasn’t the only occasion that Isaiah mentioned this idea. He also speaks to you and me—to people who believe in God—those who want a closer relationship with Him. He instructs us what we should do.
Do you know what he said? He prophesied that all people who love God will come to worship on God’s Sabbath and serve Him and that the Temple of God would be called a house of prayer for all nations (Isaiah 56:6-8 Isaiah 56:6-8 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of my covenant;
7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
8 The Lord GOD, which gathers the outcasts of Israel said, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered to him.
American King James Version× , TLB).
Here’s a question: When you hear the inspired Word of God, do you allow it to guide you in what you do? Perhaps we should ask: if I want to follow Jesus, when should I worship?
I’d like to help you answer that question and others that you may have with our free Bible study aid: Sunset to Sunset: God’s Sabbath Rest .
Isn’t it time to understand what the Bible teaches about the Sabbath day? Why would some worship on Sunday and other Christians observe the Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset? Discover for yourself what Jesus lived and taught.
Order your free copy of our study aid, Sunset to Sunset: God’s Sabbath Rest. Call us toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632. If you live outside North America please write to us at the address shown on your screen throughout the program. Or you can visit us at: BeyondToday.tv to read or download your copy.
This practical study guide will help you learn what Scripture reveals about God’s weekly Sabbath and how it can benefit you.
There are many ideas about the Sabbath and how to worship, but the Bible makes plain what’s right and proper—what you could call authentic worship.
Is there a particular day that comes to mind when you hear the word Sabbath?
> Usually Sundays. Sundays I’ve always been brought up to believe for my religion as a Christian, Sunday is the day of Sabbath.
[Steve] When you hear the word Sabbath, what comes to mind?
> > Just that it says in the Bible that you’re supposed to rest and I have heard about the sunset on Friday to sundown Saturday.
[Steve] Do you think that if you’re a Christian you should follow that example of Christ?
> No, I don’t think so.
[Steve] Well how could that be? Why wouldn’t a Christian follow Christ’s example? Isn’t that what a Christian is? A follower of Jesus Christ? Well we already know that the Word—Jesus, created the Sabbath day as a day of rest and worship at creation. He verified it thousands of years later in Isaiah’s prophecies. So, should you give up your tradition, your opinion and follow His example?
Now as you consider that, let’s fast-forward through history 700 years or so. Now, we find Jesus—the Word is made flesh, Immanuel, God with us. Christ is walking the earth. Now while this is still in the past, if Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever we should find Jesus “the same.”
So what was Jesus’ habit? How did He honor God? What did He observe? The Bible records Jesus’ own practice at the start of His ministry. “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and [He] stood up to read” (Luke 4:16 Luke 4:16And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
American King James Version×).
Now we shouldn’t minimize this. It was Jesus’ regular custom to worship on the Sabbath! What day of the week was that? Well since that time and for centuries before, the seventh-day Sabbath has been documented very carefully. Time has never been lost. And don’t forget, Jesus knew the right day—because after all, He established the day of rest and worship at creation. So now we see that He validates and confirms it. Christ not only remembered the Sabbath day, but He kept it holy, from sunset Friday through sunset Saturday.
Now here’s a tough question: Did Jesus set His example of Sabbath worship, so we don’t have to? Should we just disregard the way that Jesus worshipped? Sadly, that’s what many ministers teach today!
But Jesus never once told His disciples to ignore His example. He never once said the Church has the authority to change or alter it to Sunday worship. In fact, He taught just the opposite. He said, “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me” (John 12:26 John 12:26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.
American King James Version×).
Now this is the same Jesus, who was the Word, the One who created the Sabbath and set it apart as holy telling us to follow Him—to live like Him, to think like Him, to worship like Him.
So no wonder He emphasized the point by saying something remarkable. In Mark 2:28 Mark 2:28Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
American King James Version×we find He said, He is “Lord of the Sabbath.”
Now what day is the Lord’s day? According to Jesus Christ, the Lord’s day, the day over which Jesus is Lord—is the seventh-day Sabbath! So the Lord’s day is not Sunday, it’s not any other day of the week. Jesus clearly tells us that He is Lord of the Sabbath day. His day of worship—it’s the Sabbath.
Jesus kept the Sabbath. Why do you think Jesus kept the Sabbath?
> Because He was doing what the Father told Him to do… I would think.
> > You know, God established the Sabbath, so in essence, it makes sense for Him to keep it.
[Steve] God is consistent. We’ve seen that yesterday, Jesus as the Word created the day of rest and worship—the seventh day; the Sabbath day—from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.
Now, today Jesus is still Lord of the Sabbath. Now some might argue, well of course, Jesus observed the Sabbath, He was a Jew, what else would you expect a good Jew to do other than keep the Sabbath day? Let’s think about that for just a moment.
In this same section of Scripture, in Mark 2:27 Mark 2:27And he said to them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
American King James Version×, there’s something here that so many Christians miss. It’s a crucial key to understand the truth about proper worship.
Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Now when you read over that phrase quickly you might miss the point. You could think that the Sabbath was for Jews only—a burden. But wait! The meaning comes clear when you understand the definition of the word “man.” The Sabbath was made for “man.”
The word Christ used means mankind , not just the Jews or one single person but—all humanity. The word is translated differently in other versions and by comparing them; the meaning becomes crystal clear. The New Revised Standard Version states: “The Sabbath was made for humankind” (NRSV).
That fact is, that even though Jesus was a Jew, He emphasized just how important the Sabbath is for all people everywhere. He said, “The Sabbath was made for the good of human beings” (Mark 2:27 Mark 2:27And he said to them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
American King James Version×, GNT). It wasn’t made just for the Jews and then done away with or replaced by Sunday, it was “made to benefit man” (TLB).
So contrary to what most churches teach, Sabbath worship was not somehow altered or destroyed. Jesus is consistent. He’s constant. He’s the same. He said that “The Sabbath was made for the good of man” (WE). It was the day “made to help people” (EXB). It wasn’t exclusive to one group of people or for just a limited time only. It was the same yesterday and today as well. “The Sabbath was made for the good of people” (CEV).
So it’s true. Even now—authentic Christians take Jesus’ words to heart and follow Him by observing the seventh-day Sabbath, Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. They worship on the same day that Jesus did. Now this isn’t the Jewish Sabbath, but the Christian way of observing the true Sabbath over which Jesus is Lord.
Now let’s dig a little deeper. If we consider the fact that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever; it leads to a significant example found in the book of Hebrews.
In chapter 4 verse 4 we look back and we’re reminded that at creation God rested from all His works on the seventh day (Hebrews 4:4 Hebrews 4:4For he spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
American King James Version×). Then we come to a surprising statement in verse 9: “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9 Hebrews 4:9There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.
American King James Version×).
The Greek word translated “rest” in this passage is the word sabbatismos . It’s the only occurrence of the word in the Bible. So it’s essential to understand this exceptional expression.
The Anchor Bible Dictionary (Vol. 5, p. 856) states that sabbatismos means observing the seventh-day Sabbath. It says: “Hebrews 4:3-11 Hebrews 4:3-11 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4 For he spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
6 Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
7 Again, he limits a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
9 There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11 Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
American King James Version×affirms that physical ‘Sabbath rest’ is the weekly outward manifestation of the inner experience of spiritual rest…”
In other words, because we have a savior in Christ, we also must have a sabbatismos —a keeping of the Sabbath day. So in the original Greek this verse should essentially be translated: “There remains, therefore, a keeping of the Sabbath day for all the people of God.”
In fact, it doesn’t stop there. In verse 10, it even points to the very day we’re to observe that Sabbath rest: “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:10 Hebrews 4:10For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
American King James Version×). So if we follow Jesus and rest as God did—and we know He rested on the seventh day—then we should, too. So all Christians are commanded to keep the seventh-day Sabbath.
Now is Jesus the same yesterday, today and forever? Absolutely! This passage was written more than 30 years after the crucifixion and Sabbath worship was and continues to be how true Christians honor and revere God.
I hope you’ll determine to find out about this authentic Sabbath that Jesus designed right for you. Learn more about it by requesting our free Bible study aid, Sunset to Sunset: God’s Sabbath Rest . Call us toll free: 1-888-886-8632.
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Why do you keep Sunday as a Sabbath?
> Well, that’s what the mainstream society does and usually when people do something you should technically follow along.
[Steve] Have you ever heard that Jesus kept the Sabbath?
[Steve] It doesn’t sound familiar?
> No. So it would be in terms of something good then if Jesus kept the Sabbath, right?
Steve : Yes!
[Steve] You are absolutely right. Is it that important that we remember the Sabbath?
> Yeah and if some people or person could point out actually when the Sabbath is, that would, you know, set boundaries.
[Steve] The Word of God shows that Jesus created, verified and observed the seventh-day Sabbath and He taught us that we should follow His example.
If you still have doubts about which day is the Christian Sabbath, we’re told that in the future the Church of God will still be celebrating the Sabbath at the time of the end. Jesus Himself tells us “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:20-22 Matthew 24:20-22 20 But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×).
Jesus Christ confirmed that His followers would still be remembering and observing the true Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, even in the dark days just before His return to save humanity and set up the Kingdom of God.
So let’s keep in mind, the Sabbath—it looks back to creation and reminds us of our Creator. In the present, we keep the seventh day holy and we consider the One who has delivered us from the bondage of sin. And finally, the Sabbath looks forward to the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God, when there will be true rest for all humanity.
So let’s expand this topic just a little bit. So, I’m joined now by fellow Beyond Today presenters, Gary Petty and Darris McNeely.
Now, many Christians don’t observe the Sabbath. In fact, they believe that now we are under grace. And so they would say, it’s legalistic to keep the Sabbath. Is that true?
[Darris] No it is not true. Unfortunately the Sabbath gets lumped into that type of theological gubble-speak. To keep the Sabbath is to actually begin to rest from your own work so that God can begin to do His works in us. We are not saved by keeping the Sabbath or any works that we can do or of our own. But, when we make that decision to rest as God commands, then God has His opportunity to work within us His perfect righteous character. Like Paul said in Galatians that the life that we now life we live by the life of… by faith of the Son of God in us. And, resting on that day allows us to focus on that.
[Gary] You know, I think a lot of times people just misunderstand what the word grace means. I mean grace is God’s favor. And so, the very fact that we are alive is by the grace of God. In fact, everything we have is by the grace of God. And this Book, the Bible is through the grace of God. Jesus Christ was sent—through the grace of God. And actually the law has been given—by the grace of God. We wouldn’t have made that up ourselves. Even the apostle Paul says I would not have known covetousness except the law said though shall not covet (Romans 7:7 Romans 7:7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, You shall not covet.
American King James Version×). The Sabbath was given to us by God for our benefit. So, it is actually an act of grace.
[Steve] I think in so many ways, maybe, we misunderstand that. When we think of grace, and that would be the end. But really in so many ways, it is just the beginning. What do we do in response to grace? Where does our grace lead us? And I think that is something that people forget about.
[Darris] Grace is a way of life. When we come to understand grace as this protective canopy of a relationship with God, then we have an understanding of how the Sabbath really does fit into this concept of a relationship with God that is ongoing and allows Him to do His work within us. And it also helps us to understand the one true God because when we keep the Sabbath—not just a Sabbath, one that we choose—but the one that Christ kept and the one of which He is the Lord, then we begin to understand the one true God in a way that we cannot, in any other capacity.
[Gary] Well you said He is the Lord, if He is the Lord of the Sabbath, I am going to keep the Sabbath to worship Him.
[Steve] So He said it, He made it. He kept it. He set the example. He really is that standard, so our response to grace should be to live by the standard that Jesus Christ Himself set.
In fact, there are so many benefits in following the example of Jesus Christ. To help you, we hope you’ll order our free study aid: Sunset to Sunset—God’s Sabbath Res t. It will help you discover them for yourself. And don’t forget your free subscription to The Good News magazine. Call toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632. Or, you can read them both online at BeyondToday.tv .
Now if you want more of what God has to offer, you should tune into our live, bi-weekly, Wednesday night Beyond Today Bible Studies. Join us as we dig into various biblical topics and take an in-depth view to them. Now, they are webcast live from the home office of the United Church of God. You can find them by going to our Beyond Today website and clicking on the “Bible Study” graphic . I think you’ll really enjoy them.
And of course, the United Church of God has hundreds of Sabbath-keeping congregations that meet on Saturday across the United States and around the world. Go to BeyondToday.tv—click on the “Contact” tab and find a congregation near you . Call one of our pastors. They’ll help you discover more about the biblical command to keep the Sabbath.
Now we’re all left with a choice. What should you do now?
Well get out your Bible. Start to study into the true Sabbath day. God’s Word will guide you to the point where you’ll have to make a decision. Will you live by “every word of God” as Jesus directed?
There is no doubt that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. By observing the seventh-day Sabbath, Jesus proved He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Follow Him.
Well that’s it for today, don’t forget our free offers. Thanks for joining us, and be sure to tell your family and friends about Beyond Today . Tune in again next week and join us in praying, “Thy Kingdom come.” For Beyond Today , I’m Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.
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