key tt ScriptLESSON 7

 

 

 

Is Sunday the Sabbath?
The Sabbath Given for a Special Reason


constantine

Statue of Constantine I
Rome's First "Christian" Emperor

Here is a depiction of the man who changed the day of worship set down by Yahweh to another day. Constantine I decreed that Sunday (dies Solis) would be observed as the Roman day of rest. Here is an excerpt of the edict he set down in 321 A.D.: "On the venerable day of the sun, let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed."
      Who will you serve--Yahweh or man?


     Most Bible believers have come to acknowledge that because of the things that are seen or experienced, Yahweh exists. We acknowledge through our five senses that the physical creation exists. Examining the composition and characteristics of matter or energy, carnal man is baffled to explain where it came from. So complex is our physical world that we acknowledge that an infinite Being with wisdom far greater than we have did indeed create both matter and the simple and complex life forms.

     When Yahweh created the physical universe, He also created space and time. Both space and time are part of the material, tangible world. Time and space are not part of the spirit realm where Yahweh dwells. Space and time were made for physical man.

Yahweh Beyond the Physical Universe

     In giving Israel His commandments, Yahweh did not specify a sacred place for worship. Rather, following the event at Sinai, He told Moses, "In every place where I cause My name to be mentioned I will come unto you and bless you," Exodus 20:24. Holiness today is not bound to just one place. In the Bible, no place or thing on earth is holy in itself. Even Mount Moriah, on which the temple was built, is nowhere called holy in the first five books of Moses, known as the Pentateuch. More than 20 times it is referred to as "the place which Yahweh your Elohim shall choose."

     Since the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom, the Spirit of Yahweh left the temple Holy of Holies in Jerusalem. While the temple mount may be a very meaningful place and historically important, it is not holier than any other place. There is no tabernacle or temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem today. The Holy of Holies where Yahweh dwelled between cherubim is nowhere to be found today.

Heathen Deities Confined to Certain Areas

     In bringing His people out of bondage and away from pagan worship, Yahweh promised that an angel would lead them, Exodus 23:20. Israel was to drive out the pagan nations before them and not acknowledge their deities in any manner, as we see from the remainder of this 23rd chapter. Yahweh was with Israel as a pillar of cloud by day and a fiery column at night, Exodus 13:21-22, leading them onward to the Promised Land. Israel had their Mighty One with them at all times. He was always able to fulfill their needs.

     When the pagans went from Babylon to Egypt, however, they left their deities behind and worshipped the deities of Egypt. If they went to Canaan, they left behind the deities of Egypt and worshipped the local deity, Merodach. Their deity did not go with them, because in paganism, deities inhabited a particular region, a district or heathen temple Sometimes they were in a storm or in the rain, but still limited in space. The primitive mind must have a visible image of a deity. Reverence for the sacred image finds its counterpart in cultures of all ages.

     American Indians in the Northwest carved designs in trees and then prayed that the Great Spirit would come and reside in their totem pole. Other ancient religions made images of stone and wood and claimed these were their deities that controlled some aspect of their lives. Others had a holy place or shrine where their deities dwelled. It is easily understood that mankind wants to have a holy or sacred image that he can see or touch to strengthen his relationship to his deity. Man also wants a sacred place to which he can go for his worship.

     A deity confined, whether an object or limited to a mountain, river or forest, is but a confined or crippled deity. In contrast to pagan idols and deities, Yahweh is not limited to a certain place or area. The Elohim of Israel is remembered because He delivered His people from Egypt at the time of the barley harvest. In the New Testament, we are promised that He would never leave us or forsake us, Hebrews 13:5. Yahshua said He would be with us always, Matthew 28:20. Similarly, Israel was promised the presence of Yahweh's power in the Old Testament.

     Now we are aware of the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Though it is not visible to human eyes, we realize that Yahweh's Spirit Power is with His people. Yahweh is not a Mighty One of a specific place, but He inhabits eternity. He is a Mighty One who transcends even space and time.

    Certain religions find holiness in edifices, such as the Islamic Mosque of Omar, built on the traditional site of Solomon's temple. Yahweh's holiness, however, is found in His people by His Holy Spirit.

Holiness Found with Yahweh's People in Worship

     What then makes a place on earth holy? It is the presence of Yahweh and Yahshua at a particular time. It is the invisible Holy Spirit on this earth that makes a place holy. According to your Bible, it is where Yahweh places His Name. When one is immersed into the Name of Yahshua the Messiah, one has both the Name of the Father (Yah) and the Son (Revelation 14:1, margin) who came in His Father's name, John 5:43.

     A place is made holy by the gathering of people in His Name. Yahshua said that wherever two or three are gathered in His Name, there He would be in the midst of them, Matthew 18:20., Yahweh also made and set apart a special time at creation that He said was holy. After the six days of creation, we note in Genesis 2:1-3 that Yahweh rested on the Seventh day, blessed it and sanctified it. He took a portion of time and set it apart so that mankind might remember His creative power. He created the weekly cycle and made the seventh day a special time. Yahweh gave this portion of the week a prominent look of favor and blessed it. He set this time apart as a significant holy time. He calls it "His rest" because He rested on the Sabbath. It is not the Jews' rest!

     Yahweh was not only "in the beginning," but He also stayed with His creation as a benevolent father. He guided His people in the ways they should go. Man was created in Yahweh's very image. By keeping the Sabbath that Yahweh also observed, man comes in harmony with the order of the universe established, blessed and observed by the Creator. Yahweh has consecrated or sanctified the Sabbath day. The Sabbath, which the world knows as Saturday, is a foremost time that Yahweh has set apart as a cessation of worldly pursuits. On the Sabbath, we set aside our cares and anxieties of this world and our concern for our physical bodies. We gather with others of like faith to worship Yahweh and praise Him in song and Psalms. He made the Seventh day that man could keep his priorities straight and remember his purpose in life. Gathering on this special sanctified day with the people of Yahweh, in whom He has placed His holy Name, makes this the most important day of the week.

Time Element Paramount in Worship

     The worship of Yahweh revolves not around things or places, but around time. The stream of time is intrinsic to Yahweh's true worship. The Sabbath, the new moon, the Passover, the ensuring festivals and the Sabbatical and Jubilee years--all depend upon a certain hour of the day or season of the year.

     The Passover in Exodus deals with a certain time period in which the commands of Yahweh are to be carried out. Had the blood been applied after midnight, the destroying angel would have already taken the life of the firstborn of the house.

     Specific times are recalled of past events and we look forward to the specific time in the future known as "The Day of Yahweh." Look at any calendar and see what day is the seventh day of the week. Now look up in a dictionary the word "Saturday." You will find that Saturday is the seventh day of the week. Read again Genesis 2:1-3. A phrase heard frequently is the "institution of the Sabbath," as if the Sabbath can be detached from the seventh day of the week. The Bible shows that the Sabbath is not something Yahweh placed on a particular day of the week. Rather, the Sabbath is the day. The commandment reads, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. The Bible never speaks of a Sabbath "institution," but talks about the Sabbath day.

     Just keeping any day of the week holy, even if it is done regularly, does not fulfill the commandment. The Sabbath is a particular day--the seventh--and cannot be separated from it. Interestingly, the seventh day is the only day named in Scripture. It is called the "Sabbath." The other days are numbered.

     No wonder Yahweh's worship is much different from that of any of the pagan religions. He is not to be found in a mountain, a river, in trees or in some idol. The people of Yahweh may worship Him in specific or particular places, but not because He resides there. Notice His words, "I am Yahweh your Elohim; walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; And hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am Yahweh your Elohim," Ezekiel 20:19-20.

     Also in verse 12 we read that Yahweh gave His people His Sabbaths to be a sign between Him and them that they might know that He is Yahweh that sanctifies them. Notice that Yahweh has selected a certain time, a certain day that is a sign between Him and His people.

     To worship Yahweh in the way He wants to be worshipped, we are to set aside a particular time each week. We can recognize an army by uniform and insignia and know from what country they are from. We can tell where an auto is from by its license plate or a battleship by the flag it flies. But we cannot tell a True Believer in Yahweh by his dress or appearance. It is the Sabbath that is a true sign, showing the circumcision of the heart--true obedience to Him.

     Yahweh told Israel through Moses that His Sabbaths (including annual holy day Sabbaths) are a special sign between Him and them, Exodus 31:13. This sign extended "throughout their generations," meaning it applies to all offspring. In verse 16, Yahweh says, "Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed" verse 17. Perpetual means permanent.

     This special sign identifying True Worshippers is a span of time--24 hours--that comes each week as Believers focus attention on Yahweh's goodness. When you keep that time holy, by not doing your work, business or pleasure, you enter into a holy union with Yahweh. Your life synchronizes with holy time Yahweh created. This union automatically separates you from the vast majority of those who have no special ties with their Creator because they willingly transgress His Sabbath Commandment. Through Sabbath observance you become a part of His special creation, destined to reign with Yahshua the Messiah. "Sanctify" in verse 13 means to set apart for a holy purpose.

     Just as with ancient Israel, when the vast nations of the world were worshipping pagan deities on other days, we today see millions upon millions observing the first day of the week. Yahweh's people are commanded to come out of the world and be separate from its unholy practices, 2 Corinthians 6:17.

     The Sabbath is so important that Yahweh doubly commanded it through an exclusive covenant He made with His people, Exodus 31:16. (The Fourth or Sabbath Commandment was given before at Sinai in Exodus 20.) Those who keep it holy take on a unique identity others lack. In Israel's day, all other nations had forgotten Yahweh by profaning the Sabbath. That is why Yahweh impresses upon us the importance of keeping the seventh day holy.

     By observing the Sabbath we can receive abundant blessings and promises, Deuteronomy 28:1-14, Isaiah 58:13-14. By neglecting it, we reap the curses of disobedience, Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Ezekiel 20:12-13, 23-25. Not only will we fail to receive blessings by disobeying the Sabbath, but all sorts of trouble will happen to us, as Israel faced for disobedience, Leviticus 26:14-39; Jeremiah 17:20-27; Nehemiah 13:17-18.

     Death occurred to those who failed to obey the Fourth Commandment in the Old Testament, Exodus 31:14. Everlasting death will be the end of those who fail to obey it today, Romans 6:23.

     Because Yahweh made man a physical being (from the dust of the ground, Genesis 2:7), He knew man's body would naturally require a day each week to rejuvenate. Taking time off each week from our weekly pursuits allows us to rest physically, but also gives us a change of pace and a break from emotional stress and mental fatigue.

LESSON 7

The Sabbath Identifies Yahweh's True People

  1. Did Yahweh bless and sanctify a certain day of the week for man to rest and rejuvenate? Exodus 20:10.

         NOTE: He placed His blessing on a certain day, that is. He gave this day special favor and special treatment, for He also sanctified it. That is, He set it apart for a holy purpose. To hallow or sanctify means to hold something in special esteem or set it aside for important use. No other weekly day in the entirety of the Bible--Old and New Testament--has been sanctified by Yahweh. In the weekly cycle, the Sabbath day comes around regularly every seventh day. Almighty Yahweh tells us in His commandment (Exodus 20:8-11) to "Remember the Sabbath day." We are not to get so caught up in the business of this world that we forget to observe the Sabbath. We must be aware that it is coming and make preparations for it so that we do not have to buy or sell on this time, and that we do not find ourselves doing any task that should have been done prior to this day. The day should be spent in worship, study and praise of Yahweh.

  2. What special event is commemorated in Exodus 20:11 regarding the keeping of the Sabbath?

         NOTE: Obviously, we are to keep reminding ourselves that Yahweh is the Creator of heaven and earth, that He has made all things and given life to all creatures. If mankind would abide by this one commandment, evolution and humanism would never have gained such a foothold in the thinking and philosophy of man.

  3. The Ten Commandments were again given to Israel in Deuteronomy 5, this time to a new generation that had grown up during 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. The disobedient, who were 20 years and older, had died off. Notice Deuteronomy 5:12-15. A new dimension is added to the keeping of the Sabbath, which is found in the 15th verse, as a reason to keep the Sabbath.  What is it?

         NOTE: Egypt is a type of the world, a type of carnal pleasure and pursuit. Exodus 20 speaks of the Sabbath as a memorial of creation. Deuteronomy emphasizes the keeping of the Sabbath as a memorial of redemption. Recall that Deuteronomy was given to Israel just before they were to enter the Promised Land. Spiritually, the Sabbath is a type of redemption for Yahweh's people who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and enter into the Kingdom.

  4. Were the Ten Commandments given to all Israel or only to the tribe of Judah (the Jews)? See Exodus 19:1, 25, 20:18; Deuteronomy 5:1 and Mark 2:27-28.

         NOTE: When Israel came to Mount Sinai to receive the Decalogue, Yahweh revealed the Ten Commandments to ALL ISRAEL, not just to the tribe of Judah. The tribe of Judah (the Jews) was only one of the 12 tribes of Israel. The 12 tribes of Israel are scattered throughout the nations of the world. However, the tribe of Judah makes up most of the nation today called Israel. The Ten Commandments were given to all Israel, which includes all 12 tribes (Malachi 4:4).  Turn to Isaiah 55:5-9 and note that in verse 5 Yahweh is not talking to Jews only. It is to ALL mankind that His salvation is open. In verse 6 we are told to seek Yahweh while He may be found. In 56:1-2, He again lists His conditions. Notice Isaiah 56:4-7, His call is to all people. John records in John 10:35 that Scripture cannot be broken. Therefore, because the prophets proclaim that the Sabbath is for all people throughout all ages, anyone proclaiming another day is a false prophet.

  5. Who gave the Ten Commandments and how long were they to be in force? Deuteronomy 5:29. The Sabbath is one of the commandments, isn't it? (Exodus 20:8) Exodus 20:1 says Yahweh gave the Ten Commandments, not Moses. Read Exodus 20:8-11, noting the word "remember." The commandment reminds us that the Sabbath was kept by our forefathers, and will be kept in the future.

  6. What is the prophecy given in Ezekiel 37:24? Does this include the time when Yahshua will set up the Kingdom? Verses 25-28.

  7. Is the keeping of the Sabbath a sign to Yahweh's people? Exodus 31:13-17. Does Isaiah prophesy of the Sabbaths being a sign even at the end of the age when the new heaven and earth are established? Isaiah 66:22-24.

        NOTE: This reinforced the word of Ezekiel, who said that the Sabbaths were a special sign between Yahweh and His people, Ezekiel 20:12 and 20. Because the people keep a special time set apart by Yahweh as being holy, they themselves become sanctified or made holy. In an effort to do away with the Sabbath, carnal man has come up with many excuses and reasons for not keeping the Sabbath. Some will teach that Yahshua replaced the Ten Commandments with His own "Two Great Commandments," which can be summarized by love. This supposedly eliminates the Sabbath and satisfies the inquirer's curiosity about the 4th Commandment.

     Read this account in Mark 12:29-31. Now read Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18. Yahshua was quoting the summary of the commandments just as they were also summarized in the Old Testament. The first five of the Ten Commandments are for our left hand, and the last five are for our right hand--showing our duty to Yahweh and our fellow man. Paul matches this synopsis of the commandments in Romans 13:9 and Galatians 5:14. See James 2:8 as well.

      It is important that we remember Yahshua's words in Matthew 5:18 that nothing would pass from the law. In John 15:10 we are told to keep the commandments as Yahshua kept them. In the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20, Yahshua tells us to teach converts to observe ALL things whatsoever He commanded, even after baptism into His Name.


sun god 7164844

Sun worship was a common denominator in many pagan rites, such as the Egyptian ceremony (pictured above). These practices led to Sunday worship today.


How Sunday Came to Be Observed Today

     Walk into any Sunday-keeping church on the first day of the week and you'll encounter many worshippers sincerely adamant that they are obeying the Fourth Commandment. But how many people know the reason the majority of churchgoers today ended up keeping the first rather than the seventh day holy in opposition to the commandment? And would it make any difference in their worship if they did?

     Thousands of years of erroneous church tradition are very difficult to break free of. Bad habits die with much effort and anguish. Just because many others have them or are doing them, though, doesn't make them right. What are the facts about the infamous switch from Sabbath worship to reverence of the day of the sun--Sunday?

     Not much is known of the early assembly for 50 years after the destruction of the temple in 70 C.E. But when the new "church" emerges from the writings of the earliest "church fathers" in 120 C.E., "we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of Peter and Paul," Jesse L. Huribut, The Story of the Christian Church, p. 41.

     Some of these differences were spawned by definite feelings of animosity toward Jews, especially in Rome. There, Jewish nationalistic attitudes, along with suspicious "Christians," led to antagonism on the part of both groups, Samuele Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath to Sunday, pp. 169-170. Anti-Jewish riots broke out. Jewish revolts in Mesopotamia, Palestine, Egypt and Cyprus resulted from attempts by Jews to regain national independence.

     According to Bacchiocchi, "Christians often suffered as victims of these outbursts of Jewish violence, seemingly because they were regarded as traitors of the Jewish faith and political aspirations and because they outpaced the Jews in the conversion of the pagans," p. 170.

     Similarly, hatred of Jews took deep root, exemplified by a series of military campaigns of the Roman government against the Jews starting in 70 C.E. The church of Rome, acting on growing sentiment against the Jews, began to urge Sunday worship to wean its adherents from any veneration of the Sabbath observed by the Jews. This action was prompted by a number of contemporary writers, such as Justin Martyr, who taught against the Sabbath.

     Along with worship on the first day of the week, the Roman church urged fasting on the Sabbath, knowing that the Jews would never fast on the day they believed was to be a "delight" (which it should be and not a day for fasting, Isaiah 58:13).

     Not every non-Jew was immediately willing to give up the biblical Sabbath, however, especially in the East. "While it must be admitted that we have evidence for the observance of both days (Sabbath and Sunday), particularly in the East, this must be viewed as a compromise solution on the part of those who wished to retain the old Sabbath while at the same time accepting the new Sunday worship," Bacchiocchi, p. 184.

     Even some "church fathers' Argued for the biblical Sabbath. "Not all the church Fathers denied the Sabbath. Some of them bore positive testimony to the perpetuity of the Ten Commandments. Some also asserted the origin of the Sabbath at Creation. Several of them bore witness to the existence of Sabbathkeepers all along," John Kiesz, A History of the Sabbath and Sunday, p. 15.

     In addition to their attempts to steer away from anything they perceived as Jewish, like the Sabbath and Passover (they substituted Easter), the early church had another motivation for adopting Sunday over the Sabbath. That was the pagan influence.

    Note the following from The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III, p. 123:

"Others, with greater regard to good manners, it must be confessed, suppose that the sun is the God of the Christians, because it is a well-known fact that we pray toward the east, or because we make Sunday a day of festivity. What then? Do you do less than this? Do not many among you, with an affection of sometimes worshipping the heavenly bodies likewise move your lips in the direction of the sunrise? It is you, at all events, who have even admitted the sun into the calendar of the week; and you have selected its day [Sunday] in preference to the preceding day, as the most suitable in the week for either an entire abstinence from the bath, or for its postponement until the evening, or for taking rest and for banqueting. By resorting to these customs, you deliberately deviate from your own religious rites to those of strangers." --Ad Nationes, i, 3.

     Worship of the sun can be traced to Mithraic cults and ultimately to Babylon. (Write for our booklet, The Real Story of Christmas, or read online here.) Sun worship made its way westward to Rome and was dominant by the second century, brought by pagan "converts." Sun worship was indeed one of the oldest components of Roman religion.

     Bacchiocchi notes, "That the day of the Sun enjoyed preeminence already by the middle of the second century is clearly indicated by the famous astrologer Vettius Valens. In his Anthology composed between C.E. 154 and 174, in explaining how to find the day of the week of any given birth date he explicitly states: 'And this is the sequence of the planetary stars in relation to the days of the week: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn,' pp. 250-251."

     As more and more pagans were "converted" to Christianity, their heathen ways were increasingly given credence in a variety of modifications to biblical worship. One of these was Sunday worship.

     "This tendency on the part of the Christians to meet paganism half way was very early developed. Upright men tried to stem the tide; but despite all their efforts, the apostasy went on, till the church, except a small remnant, was submerged under Pagan Superstition, " Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 93.

     According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed., art. "Sunday"), the first law directing Sunday worship came by way of a royal edict of Roman Emperor Constantine in 321 C.E. Constantine had been a pagan sun worshipper during the first years of his reign, and he only later converted to Christianity. His proclamation read, "On the venerable day of the sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed."

     His was an attempt to unite the empire politically, socially and religiously by appointing one universal day for rest.

     Edward Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, notes about Constantine's religion, "The devotion of Constantine was more peculiarly directed to the genius of the sun, the Apollo of Greek and Roman mythology; and he was pleased to be represented with the symbols of the god of light and poetry ... The sun was universally celebrated as the invincible guide and protector of Constantine."

     After Constantine's initial legislation, both emperors and popes in the centuries that followed added more laws to uphold Sunday observance. "What began, however, as a pagan ordinance, ended as a Christian regulation; and a long series of imperial decrees, during the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries, enjoined with increasing stringency abstinence from labor on Sunday." Hutton Webster, Rest Days, p. 270.

     The Council of Laodicea in the fourth century forbade Christians from "observing the Jewish Sabbath," canon 29.


calendar

In no calendar change through the centuries has the sequence of days in the week been lost or changed. This is true with the change above, when the Julian calendar was corrected by Pope Gregory in 1582. Ten days were dropped.


The Messiah Observed the Seventh-day Sabbath

     Did the Messiah and the Apostles keep the Sabbath? Although many ministers claim that the Messiah changed the Sabbath to Sunday, they are unable to support their claims by one Scripture that shows that the Sabbath has been changed from Saturday. We must abide by His Word, for Yahshua said His Word is truth, John 17:17.

  1. How did Yahshua keep the Sabbath? Mark 1:21. Did He do this every week? Luke 4:16. (It was not to the temple that He customarily went, but to where the devout people were gathered.) Read Mark 2:27-28. Notice that Yahshua did not say that the Sabbath was made for the Jews, such as many try to teach today. He said it was made for man! The Sabbath was created more than 2,000 years before the first Jew was born. In Mark 2:23-24, Yahshua and His disciples had just walked through some fields plucking grain (which was lawful, see Deuteronomy 23:25). Read the clear answer of the Savior in Mark 2:25-28 in response to those accusing Him of breaking the law.

        NOTE: Many ministers of Christianity teach that Yahshua had to fulfill all the law, and so He kept the Saturday Sabbath. But after He died and was resurrected, the day of worship was changed to Sunday because that is the day He supposedly arose on. He was not resurrected on Sunday, however. Request our booklet, The Resurrection, Was It on Sunday? or read online here.

  2. Does not Mark 16:1-2 show that the first day of the week immediately follows the Sabbath? This proves that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, Saturday.

  3. Does Luke verify that the Sabbath was still observed by the disciples and followers of Yahshua? Luke 23:56. Yahshua did not tell the women that upon His resurrection they should observe another day instead of the weekly Sabbath. There is not one place in the Bible showing that the Sabbath is ever changed. The Roman church, however, openly admits that it had authority to change the biblical day of worship.

  4. What does Mark say the women did early the first day of the week after the Messiah's death? Mark 16:1. Note that this was after His death and resurrection. If the first day of the week was now a holy time, why would these women be working to anoint and wrap a body?

  5. What does Luke say about the women on the first day of the week following the death and resurrection of the Messiah? Luke 24:1. This was a regular work day. Nothing here tells us the first day of the week is now a time to worship. They had kept the Sabbath, 23:56. Did the Messiah, while still alive, warn the disciples about the improper use of the Sabbath in the time ahead of them? Matthew 24:20.

        NOTE: Yahshua was quite adamant about a certain day. He specifically said THE Sabbath, referring to a certain day. Did Yahshua say that the law would be abolished? Matthew 5:17. In John 15:10, we are told to keep the commandments just as Yahshua did. Are we to teach people to observe Bible laws? Matthew 28:19-20.

     A popular teaching of those who wish to do away with the Sabbath is that the Sabbath, and all the law, was done away when the Messiah was put to death on the tree. When He arose, all things became new and we are no longer under the Old Covenant. If this is true, and we are now given a completely different set of guidelines for the New Covenant, then following the resurrection of the Messiah, the Apostles, especially Paul, should begin keeping the first day of the week. Did they? Let's find out.

Paul Preached to Jews and Gentiles on the Sabbath

     In Acts 13:14, Paul went into the synagogue on the seventh-day Sabbath. See also verse 44. I Acts 16:13, Paul did not go into the synagogue, but to a riverside. In 17:2, Paul again taught the Jews on the Sabbath.

  1. Coming to Corinth, when did he meet with the Jews and Greeks? Acts 18:4.

        NOTE: Paul consistently discussed spiritual things on the Sabbath. He met with the Jews in the synagogue. In his 10-year tour of Asia Minor, Macedonia and Greece, he preached "as his custom was" on 84 specifically mentioned Sabbaths.

  2. The Sabbath was the day when the Jews regularly met, the seventh day. Paul went to them on the Sabbath because they always met at that time. Is there any scriptural record or proof that Paul met with Greeks and Gentiles on another day, the first day of the week? Review again Paul's activity in Antioch, Acts 13:14. Notice that he taught the Jews in verse 16. As the Jews left the synagogue, verse 42, the GENTILES begged him to preach to then on the next SABBATH. What happened the next Sabbath? Verse 44.

        NOTE: If the day of worship had been changed from the 7th day we call Saturday, to Sunday, this would have been a golden opportunity for Paul to tell these Gentiles that the day had now been changed and that Gentiles were now to meet on Sunday. But he said no such thing.

  3. Was Paul in the habit of keeping the weekly Sabbath? Acts 17:2. Note the phrase "as his manner was." He kept the Sabbath years after the death and resurrection of the Savior. In Acts 18:4, both Jews and Greeks were being taught on the Sabbath. There is absolutely no record of his telling them to meet on another day or that the Sabbath had been changed or done away and they were now to meet on Sunday.

  4. Read Paul's statement sin Acts 25:8, 26:4-5, 28:27 and Philippians 3:6. Does he say that he has changed from keeping the laws of Yahweh? Obviously, Paul was still keeping the Sabbath some 30 years after the resurrection of the Messiah. From Paul's own words we learn that he claimed not to have broken the laws of the Jews nor had he violated any of the customs of the fathers. He could not state such a thing had he not been keeping the Sabbath or had he been teaching others to break it.

  5. Did Paul and the other Apostles dispute among themselves over the keeping of the Sabbath? Acts 15:1-35. Notice that this call to go to Jerusalem was to settle certain issues concerning the Gentile converts coming into the Assembly. The Sabbath is nowhere mentioned, nor is any day of worship even discussed.

        NOTE: The respected Elders at Jerusalem who had been with the Messiah were revered in their knowledge and understanding of the teachings of the Messiah. But the Sabbath was not in question. Read Acts 15:19-21. The Gentiles were to be instructed to 1) abstain from idols, 2) from fornication, 3) from things strangled and 4) blood. These were pagan practices.

         They would learn Yahweh's way because in verse 21 we read that the books of Moses were preached in the various cities every Sabbath day. Here again, would have been another ideal time to tell the Gentiles to worship on the first day of the week. But they were expected to assemble every Sabbath day.

  6. Today's popular teaching is that the Sabbath is a burden and is for the Jews only. What particularly does your Bible tell us about the Sabbath? Isaiah 58:13-14. Is the Sabbath a burden? 1 John 5:3. Paul says the commandments are holy, just and good, Romans 7:12.

  7. How can we know and understand Yahweh and His purpose? 1 John 2:3-4. John 14:15 tells us, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." Romans 7:22 tells us that Paul delights in the law of Yahweh. In 1 Corinthians 7:19, another writing of Paul, reveals that the keeping of the commandments is most important.

  8. What does the last book of the Bible tell us to do if we want the right to the tree of life? Revelation 22:14. Immortality is given to those who are obedient to Yahweh, for He is not going to give eternal life to lawbreakers. This life is a testing ground for us to see if we are willing to learn of His way of life and conform to His Son's example.

Will You Obey Your Creator?

     If you are presently working on the Sabbath, you must overcome this wrongful situation (Revelation 21:7, 14:12). You must recognize that you are breaking the Fourth Commandment and go to Yahweh in prayer. Perhaps He'll cause circumstances to arise that will allow you to keep the Sabbath holy. Many who have had to find different employment to avoid Sabbath-breaking find new jobs better than they had before. Ask for Yahweh's guidance.

     Our Babylonish system willfully walks all over this holy day and pays no attention to the way and life Yahweh has for His people. Is it just coincidence that Saturday is the biggest buying and selling day of the week? Most major school activities begin on Friday afternoon or evening. Friday night at sunset is holy to Yahweh. It is a special time to remember His creative powers and the redemption that we all have in His Son.

     As we learned in Lesson 6, Israel failed to obey the covenant Yahweh made with them. They were rebellious. They did not want to be guided even by their very Creator, Hebrews 3:8-10. Because of their stubborn defiance, Yahweh said Israel would not enter into His eternal "rest," verse 11. Israel was kept from the Promised Land, a type of the Kingdom, for disobedience and profaning the Sabbath, Ezekiel 20:13.

     We, too, will be kept from the Kingdom if we sneer at His laws and fail to rest on the Sabbath, Matthew 19:17. The weekly Sabbath represents the very Kingdom rest the faithful will enjoy. "There remains therefore a rest to the people of Yahweh. For he that is entered into His rest, he also ceased from his own works, as Yahweh did from His. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief," Hebrews 4:9-11. "Unbelief" comes from the Greek "apeithesia," and means disobedience, the same sin against the Sabbath and other laws Israel committed, Hebrews 4:1-6.

     At the Messiah's return, the following prophecy will be fulfilled, "And, behold, I come suddenly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be," Revelation 22:12.

     For other in-depth studies of the Sabbath and its importance, write for our booklets, The Sabbath--a Memorial and Promise and/or The Sabbath--A Day for You.

     Click here to test your knowledge.

     May Yahweh bless you and help you in all your learning endeavors!

HalleluYAH! 

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