The Sabbath

Sabbath or Sunday - Does It Matter?

Truth is often stranger than fiction! And this is certainly true when it comes to the question of which day is the Sabbath for Christians. Consider the following commonly accepted ideas on the subject:

1. The early New Testament Christians began worshipping on the first day of the week instead of the Sabbath

2. The Sabbath was a Jewish institution which originated with Moses.

3. The Sabbath of the Old Testament was a day of legalistic restrictions, a burden and yoke for the Israelites.

4. Roman Catholic theologians rely primarily on the Bible for justification for observing Sunday as a holy day.

If you are inclined to agree with any of these concepts, you are in for some surprises. As you read this booklet you may discover that the truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

Origin of the Sabbath

The origin of the Sabbath rest goes back 2500 years or more before Moses and the children of Israel. It goes back to the very creation of the world and of mankind.

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. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done (Gen. 2.1-2).

How significant!

The very God of the universe chose to cease from His labour not because He was tired. For God is not a being of flesh (is. 40.28). Yet He chose to cease, to rest, to step back and delight in what He had created. And what's more, He blessed, sanctified, and made holy the seventh day!

The fact is that the Sabbath was created by God Himself when man was created-well over two millennia before Moses. And resting and fellowshipping with God on that first Sabbath day was Adam, who had been created on the day before!

Other passages of Scripture also indicate that the Sabbath was given at Creation. For example, in the giving of the Fourth Commandment, Israel was reminded of the origin of the sabbath.

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 (Ex. 20.1 1).

When was the Sabbath blessed and made holy? At creation!

Jesus also corroborates the early origin of the Sabbath. In upbraiding the Pharisees for their legalistic approach to the Sabbath, He reminded them that the "Sabbath was made for man" (Mark 2.27). Of course, His primary point had to do with whether man was created to serve the day or whether the day was created as a blessing for the benefit of man. But in making that point, Jesus showed the sabbath was made - not just for Israel it was made for man! And when was it made for man? At Creation! Over 2500 years before Moses!