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Is the Seventh day really the Sabbath?

The Bible tells us that God implemented the Sabbath day, at the time of creation as a memorial to his wondrous work. It says, Gen 2:2-3 “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 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”.

This shows clearly that at the beginning of time the seventh day was the day set apart by God as His Sabbath. This was later reiterated on Mount Sinai when He wrote the Ten Commandments in stone and gave them to Moses. The fourth commandment plainly states Exo 20:8-11 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it”.

This means that in Moses time the Sabbath day was still the seventh day, but did it change after the cross?

Undoubtedly a lot of things changed when Christ died and was resurrected. All of the old Jewish ordinances, with their feasts, fast days, sacrifices and ceremonies (which had been written by Moses in his handwriting and placed in the side of the Ark of the covenant) were abolished. They were no longer necessary as they had all been pointing to the coming of the Messiah, and with His one perfect sacrifice that allowed forgiveness of sins for all time through grace, they were no longer needed. However Jesus never said anything to in any way even imply that the Sabbath day would be changed or altered, and in fact if He had, He would have been contradicting what he had previously said about the Law of God, which included the Sabbath commandment, and that was Mat 5:18 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled”.

Why does God want us to keep the Sabbath, and how do we do it?

The biblical Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday night and ends at sunset on Saturday. The Bible describes how to keep it as follows. Isaiah 58:13-14 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight…not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth…” This means we are not to do any kind of real work on the Sabbath like our normal occupation, personal business, housework or any laborious activity. Of course, preparing or cleaning up after a light meal would be all right as we find a number of occasions when Jesus enjoyed a Sabbath meal with others. He never condemned acts of hospitality on the Sabbath (see Luke 14:1-6). Since Jesus said in Matthew 12:10-12 “…it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath”, such as healing the sick or rescuing an animal, obviously performing medical services is fine.

The point of the Sabbath is that, whatever we do, God must be an intrinsic part of it. Taking a walk with your family through a natural setting is a wonderful way to get in touch with God who made the beautiful creations we see. To keep the Sabbath in the true spirit, we have to focus our minds on God and those things He wants us to be concerned with during His holy time. Then, as God promised, we will be truly blessed. As it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath, it is a great time to make encouraging phone calls or visit the sick. The Sabbath is also a Leviticus 23:3 “…sabbath of rest, an holy convocation” and is an ideal time for worship services. When we fellowship with others in whom God dwells, we are also fellowshipping with Him (see 1 John 1:3, 7). We should view the Sabbath as a very special day, a period when we can take time to deeply study and thoughtfully analyse the scriptures. It is a time when we can sit quietly, meditating over and contemplating the truly big issues of life and eternity. In addition, the Sabbath is the perfect time for heartfelt prayer to our Father in heaven to commune with and worship Him, to get to know Him intimately. This is why we can call God’s Sabbath a delight.

All Bible references are from the King James Version.

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