Most professing Christians accept Sunday as the New Testament Lord’s day. Muslims observe Friday. Some religions observe no day. But there are those who insist the seventh-day Sabbath is still binding. Have you ever seriously looked into this question?
You may already be aware that God included Sabbath-keeping as one of His Ten Commandments. “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” (Exodus 20:10).
There is little dispute that “the seventh day” is Saturday. So why do most Christians observe Sunday, if they aim to keep a day holy at all? This is an important question, and too few ask it.
Sunday has not always been observed or accepted in general Christianity as it is today. In fact, the Sabbath vs. Sunday controversy raged during the first three centuries of the Christian era. Millions were tortured and put to death over this very question. The story of how Sunday-worshipers won out is fascinating, and is answered in our article “Is There Anything Wrong With Sunday Worship?” Read the Bible cover to cover and you will not find a command for weekly Sunday worship. Arguments for Sunday worship do not come from the Bible. Sunday worship is a tradition of men.
Many people assume the Fourth Commandment is for Jews and does not apply to them, or that it has been done away with.
Who is right? Does even it make any difference what day we keep?
If God is not in the picture, then it truly makes no difference which day, or whether you observe it. But God is in the picture!
The question we should be concerned about is, what day does Christ, through the Bible, say we should keep?
“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” (Genesis 2:2-3). God set apart the seventh day at creation. He created the Sabbath and never changed it. This was long before He gave the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 16 shows that Sabbath-keeping is a test of obedience to God. For six days out of each week, God sent manna daily. On the sixth day, He provided a double portion, and commanded that the Israelites rest from gathering manna on the seventh day, because it is “the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord” (verse 23). He did this to “prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no” (verse 4). Sadly, far too often, the Israelites did not pass that test.
In Exodus 31:12-17, God made a special covenant with the Israelites regarding the Sabbath, separate from the Old Covenant (which was ratified in Exodus 24). He called the Sabbath “a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever.” A sign is something that identifies. This sign identifies the people of God in a world that does not keep this law.
Is the Sabbath applicable to Christians today? The prevalent idea seems to be that the Sabbath was made for the Jew. But what did Christ Himself say? In Mark 2:27, He said, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” He said it was made “for man,” not just a specific category of man.
Jesus, our perfect example, kept the seventh-day Sabbath properly (e.g. Luke 4:16). After He was crucified, the Church He founded did the same (e.g. Acts 17:1-2; 18:4). The example set by Christ and His apostles is recorded in the Bible for us to follow today. There is no scriptural evidence that God ever intended to change the day of worship.
By trusting in God’s Word and letting that be our authority, we see that God’s seventh-day Sabbath is still in force.
This “sign” is one we accept voluntarily. But how many do you know who keep the seventh-day Sabbath? It is obvious to the world when one keeps God’s Sabbath. Most people don’t want to be identified as being different from the world. Therefore, it is the crucial test of obedience, for it identifies those who have truly surrendered to God, who obey all of His commandments regardless of persecution or cost. God is giving us a test—an examination—every week!
Though their ranks are few, there are some who accept God’s authority in their life rather than following human tradition. They keep God’s seventh-day Sabbath because God commands it. They recognize that God’s authority supersedes all authority of men, that no one can change God’s law. They choose to voluntarily obey God, and they trust that God will bless their obedience (Isaiah 56:2; 58:13-14; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18).
If you are not already observing God’s Sabbath day, start now! Prove God’s promise to bless obedience to this crucial command. For thorough proof of this biblical truth, and for instruction on how to observe the Sabbath properly, read our free booklet Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath? You can read it online, or we will gladly send you a free copy.