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When is the Sabbath? Has the day been changed?
In Exodus 20:8-11, the Bible clearly states that “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” So, why do so many worship on a different day of the week? When is the Sabbath, then? Saturday or Sunday? Could it be that the Christian Church has allowed man’s tradition to overshadow God’s way? Finally, why does it matter which day is the true day of worship and which is the counterfeit sabbath?
Sunday in the New Testament
The “first day,” meaning Sunday, is not even mentioned in Revelation, and is only mentioned eight times in other New Testament books. If there is a command to keep Sunday holy, we should find it in one of these Bible passages about the first day of the week.Some of these verses describe how the women returned to Jesus’ tomb on Sunday to finish preparing the body of Christ (Mark 16:1-2, Mark 16:9, Matthew 28:1, Luke 24:1, John 20:1). Jesus was crucified on Friday, called the “preparation day,” because they were to prepare for God’s holy Sabbath day, Saturday. Jesus then rested in the tomb on Sabbath, the “seventh day” of the week, and rose on Sunday, the “first day” of the week. If we look at other verses mentioning the “first day” in the New Testament, we see the same thing. Acts 20:7 tells us: “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them...” The Bible says the disciples broke bread every day (see Acts 2:46), so the fact that they broke bread does not indicate the day was holy. Finally, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 finds Paul instructing believers to set aside their Sabbath offering on the first day of the week, because he was gathering funds for the Christians in Jerusalem who were suffering from famine. Paul wrote ahead to the churches he would visit, so the money would be ready when he arrived.All these New Testament verses mentioning the Sabbath reveal no hint of change.Many Christians read in Luke 4:16 that Jesus, “as His custom was,” went to church on the Sabbath. Christ said in Matthew 24:20 that His disciples would be keeping the seventh-day Sabbath 40 years after the cross. So, Jesus didn’t change the Sabbath! The Bible promises in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” God didn’t change the special day He had set apart for rest and worship, because the Bible says in Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I do not change.” God did not change the Sabbath, Jesus would not change the Sabbath, and the disciples could not change the Sabbath! (Acts 5:29)
The Beast’s Deception
We can look to Bible prophecy to see how God’s Sabbath could have been changed to a counterfeit. In Daniel 7:2-3, “Daniel spoke, saying, ‘I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.’” Daniel goes on to describe the beasts as a lion, bear, leopard, and a beast with ten horns and iron teeth. Verse 17 states that the beasts represent four kings, or kingdoms.Most Bible scholars agree that the fourth beast represents the Roman Empire. Daniel 7:8, “I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them . . . And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.” This little horn comes up among the first ten horns, after the fall of Rome.Daniel 7:25 predicts, “He [the little horn] shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and laws . . .”The Bible tells us that Sunday’s sacredness comes from the tradition and commandments of men. The issue is much more than a matter of one day versus another. One day was sanctified by God, and set aside. And God rested only on the seventh day—“the Sabbath.” It is Jesus Himself in Matthew 15:3-9 who says “in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”Our choice is simple. The Bible or tradition. Jesus or religious leaders. God’s law or man’s dogmas.
Who will you serve?
God says the Sabbath is a great sign. (Ezekiel 20:12; Exodus 31:16) It’s a sign of our loyalty to Christ and that we believe He created our world. It is a sign that we can rest in the completed work of salvation through Christ. The Bible Sabbath matters so much to God that He wrote it in stone!Revelation 14:12 says, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”Are you willing to follow wherever Jesus leads? The narrow road may be different than what you thought, but it leads to the tree of life in the city of God.
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