Q. How Do I Keep the Sabbath?
A. INTRODUCTION: Isaiah 58:13, 14 says to “Turn away thy foot from the Sabbath.” When God’s call: “Take your foot off My Sabbath!” first comes to us, we naturally ask: “How does God want us to keep the Sabbath. In what way should our conduct on this day differ from our conduct on the other days of the week?” God has not left us in doubt on this question. He delights in positive, intelligent, spontaneous Sabbath keeping. He has, therefore, given us a complete set of guidelines to follow in our preparation for, and observance of, the Sabbath day.
In this lesson we will study the Bible’s code of Sabbath-keeping etiquette.
1. To “hallow” the Sabbath means to treat it with utmost reverence and respect (Ezek. 20:12, 20).
2. To “remember” the Sabbath means to think of it, and plan for it all through the week (Ex. 20:8-11).
3. To keep it “holy” means to keep it “wholly” for God. Therefore, we will guard its edges carefully (Ex. 20:8-11). See Amos 8:5 for the wrong attitude.
4. God’s ideal for the Sabbath is a day of delight not of dullness and “don’ts”, austerity and gloom (Isa. 58:13, 14).
5. We lay aside our own words, works, pleasures and cares (Isa. 58:13, 14).
6. We prepare our foodstuffs, homes and persons on the sixth day (Ex. 16:23; Luke 23:53-56).
7. No buying or selling on the Sabbath, business matters not discussed (Neh. 10:31, 13:15-22).
8. The Sabbath is measured from sunset to sunset (Lev. 23:32; Neh. 13:19). “Even” means “sunset” (Deut. 16:6). We “open” and “close” the Sabbath with praise and prayer.
9. The Sabbath is “a holy convocation” an assembly, or gathering together (Lev. 23:3). We assemble for joyous public worship (Luke 4:16; Acts 16:13).
10. Three books enrich the Sabbath hours: The Bible, the hymn book, and the Book of Nature.
11. “It is lawful to do well on the Sabbath day” (Matt. 12:12). We take sunshine, healing and comfort to the sick and depressed.
12. We receive from Jesus the innermost sacrament of the Sabbath: “Rest for the soul” (Matt. 11:28-30; Heb. 4:9, 10). This is the ultimate secret of all true Sabbath keeping.
The Psalmist prayed: “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law” (Ps. 119:18). It is only when our eyes have been opened by the Spirit of God that we come to see the true worth and beauty of the Sabbath.
[dropcap2]Q[/dropcap2]What Day Is the Sabbath–Saturday Or Sunday?
I was called an “Iconoclast.” I looked it up in my dictionary that was given to me in 1984 by the girls and boys of the Lakeview Elementary School in Ludington, Michigan when I retired. It said that an iconoclast was
1. One who destroys religious images or opposes their veneration
2. One ho attacks established beliefs or institutions.
Those two definitions bothered me. I didn’t feel like I was destroying or attacking anything. Maybe there are different definitions somewhere. I looked up what the computer had to say about being an iconoclast.
Here’s what the Encarta dictionary: English (North America) had to say about iconoclast:
1. Somebody challenging tradition– Somebody who challenges or overturns traditional beliefs, custom, and values
2. Destroyer of religious images somebody who destroys religious images used in worship or is opposed to their use in worship
3. Heretic in Greek Orthodox Church a member of an 8th century movement in the Greek Orthodox Church that tried to end the use of icons.
Well, I can live with the first definition about challenging tradition, but I sure didn’t set out to destroy or attack anybody’s belief system. However, it has rather worked out that way. I wanted to share what I found in the Bible with some of my friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. who hadn’t really studied the Bible. They had apparently accepted what they had been told in church, by their preacher. Some people are so busy that they don’t have the time to study the Bible to find out if what they are being told or taught is true or not. Most of us take for granted that what the preacher is telling us it true and don’t question it.
This all started when I was killing some time in a Goodwill store while my wife was looking for a sweater or something. I like to read, and was in the book section when a book title caught my attention. The title was, “From Saturday to Sunday.” It was written by Carlyle G. Hayden. I started reading it as I was waiting. It wasn’t a big book so I finished reading it that evening.
Although the book was small it presented a concept in a clear and concise manner that inspired me to do some further reading on the subject of going to church on Sunday. What I’m writing is directed toward those people who call themselves Christians.
Do you call yourself a Christian? If you do then you believe in God, Jesus Christ His son the Bible and the Ten Commandments. By definition, a Christian is one who follows Christ, who believes in the precepts taught by Jesus and followed by Jesus. What you are going to read here may change your life because once you know the truth you won’t have any excuse for not doing what God wants you to do.
God will “wink His eye” at those who break his laws because of ignorance but once a person knows the truth, that person has no excuse for not following God’s commandments and laws. So maybe you shouldn’t read any further if you don’t want to find out something that will change your life.
Being or becoming a Christian is not easy. Even the Bible says that it won’t be easy. The path seems simple but many people can’t or won’t make the effort to follow the teachings of the Bible. They leave the “religious thing” up to the church. After all, the church knows what it’s doing–Right? Other people just aren’t interested enough to make the effort, some people don’t believe in the concept of God, Jesus and the Bible and others have a passing interest in Christianity but only a casual acquaintance with the occasional “socially correct” remark about God and His business.
What is God’s business? He wants all of humanity to take the opportunity to become members of His family.
A Christian is a bit more than being a republican or democrat. Being a republican, democrat or independent doesn’t really take much effort. It can be a hit or miss kind of thing. Sometimes you agree with your party, sometimes you don’t–Not a big deal. Sometimes you vote a straight ticket and sometimes if you get angry with your party, you vote a split ticket. Most of the time you go along with the party line, not caring what is going on because you have too many other things to do in the busy world of ours. People are too busy to study the candidates and what they are standing for or the promises they make. As long as you can at least half way agree with what they’re saying on the Sunday morning news, you’ll go along with the party. You are usually happy when the election is over so you won’t have to listen to the political sound bites day after day.
Becoming a faithful Christian means that you have to make some changes in your life that will effect not only the way you live but also how your family, relatives, friends and neighbors may begin looking at you.
First, the people you know may not be able to believe that you believe, really believe, in the Bible, God and Jesus Christ. “He seemed like such a normal person. Well, those things happen even in the nicest families,” could be the thoughts of some of your friends.
You have decided to become a Christian. It doesn’t matter much what caused this transformation, what’s important is that it happened. Now you have a problem. “What church will I attend?” Most of them teach about the same thing, they’re against sin, most sin anyway. Many of the churches have creeds that they live by and expect you to live by, kind of like the creed God has–The Ten Commandments.
That’s right, God expects Christians to live by His creed, The Ten Commandments–No if ands or buts. He’s in charge and if you want to be a member of His family you will have to follow His rules, His commandments–All ten of them. So right away, you find out that not all churches teach the Ten Commandments. “Well, that’s just great. Now what do I do?” If I want to become a member of a church, it would seem only logical that I would want to join a church that believes in God, Jesus Christ and the Bible. That isn’t too much to ask, is it? That a Christian church should teach and follow God’s word more so than any other kind of church?
But do all our Christian churches follow the Ten Commandments and teach them? No. As you read the Bible, God’s Word, and do some of your own research you will find more and more things that are taught, or that you heard somewhere, are not really part of the Bible. What you find will probably surprise you.
You will find out that there are dozens, if not hundreds of Christian denominations all of whom say that they are good Christian churches that preach the word of God. If they all preach the word of God then what makes one different from the others? Each one feels that they have the “true” way to become a member of God’s family.
Jesus and His apostles started churches that were based on the teachings of Jesus. That was true in the beginning. All those early churches preached the life and lessons of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures that Jesus used and often referred to were from the Old Testament. The New Testament had not yet been written and wouldn’t be for many years. The early churches, by the way, were not the churches that you recognize today. The services were usually held in the home of someone and were often held outdoors when possible.
One of the things I became aware of was a monumental change that took place early on in the history of the development of the Christian church. The Ten Commandments were changed!
Here are the original Ten Commandments as listed in the King James Version of the Bible. We can use them here as a reference in case some of us have forgotten them. It seems that we may have some kind of selective memory since we can remember the stats of our favorite baseball or football player or the words of a song we like but we can’t remember the 50 states or the Ten Commandments.
1. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
4. 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, and hallowed it.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbours.
A Christian, according to Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary is: One who professes belief in the teaching of Jesus Christ.” Therefore, if you call yourself a Christian, you profess to have a belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Do you or have you made that profession?
If you believe in the teachings of Jesus, you believe in the Bible as the inspired word of God. Jesus does. Do you believe in the Ten Commandments? Jesus does. So now, let’s pretend that you are a Christian and live, as much as you can, a life that follows Jesus’ teachings.
Let us also agree that the Ten Commandments are viable today and if everyone followed them, the world would be a much nicer place. Good. With an open mind, then, we will take a little closer look at the Ten Commandments as given to Moses, written wit God’s finger on two slabs of stone.
We see there are two Commandments that do not start with, “Thou shalt not…” Did you realize that? The fourth starts with, “Remember…” and the fifth starts with, “Honour…” The fourth commandment was given before there was a Jewish nation; it was given on the seventh day of creation. We also see that the second commandment ends with,… “And keep my commandments.”
As mentioned above, the fourth commandment starts with the word, “Remember…” and for good reason. In the book of Daniel chapter 7, verse 25, God says in a vision that there is coming a time when a power is going to change times and laws. It looks like that power has already changed the law, because the majority of Christian churches have forgotten the fourth commandment, or consider it out of touch in this modern age.
Jesus followed the fourth commandment; His apostles followed the fourth commandment, as did the early church for hundreds of years. How did this change come about, this changing of the fourth commandment? Think about this, God gave the Ten Commandments to all humankind, not just the Jews, because when he first blessed the seventh day and made it holy, he said that it would be a sign between Him and man forever. Jesus said that He didn’t come to do away with the law but to exemplify it, to fulfill it, to explain and teach it. He also said that not one jot or tittle would be changed in the law (Ten Commandments). So what happened? You can read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and not find one instance, place, sentence or word that transfers the holiness of the Sabbath (Saturday, last day of the week) to the first day of the week, Sunday.
If the Ten Commandments weren’t changed in the Bible then an outside source overruled God and changed one of His laws. Can you imagine anyone telling God that one of His commandments just doesn’t cut it anymore and, “We will just change it to fit our program?” That’s what happened. All of us “Christians” should be worshipping God on the day that He set aside, blessed and made holy. Instead, every time we go to church to worship God on Sunday we are breaking the fourth commandment. Does that really make any difference? It sure does if you believe the Bible where it says repeatedly that breaking of one law make us guilty of breaking all the laws and breaking the law is a sin and the wages of sin is death. We are trifling with eternal death when we ignore and break the fourth commandment.
“But,” you say, “I’ve been going to church on Sunday my whole life just like my parents and their parents before them. That is what we have been taught in church. What you are saying couldn’t possible be true, our pastors, preachers, priests have been teaching us this for as long as there has been a church.”
Really? Have you read your Bible lately? Have you read where the solemnity of the Sabbath has been changed to Sunday? Of course not. Every week you are breaking one of the commandments and the Bible says that if you break one you are guilty of breaking them all. What’s the penalty of breaking His law? Death.
The reason you go to church on Sunday is because the Catholic Church transferred the day God designated as the day to worship Him from the seventh day to the first day of the week. So all Protestants that go to church on Sunday, to worship God are paying homage to the power of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church doesn’t deny this at all. Here are some quotations taken from Carlyle B Haynes book entitled, “From Saturday to Sunday.”
“A Doctrinal Catechism by the Reverend Stephen Keenan was approved by the Most Reverend John Hughes, D.D., Archbishop of New York.
Q. Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?
A. Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her–she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority” Page 174
“The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, the work of the Reverend Peter Geiermann, C.S.R. received on January 25, 1910, the “apostolic blessing” of Pope Pius X.
Q. Which is the Sabbath day?
A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”-Second edition, p .50.
Cardinal Gibbons in, “Faith of Our Fathers”, says this: “You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.”
There are several more quotes listed in Haynes’ book. Another book, “America in Prophesy” also lists 16 references but we will use just three. These are from pages 438 and 439.
“Protestants…accept Sunday rather than Saturday as the day for public worship after the Catholic Church made the change…But the Protestant mind does not seem to realize that…in observing the Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the church, the Pope.” From “Our Sunday Visitor,” February 5, 1950.
“Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles…From beginning to end of scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first.” Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August 1900.
“The Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith has no warrant for observing Sunday. In this matter the Seventh-day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant.” “The Catholic Universe Bulletin,” August 14, 1942.
On pages 440 and 441 of “America in Prophecy” Protestant leaders speak out with 15 quotes. Here are four of them:
Baptist: “There was and is a command to keep holy the Sabbath day, but the Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will however be readily said, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject, which I have studied for many years, I ask, where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament–not. There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath intuition from the seventh to the first day of the week.” Dr. E.T. Hiscox, author of the “Baptist Manual.”
Congregationalist: “It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath…The Sabbath was founded on a specific, divine command. We can plead no such command for the observance of Sunday…There is not a single line in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday.” Dr. R.W. Dale, “The Ten Commandments,” p.106-107.
Presbyterian: “There is no word, no hint in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday. The observance of Ash Wednesday, or lent, stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday. Into the rest of Sunday no divine Law enters.” Canon Eyton, in “The Ten commandments.”
Methodist: “It is true that there is no positive command for infant baptism. Nor is there any keeping holy the first day of the week. Many believe that Christ changed the Sabbath. But, from His own words, we see that He came for no such purpose. Those who believe that Jesus hanged the Sabbath base it only on a supposition.” Amos Binney, “Theological Compendium,” pp.180-181.
Do you find it difficult to understand why the leaders, teachers, writers, etc. of the Protestant faiths aren’t making an issue of these facts. Could it be that they don’t want to rock the boat? Are they more afraid of the public’s reaction than they are of God’s reaction? How can anyone say that the fourth commandment is no longer in effect but the other nine are?
You may have some tough choices to make. Are you going to follow the commandments of God or the commandments of man? The Bible says this in Mark 7:7, “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Those who knowingly teach us to follow the precepts of men have a special punishment awaiting them. It’s all spelled out in the Bible.
Why don’t you ask your church leader or whoever it is that gives the Sunday sermon if they believe in the Nine Commandments and if they say something to the effect that there are Ten Commandments, you can ask them why they don’t follow the fourth commandment? The one about keeping the Sabbath for God. I’m also certain they will have an answer, but is it based on what the Bible tells us?
By doing some research and reading on your own you will find that what you have read here is the truth. When you realize this fact are you going to continue to knowingly break the fourth commandment? It is your personal choice; no one can make that choice for you. It is not an easy choice because it will change your life. It will affect your family, your job, and your friends.
However, the blessings of following the fourth commandment are many. First, you know that you are following the commandments of God and not the commandments of man. Remember, the Sabbath is a time when you and the Lord share time together; it is His special day. Then there’s no usual work, no daily routine and no demands for the whole day. You can relax and share time with God, your family and fellow Sabbath followers.
So enjoy, it’s nice to know you can always ask God for help.
Submitted by James Burnett
[dropcap2]Q[/dropcap2]What does the fourth commandment say about keeping the Sabbath?
[dropcap2]A[/dropcap2]“8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 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: 11 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.” Ex. 20:8-11
[dropcap2]Q[/dropcap2]Did Jesus go to church on Sabbath or Sunday?
[dropcap2]A[/dropcap2]“16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” Luke 4:16
[dropcap2]Q[/dropcap2]Is Jesus Lord of the Sabbath or Sunday?
[dropcap2]A[/dropcap2]“8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” Mat. 12:8
[dropcap2]Q[/dropcap2]Did Gentiles ever keep the Sabbath?
[dropcap2]A[/dropcap2]“42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.” Acts 13:42&44
[dropcap2]Q[/dropcap2]Does God bless those who keep the Sabbath?
[dropcap2]A[/dropcap2]“2 Blessed [is] the man [that] doeth this, and the son of man [that] layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. . . . “6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;” Isa. 56:2&6
[dropcap2]Q[/dropcap2]Does the seventh-day Sabbath remain after Jesus went to Heaven?
[dropcap2]A[/dropcap2]“4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh [day] on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. . . 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his.” Heb. 4:4,9,10
[dropcap2]Q[/dropcap2]Can we change the Sabbath day: or will it be the 7th day forever?
[dropcap2]A[/dropcap2]“17 It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” Ex. 31:17
[dropcap2]Q[/dropcap2]Is there a reward for not seeking our own pleasure on the Sabbath?
[dropcap2]A[/dropcap2]“13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: 14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].” Isa. 58:13, 14
[dropcap2]Q[/dropcap2]How does God feel if we change His 7th day Sabbath to another day?
[dropcap2]A[/dropcap2]“10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.” Jam. 2:10
[dropcap2]Q[/dropcap2]God says “I change not” will we keep the Sabbath in Heaven?
[dropcap2]A[/dropcap2]“22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.” Isa. 66:22, 23