Why a New Covenant Believer is NOT required to keep the Sabbath today
When you start with a wrong premise than everything else built on that premise will be wrong.
This is perfectly illustrated by Sabbatraians who insist that we must keep the law, i.e. the Sabbath which is from the Old covenant of Moses..
We read the law was given to Israel, a nation that was made from Abraham. It was given by Moses, it was never given to a non Jew. No one can find a Scripture where the Mosaic laws Sabbath was required by gentiles. (See Rom.. 6:14; Rom. 7.7 Gal 5:18; Heb 7:18-19 )
Genesis 2:2-3 the 7th day (rest) concluded the 6 days of God’s work making it a completed week of seven days. This rest day older than the Sabbath given in the Jewish covenant to the Israelites at Sinai. Mankind did not separate this day for themselves. God did for Israel. It was held until a certain time, given to Israel as a day of rest from their slavery in Egypt.
Nehemiah 9:13-14 and Ezekiel 20:12, 20 make it clear that the Sabbath law was not given UNTIL Mount Sinai.
On Mt. Sinai God gave Moses the first installment of the law written on tablets. These 10 commands were inclusive to the other 603 commands that Israel was to keep. This is the critical issue that needs to be seen so that one can know which is the Old Covenant and which is the new, or they will become confused and think they must keep the Sabbath as New Covenant believers (it is now a choice, not an obligation).
Exodus 34:27-28: “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” The 10 are the covenant, this is why they were given first. All the other laws are united with the 10 that were given to Moses.
The Sabbath was part of the law covenant with Moses – once one actually believes the gospel, that law is abolished because of Christ (2 Cor.3:6-13; Eph. 2:15); Christ is the end of the law for those who have faith; New believers have Christ (Rom 10:4); that Jesus took away the first (covenant of law) that He might establish the second (covenant of grace); meaning they are not the same, nor a continuation (Heb. 10:5-9). The righteousness of God is revealed without the aid of the law (Rom. 3:21-22) witnessed by the prophets. Jesus is our righteousness, not the law. This is why we read over and over the righteousness of God is by faith (Rom.1:17; 4:11,13;9:30)
The law is to show us being guilty to bring us to Christ (1 Tim.19). When one says you must keep the Sabbath law they are obligated by it, unknowingly they are saying that they do not have faith to be saved without it. They are as Paul says “being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom. 10:3-4).
Perpetual Sabbath - NO
The words like “perpetual” and “everlasting” are often used to prove the law keepers position. But they neglect that it is to be qualified by the phrase “throughout your generations,” a reference to the generations of the Jewish old covenant (which ended at the cross).
What does the word “perpetual” mean? Exod.31:13, the covenant's duration is given as being “throughout your generations.” This phrase is used to denote the generations of the Jews as God's chosen people. The term “perpetual” is defined and limited by that phrase, which is very easy to prove. Many aspects of the Mosaic covenant are said to be “perpetual.” To mention a few, the Aaronic priesthood was according to a perpetual statute (Exodus 29:9); “for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations” (Exod. 40:15) The Passover You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance (Exod. 12:14).
Incense burning was perpetual (Exodus 30:8); the washing of feet and hands by the priests was a perpetual statute (Exodus 30:21), as was the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:41); Exod. 12:17 'So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, …Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance.” Do you keep the feast days? Lev.23:31 tells us it is a statute forever. The blowing of trumpets by the priests (Numbers 10:8). 'This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither fat nor blood'“ (Lev 3:17). Exod. 29:42 “This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD,” (but there is no tabernacle today). “This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.” And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Lev. 16:34) “and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood” (Num. 25:13) Do all sabbatarians keep the Levitical priesthood and sacrifice? Why not? Because it was done away with by the new covenant.
The New Testament clearly states that we need not observe the Sabbath (Romans 14:5; Galatians 4:9-11; Colossians 2:14-17). So the Law keeper will Always use the Old Testament or portions of Jesus when he was under the law before the atonement for sin by him at the crucifixion. The references, then, to keeping the Law “forever” must be taken to mean “for a long time” instead of eternity if one keeps the words and meaning in its context.
Nowhere does the Bible say that Paul or ANY Christian kept the Sabbath according to a commandment after the resurrection, it was not an obligation, but a custom. Acts 17:2-5 “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” He had this custom kept because he was a Jew who was wanting to reach other Jews and did not want to offend them by his freedom in Christ.
The most important words God gave man are not the 10 commandments but THE GOSPEL. The commandments cannot redeem man but only show how far he is from obeying God.
If one is to keep the Sabbath day as law then they are also be under the obligation to also observe the Sabbath year Lev.25:17. The land is to be tilled for six years and the seventh year is the Sabbath year. And there are many other laws that pertain to the Sabbath that they would not want to keep.
Paul states in Rom.6:14 “ For you are not under law, but under grace.” That ios all we need to understand, it is that simple. (Those who are not in Christ are under the law because its purpose is to bring one to Christ (Gal.3; Heb.8:7-8, 13). Grace is how we operate in the new covenant, law is how they operated in the old covenant.
The Sabbath is a NOT moral law - no one kept it until Israel was given it as the Law of Moses.
The Sabbath is a NOT moral law - no one kept it until Israel was given it as the Law of Moses.
This has to be repeated twice for observers to HEAR it, not just listen to it! The other 9 laws are moral and are expanded in the New Testament teaching for the church, the Sabbath is NOT.
For example Abram married his half sister but when the Mosaic law was given this was considered sin, why? Because this is part of the moral law given to ISRAEL by MOSES.
In all the 5 books that the apostle John wrote, he called the Sabbath “the Sabbath” it is mentioned only in his gospel (10 times Jn.5;9,10,16;7:22,23;9:14,16,31)
John writes in the last book of the Bible Rev. 1:10 “I was in
the Spirit on the Lord's Day.” This is not referring to a Sabbath, or John would
have said, “I was in the Spirit on the Sabbath.” As he did elsewhere. Lord-
kuriakos, meaning a day belonging to the Lord, a Lord’s day. It could have
been the First day of the week: Sunday, or a day John was in communion with the
Lord, there is more evidence it was not the Sabbath, than is. So this becomes a
bad argument for law keepers.
Sabbatrians will always run back to Genesis to find it mentioned and skip over thousands of years of history to find it again given exclusively to Moses FOR ISREAL. But there is no command for man to keep the Sabbath from the 7th day God rested from his work. They make it up, inserting their belief system on the word and ignore when it was given to Israel as part of the OLD covenant. All this to bring new covenant believers under its observance, making them Judaizers like themselves.
There is more than just the 7th Day Sabbath to keep. In Leviticus 23:32, the Day of Atonement is defined as a Sabbath. In Leviticus 23:24, the Feast of Trumpets is defined as a Sabbath in the original Hebrew, in the King James Version; other translations obscure the meaning of the original text by calling it a “sacred assembly” or “memorial”. In Leviticus 23:38, the text emphasizes that the ceremonial Sabbaths are in addition to the “sabbaths of YHWH” or “Lord's Sabbaths” (the weekly Sabbaths).
Again, considering the repeated admonition in Leviticus 23 that these Sabbaths were to be observed forever, one cannot separate the 7th day from the other Sabbath days. Num. 15:40: “and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God.” So we do not just remember the Sabbath day.
Eph 2:15 abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. Notice, “the law” is singular, not laws a plural. There was just “one law” called the law of Moses, the Mosaic covenant is based on the law and the seal of the old covenant is the Sabbath.
Those who have salvation in heaven Rev 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
I do not see them overcome by keeping the commandments, do you? There’s no Sabbath mentioned which seems more than odd if it so important a revelation (In fact from Romans on to Revelation there is no Sabbath day required for the church. Even in the book of Acts Paul preached to the Jews in the synagogue on the Sabbath).
Jesus never said remember the Sabbath, or keep the Sabbath (He said remember of other things), it was the Pharisees that did this and complained about him doing things on this day. Jesus said he was the Lord of the Sabbath, (Mt.12:8) He is the lord of everything. John 9:16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. And that division continues today (Mt.12:11). Are not sabbatarians saying that about us, your are not of God unless you keep this day the way we do.
Acts 15:5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” It was the Pharisees who did not understand the new covenant and were willing to add grace to the commandments. Who is your model of ministry?
Rom. 2:14: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves :Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” In other words they have a conscience, they have been made in the image of God so they instinctively know what is wrong or right to a certain extent. But notice that Paul says they do not have the law. Was he wrong or right? According to the law keepers who insist on Sabbath keeping, he was wrong. But the Bible says over and over the law was giving to Israel, not the world. How can Gentiles obey the law if they never received it? Again, some of the law is moral and because man was made in the image of God he would understand these parts.
Why no one keeps the Sabbath today
Gen. 1:31 “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Gen. 2:2 “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” The rest is connected to God who alone did the work. It was not given to man (yet). But it is called the 7th day, God alone rested, the day after man was created .
First mention of a Sabbath for man:
Exod. 16:23 Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD has said: 'Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD.” V.25-26 Then Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. “Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, there will be none.”
Now man is given a day to REST and to remember the Lord who is their deliverer from the bondage they experienced in Egypt.
Then in Exod. 20:8-11 it is explained to the nation Israel for the first time in mankind’s history “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
It was set apart, we later find Jesus teach “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”
(Mark 2:27). The Sabbath was kept once by God to complete the creation, then it was set apart for man. The question is when it was given and we have the answer from Moses.
Exod. 20:11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
It is at this time Israel was given the pattern of work and rest, not just for man but for everything that works.
Exod. 23:12 “Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed.”
Anyone who is with Israel was to rest along with them.
Exod. 31:15 'Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” (also Exod. 35:20
Well here is where the Sabbath keepers ignore the commands that are attached to the Sabbath.
Rom. 7:6: “But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” The letter being that which was written on stone, the 10 commands (2 Cor. 3:6-7). It’s not just keeping the day but the whole commandment.
This is why Sabbath keepers today do not keep the Biblical Sabbath - but a Sabbath of mans tradition.
Exod 31:17: 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”
ISRAEL only; not the nations, nor the gentiles.
Exod. 34:21-23: “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. “And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end. “Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the LORD God of Israel.”
If you don't do that your a law breaker for you must keep it all as Paul said. A reading of Leviticus reveals that in addition to the weekly Sabbath (23:3), there are seven annual Sabbaths (23:5, 23:6-8, 23:10-14, 23:15-21, 23:23-25, 23:27-32, 23:33-44)
Lev 23:3: 'Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.”
Exod 16:29-30 “See! For the LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.”
So the people rested on the seventh day.”
They did not go to synagogue, to the temple, they were never instructed to. They remained in their dwelling.
Deut 5:12-14 'Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall not do any work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, …. Do you see the actual pattern God gave to Israel. The 10 Commandments were given to Israel and they were to work 6 days, not 5 as we do in most of the cultures.
If they work 5 days and keep the Sabbath you have broken the law since he states to work 6 within the commandment. NOT 5. This is because God worked 6 days (not 7, not 5). Its not just keeping the day which they concentrate on as a means of their sanctification but the whole commandment.
None of these laws were changed, the Sabbath, if it is to be kept correctly it should be as God instructed us.
The penalty for not keeping the Sabbath Death by stoning from those in the community Num 15:32-36
So here is the point- we are not under law but GRACE says the apostle Paul. The law came through Moses we are told by the apostle John, who writes “the law (singular) came through Moses” Jn.1:17). Did Moses not come down with the 10 commandments and the other 603 laws that were written after. The Sabbath is easily solved and settled by the word of God, the law was a unit; they were to keep all the law.
The Bible is clear: there is no Sabbath requirement for the church, that are both Jews and gentiles to meet on the Sabbath.
New Testament teaching on the Sabbath to the church
What do we do with the Scriptures about the apostles meeting in the synagogue on the Sabbath?
Acts 18:4 “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.”
Acts 13:14 “But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down.”
Acts 13:42 “So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.” Only the Jews went into the synagogue on the Sabbath, not the gentiles.
Acts 15:21 “For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
EVERY MENTION OF THE SABBATH in the Book of acts without a single exception is connected with Jewish worship on that day; not Christians gathering to worship in the new covenant. Paul's evangelistic strategy was to go to the Jews first in a community and share the Gospel with them. The Sabbath is the day when he knew he would find the most Jews gathering for worship. He knew he would have the opportunity to share with them the good news of the Messiah who came. It was not because he was meeting with a group of believing Christians. He was meeting with non-Christian’s, Jews.
The Sabbath is called “a sign” in the Old Testament (Exod. 31:17; Ezek. 20:12) and called “a shadow” in the New Testament (Col. 2:17). Jesus is called the light (Jn.1). Circumcision is also called a sign (Gen. 17:11; Rom. 4:11), yet here we are told it is the law and it is called the ceremony of circumcision.
Acts 15:24-25 “Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law' “to whom we gave no such commandment.”
They (the apostles) said they never taught one must keep the law.
The Sabbath was a sign between God and Israel ONLY! Ex 31:13-17 this is why we find the Jews keeping it or Jewish proselytes. The Judaizers that infiltrated the church of Galatia tried to impose their Old Testament law on those who knew they were saved by grace. God never commanded any Gentile to keep it in either the Old or New Testament.
It does not matter what a church says, either Roman Catholic or Sabbatrian (7th day Adventists or any others) it matters what the Bible says. The Sabbath is not Sunday, and the bible also says we have no specific required day to worship in the New Testament because the church was made up of both Jews and gentiles in a new covenant.
The Sabbath was the sign of the Mosaic covenant (given to Israel exclusively) the Old covenant. Peter refers to Paul who knew the distinctions of law and grace “as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;”
but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. “(2 Peter 3:16-18)
Peters answer – grow in grace and knowledge, and calls those who would interfere with this as wicked.
Heb. 8:13 the believer is NOT to be ruled by the old covenant, it is obsolete, put aside, it NO longer our instructor. We live by grace, not law. Don’t let anyone teach otherwise. All that we need (wisdom and knowledge) is found in Christ “this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.”(Col. 2:4), as Paul goes on to say in v.10 we are complete in Him.