Jesus said that—at the
end of this age—only God's direct intervention would
stop man from destroying all human life from this planet. He said,
"And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved
[alive]; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened"
As we swiftly
approach the END of this present age of man's rule under the
influence of Satan the Devil, it is vitally important that we
consider whether or not we are really obeying the God who gives us
life and breath. For the Jesus Christ of the Bible taught time and
again that "empty faith" is NOT enough! In His concluding remarks in
the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me,
'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does
the will of My Father in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).
In this regard, He asked, "But why
do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?"
(Luke 6:46). And in a heated discussion with the Pharisees, Jesus
quoted Isaiah's prophecy, saying, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you
hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their
lips, but their heart is far from Me. And IN VAIN they worship
Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'" (Mark
7:6-7). Think about that! Jesus clearly stated that it is
possible to worship God—and yet worship Him IN VAIN by
following the teachings of men! Then Jesus said to them, "All too
well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your
tradition" (v. 9).
then, when the traditions of men conflict with the
commandments of God, we face a HUGE problem according to
Did you know that
your willingness to keep holy the true Sabbath day, which God
made holy, directly affects whether or not you will be
granted eternal life in the Kingdom of God? Did you know that
keeping the true Sabbath is—and always has been—a special "test"
commandment in God's sight?
Which Day Is the Biblical Sabbath?
Jesus Christ taught us, "Man
shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God" (Luke 4:4).
Jesus also made it clear that the Bible does NOT contradict itself.
He showed that the teaching of Scripture is consistent. For Jesus
said, "the Scripture CANNOT be broken" (John 10:35).
The Apostle Paul expanded on this
theme, saying, "ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete,
thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
If you are willing to BELIEVE
these inspired statements, then you will have no problem
understanding this vital subject. For the Bible teaches us about
God's true Sabbath day from Genesis to Revelation. In fact, it is
one of the clearest and most easily understood subjects in the
entire Bible—IF you honestly look at the facts and are not fearful
about "what other people think." Remember that in Jesus' day many of
the religious leaders knew that He was the Christ, but would not
confess Him for this very reason: "For they loved the praise of
men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43).
Do you have the faith and
courage to do what God clearly commands—regardless of what
All right. Let's
get down to clear, absolute PROOF regarding the true Sabbath of
Almighty God. Let's assume that you were beginning your search for
the true Sabbath on the proverbial desert island and that the only
written materials you had managed to preserve after a shipwreck were
the Holy Bible and a calendar. If you began your search with a
completely open, objective mind, and had perhaps even forgotten the
day you had previously observed, which day would you HAVE to
keep after such an objective study?
WHY? Because the Bible never
commands anyone to observe Sunday as a weekly day of worship!
Rather, it instructs us to work on that day. In fact, from
Genesis to Revelation, many verses in the Bible clearly show that,
rather than observing the first day—Sunday—it was the
seventh-day Sabbath (from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset)
that was kept by all of God's faithful servants in both Old
and New Testament times. And this same seventh-day Sabbath will
continue to be observed by Christians on this earth during
Christ's soon-coming 1,000-year rule! (cf. Revelation 20:4-6).
Notice the teaching of Jesus
Christ in Mark 2:23-28. Jesus allowed His disciples to pluck heads
of grain to eat as they walked through grain fields on the Sabbath.
He was challenged on this point by the Pharisees, who had
added more than 60 legalistic "dos and don'ts" to the
Sabbath—of their own human devising. But Jesus said, "The
Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the
Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath" (vv. 27-28).
Christ did not say that the
Sabbath was made for the Jews—but for "man." He said the Sabbath
(not Sunday) is the day He is "Lord of." Jesus did not give
the slightest hint about abrogating the Sabbath commandment.
Rather, He showed both here and in the verses that follow, how to
keep the Sabbath in a more meaningful way. Again, Jesus said
that the Sabbath was "made for man"—for him to keep—LONG
BEFORE the Jewish people even existed.
At this point, let us look at the
inspired account of when God made mankind—and subsequently gave man
the Sabbath. In Genesis 1:1 we read, "In the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth." This original creation may have been
billions of years ago. The next verse shows that the earth came to a
state of chaos and waste. And the succeeding verses describe how God
reformed our planet about 6,000 years ago and created the
progenitors of the plant and animal life forms that presently
inhabit it. Now notice verse 26: "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in
Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over
the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle,
over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the
earth.'" So mankind was created in God's "image." We were given
"dominion" or RULE over all the rest of creation. But how was
mankind to keep in contact with his Maker? How were we to
remind ourselves that the true God is, in fact, the CREATOR of
all that is?
begins to provide the answer: "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. Then God BLESSED the seventh day and
sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which
God had created and made."
that God "ended" or completed His work of creation by
resting on the seventh day of the week. The word "Sabbath" is
derived from the Hebrew word Shabath, which literally means
"rest" or "cessation." God created the Sabbath by resting on
this day and ceasing from creating material things. And He "blessed"
and "sanctified"—that is, set apart for holy use—this day and no
other! By blessing and sanctifying the seventh-day Sabbath, God
showed that His presence is IN this day in a very special
way. For of all the days of the week, this one ALONE points to Him
in a unique way as the true God, the One who created and now governs
the entire universe.
Sunday in the New Testament
The word "Sunday" does not even
appear in literal Bible translations. We do find the phrase
"first day of the week" in the New Testament, but this occurs just
eight times. Five of those references (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2;
Mark 16:9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1) describe Mary Magdalene and others
coming to the tomb AFTER Christ's resurrection. As we prove
elsewhere in this booklet, Jesus was resurrected Saturday
evening—NOT Sunday morning. So those references have nothing
to do with observing the day of Christ's resurrection!
In John 20:19, we read that on
"…the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the
disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood
in the midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'" This was not a
worship meeting celebrating the resurrection; Scripture tells us
that until they saw Him, they did not believe that
Christ was risen! (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:27-41).
The book of Acts recounts the
development of doctrine and practice in the early Church. Yet the
first day of the week is mentioned only once, in Acts 20:7-12. "Now
on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to
break bread [i.e. eat a meal], Paul, ready to depart the next day,
spoke to them and continued his message until midnight" (v. 7). This
was a one-time farewell meeting and meal, not a regular worship
service. And when we understand that by biblical reckoning days are
from sunset to sunset, we can see that the before-midnight portion
of "the first day" is actually on Saturday. This "first day"
gathering was a Saturday evening event! And at sunrise Sunday
morning, Paul began the hard work of a 20-mile hike (vv. 11-14)—not
what one would expect if he considered Sunday his Sabbath day of
In 1 Corinthians 16:2, the
Apostle Paul requested: "On the first day of the week let each one
of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there
be no collections when I come." This is no endorsement at all of
Sunday worship. Notice that the practice was meant to
stop when Paul came to
Corinth! And notice that these verses say nothing about gathering
for a weekly worship service to do this collection. This was not a
collection of money, but of food to assist the poor in Jerusalem,
suffering from drought and famine (cf. Romans 15:25-28). Until
Paul's arrival, each individual was asked to "store up" his
contributions—surely in his home. Paul knew that the collection
would be bulky enough that it would take several people to transport
it to Jerusalem (v. 4)—not what one would expect if money were
One more verse that
some use to justify calling Sunday the "Lord's Day" is Revelation
1:10. Here, the Apostle John says, "I was in the Spirit on the
Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a
trumpet." But this does not refer to worshiping on the first day of
the week—or any day of the week, for that matter. Revelation
is a "prophecy" (1:3) of end-time events. Clearly, then, the "Lord's
Day" is synonymous with the "Day of the Lord"—a future time,
mentioned more than 30 times in Bible prophecy, when God will
supernaturally intervene in human affairs, executing punishment on
the nations and finally sending Jesus Christ back to this earth to
bring world peace at last. John meant that he was carried in vision
by God's Spirit to that time.
But even if this were
talking about a day of the week, which day would it be? Remember
what Jesus said: "The Son of Man is… Lord of the Sabbath" (Mark
2:28). Also, the preincarnate Christ called the Sabbath "My holy
day... the holy day of the Lord" (Isaiah 58:13). And in the fourth
commandment, He said, "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord
your God" (Exodus 20:10). Obviously, then, the seventh-day Sabbath
is not our day. It is—without question—the Lord's day!
Weekly Sunday observance, therefore, has absolutely no
The Test Commandment
As all Bible students know, the
patriarch Abraham was the great-grandfather of Judah—from whom came
the "Jews." Did he keep God's true Sabbath?
Absolutely! For God said, "Abraham obeyed My voice and
kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws"
generations of Israelites clearly understood from these verses that
Abraham kept the seventh-day Sabbath—the Sabbath that God had
"sanctified" at the creation of mankind. And in the New
Testament, the Apostle Paul tells us that Abraham is the "father" of
the faithful (Romans 4:11, 16).
Many will argue that the Ten
Commandments—including the fourth one about keeping the Sabbath
holy—were just part of the "Old Covenant" that God made with Israel
at Mount Sinai in the days of Moses. These people contend that,
because the Old Covenant ended at Christ's death, the Ten
Commandments—with the Sabbath requirement—ended also.
But it was at the beginning of
human history that God made the seventh-day Sabbath "holy time."
And about 2,000 years later, Abraham, the father of the faithful,
set for us an EXAMPLE of faithfulness by keeping God's
commandments and statutes—obviously including the observance of
the Sabbath day. Remember, this was still LONG BEFORE there was any
Old Covenant with Israel!
of years later, we find Abraham's descendants being led out of
Egyptian slavery by Moses in the Exodus. Several weeks before
the Old Covenant was proposed at Mount Sinai, God wanted to remind
His people of the true Sabbath, which He had given mankind at
creation. In case any of them had forgotten or become mixed up about
His Sabbath—which was possible since the Israelites had been in
Egyptian slavery for several generations—God gave His people a
series of signs to make clear to them which day He had made
Now examine the account in
Exodus 16:1-30. The people of Israel were "murmuring" against God
because they wanted more food. So God said, "I will... TEST them,
whether they will walk in My LAW or not" (v. 4). Interesting.
Because this is more proof that God's law was definitely in
effect even BEFORE the giving of the Old Covenant at Mount
So God explained that He
would perform the following miracle. Every day of the week, except
Saturday, a special food from heaven called "manna" would blanket
the ground in the morning like dew. The people were to gather it up
each morning and eat it that same day. They could not keep it
overnight, because that would cause it to breed worms and stink.
But there would be no manna
on the ground on Saturdays. What, then, were they to eat on
that day? God's answer: the second phase of His
miracle. Every Friday, He would give them a double
portion of manna—one portion for that day and another to be kept
overnight and eaten on Saturday (v. 23). This would require a
third phase of the miracle. God would allow manna collected
on Fridays to remain unspoiled overnight, so that it could be eaten
on Saturday. From Friday to Saturday was the only time each week
they were permitted to keep food overnight—for God was showing them
that Friday was the preparation day for the Sabbath.
Thus, God was arranging things so
they wouldn't have to do the work of gathering manna on
Saturday—enabling them to rest on the Sabbath, yet still have
something to eat that day. "So they laid it up till morning, as
Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in
it. Then Moses said, 'Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to
the Lord; today you will not find it in the field'" (vv. 24-25).
Remember that this was a TEST—to
see whether they would follow God's law or not. So what did the
As human beings so
often do, they did NOT take God seriously! Some Israelites went out
and tried to find manna even on the Sabbath. "And the Lord
said to Moses, 'How long do you [people] refuse to keep My
commandments and My laws? 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"
On this occasion,
several weeks before Israel came to Mount Sinai, God began
performing a weekly three-phase miracle to show His people
WHICH DAY was—and had always been—His holy Sabbath. When some
tried to work on that day anyway, the Creator thundered, "How LONG
do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?"!
Who Gave the Ten Commandments?
The Ten Commandments—including
the Sabbath-day requirement—have been in existence since mankind
was created. God was simply reminding the people of this
Next, we come to
God's codifying of the Ten Commandments for His nation of Israel.
This was truly an awesome occasion. Thunder roared. Lightning
flashed. And the earth SHOOK with the power of the Creator. Then God
Himself—not Moses—spoke the Ten Commandments! (Exodus 20:1).
Many think that God the Father gave these commands and that
Jesus Christ later came along and did away with them. But Jesus told
the Jews that they had "neither heard [the Father's] voice at any
time, nor seen His form" (John 5:37).
So just who was this God
with Israel in the Sinai wilderness? He was often called the "Rock"
of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 31; Psalm 18:2, 31, 46, etc.). In
the New Testament, the Apostle Paul was inspired to write about Him.
He says the Israelites "all drank the same spiritual drink. For they
drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock
was CHRIST"! (1 Corinthians 10:4). The Bible makes it abundantly
clear that the Person in the Godhead who spoke to ancient Israel was
the One who later "emptied" Himself and became Jesus Christ!
During His human lifetime, Jesus
told the belligerent Pharisees, "Most assuredly, I say to you,
before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58). Many respected Bible
commentaries acknowledge that in this verse Jesus is clearly
indicating that He was, in fact, the God of Israel now made
Regarding this phrase,
"I AM," the Expositor's Bible Commentary states:
"I AM" implies continuous
existence, including existence when Abraham appeared. Jesus was,
therefore, asserting that at the time of Abraham's birth, he
existed. Furthermore, I AM was recognized by the Jews as a title
of deity. When God commissioned Moses to demand from Pharaoh the
release of the Israelites, he said, "This is what you are to say
to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you'" (Exod. 3:14). [One
scholar] states that "the phrase harbors within itself the most
authentic, the most audacious, and the most profound affirmation
by Jesus of who he was" [vol. 9, p. 99].
Yes, Jesus Christ was certainly
the God of the Old Testament—the "Word," as the first chapter of
John's Gospel calls Him, who spoke on His Father's behalf (To learn
more about this subject, please write for our free booklet, The
Real God). The Bible also shows that Christ was the One through
whom God created all things (John 1:1-3, 14; Ephesians 3:9;
Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2-3). This means that Jesus Christ
is the One who originally created the Sabbath by
resting on the seventh day! No wonder He is Lord of that
day, as we have seen from Mark 2:28. For He MADE the Sabbath!
We can now see that it was
Christ's own voice that SHOOK the mountains as He set forth
the great spiritual LAW of God. As we have noted, that law had
existed even from creation. But the Israelites had been in
slavery, and no doubt their knowledge of the law and the Great God
behind that law had become foggy over the centuries. So now God—in
the person of the "Word," Jesus Christ—spoke that law and then
inscribed it on tablets of stone (Exodus 31:18; 34:1).
Near the middle of that law—with
more space devoted to it than any other—is the fourth commandment,
in which God reminded Israel again to keep the seventh-day Sabbath:
"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 manservant, nor your maidservant,
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" (Exodus 20:8-11).
Notice that God said to "remember"
the Sabbath. They had already been instructed about the
Sabbath from creation and again in Exodus 16—as we have seen. Then
God said to "keep" it holy. You cannot keep cold water hot!
Likewise, the Sabbath had to have been made holy or Israel
could not have kept it that way! Only GOD can make something
"holy"—in this case, a period of time. And, as we shall see, the
seventh day is the ONLY weekly period of time that God has ever
"sanctified" or set apart as holy time.
In verse 11, God reminds us that
the Sabbath points to creation. After God had spent six days
creating, He "rested" on the seventh day. "Therefore the Lord
blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." Again, no other day
of the week has been blessed by God—that is, had His divine favor
put upon it—in this way.
wasn't the Sabbath a part of the Jewish sacrificial or ceremonial
law that was done away? Some theologians try to contrive arguments
along these lines. But if you will just study your own Bible,
it is easy to see through this false reasoning. Note that in Exodus
20, NOTHING is said about animal sacrifices, washings or any
ceremonial duties being connected with the Sabbath (cf. Jeremiah
7:22-23). For, as the inspired account in Deuteronomy tells us, the
Ten Commandments stood ALONE as the great spiritual law of God. As
Moses reminded the people, "these words the Lord spoke to all your
assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and
the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and HE ADDED NO MORE. And He
wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me" (Deuteronomy
Sign Between God and His People
Later, God-again in the person
of Jesus Christ-made a special covenant with Israel concerning the
Sabbath. God said, "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying:
'Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a SIGN between Me
and you throughout your generations, THAT YOU MAY KNOW that I am the
Lord who sanctifies you'" (Exodus 31:13).
The emphasis here is that we
"know" the true God who sets us apart if we keep the "sign"
of His Sabbath, which points to Him as the CREATOR.
The preincarnate Jesus continued,
"Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to
observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a PERPETUAL
covenant. 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" (vv. 16-17).
A "mark" or "brand" is something
that is usually forced on a person or animal. But a "sign" is
something voluntarily displayed, such as a sign that reads
"Jones & Sons" outside a business establishment. In the case of
the Sabbath, it points out who God's faithful people are.
They have surrendered to God and are willing to display the
"sign" of the Creator by keeping holy the only day of the
week God ever made that way. And to the faithful themselves, it is a
constant reminder that they do NOT worship "gods" of wood and stone,
or figments of human imagination, but the very CREATOR who
made all the wood and stone-and even the human mind, which
often tries to abandon the Creator and come up with its own concept
Notice especially that
the Sabbath was to be kept by the Israelites as a "perpetual
covenant" between them and God "forever"! Do we find ANY evidence
whatever that Israelites who became Christians were to
forsake that sacred covenant and start keeping another day?
Does God have a double standard when it comes to which day to keep
as the Sabbath?
according to Paul, Gentile Christians were to be "grafted" into
Israel and become spiritual Israelites (cf. Romans 11:17, 24;
Galatians 3:28-29). This same Apostle was inspired to state very
clearly, "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is that
circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who
is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the
Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from
God" (Romans 2:28-29). For these reasons, Paul called the New
Testament Church the "Israel of God" (Galatians 6:16).
So truly converted Gentiles become
part of spiritual Israel and must also obey the Ten
Commandments-the great spiritual LAW of the Creator. Certainly they
must also obey the terms of the "perpetual" Sabbath covenant that
the preincarnate Jesus made with Israel. It is a sign between Jesus
Christ and His people FOREVER!
Isaiah 56, we find a remarkable prophecy set right in the midst of
END-TIME prophecies-many of which refer to the years just ahead
of us. In this setting, God gives this pointed instruction to
men and women of ALL nations: "Blessed is the man who does this, and
the son of man who lays hold on it; who keeps from defiling the
Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil" (v. 2).
A few verses later, God instructs
the Gentiles or foreigners to keep His Sabbath and describes
the BLESSINGS that would come from doing so: "Also the sons of
the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and
to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants-everyone who
keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant-even
them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My
house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be
accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer
for ALL NATIONS" (vv. 6-7).
Jesus said, the Sabbath was made for "man"-that is, for ALL mankind.
Now notice how Jesus and the Apostles continually kept the
seventh-day Sabbath-the same day that all the Jews around
them were keeping.
Example of Jesus Christ
God tells us time and again
that Christ was the "light"-the EXAMPLE of how we ought to live. It
is amazing how many professing Christian ministers will give lip
service to this statement, yet "reason" and argue, argue,
ARGUE against following Christ's perfect example in Sabbath-keeping
and other acts of obedience to God's law!
Speaking of Jesus, the Gospel of
John tells us, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not
comprehend it" (John 1:4-5). Do most religionists today really
comprehend that "light" any more than they did in Jesus' own day?
Later, Christ said, "I am the
light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in
darkness, but have the light of life" (John 8:12). What did He mean
by this term-"follows Me"? Can a person reject Jesus'
teaching, refuse to follow His example and the entire way of
life He exemplified, and still claim to be His "follower"? In 1
Peter 2:21-22, God inspired Peter to instruct us, "For to this you
were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an
EXAMPLE, that you should follow His steps: 'who committed no sin,
nor was guile found in His mouth.'"
Yes, in all things Christ set us
an example! The Apostle Paul echoes this theme, telling the
Corinthians, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (1
Corinthians 11:1). So we are to "imitate" Jesus Christ-not just
loosely "follow" Him according to our own human reasoning.
The Apostle John stated, near the
very end of his life, that "he who says he abides in [Christ] ought
himself also to walk just as He walked" (1 John 2:6). The New
English Bible translates this verse thus: "Here is the test by
which we can make sure that we are in Him: whoever claims to be
dwelling in Him, binds himself to LIVE as Christ Himself
And how did Jesus
Christ live? The Sermon on the Mount is usually regarded as the very
ESSENCE of His teaching. Here Jesus stated, "Do not think that I
came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy
but to fulfill [i.e. fill to the fullest]. For assuredly, I say to
you, till heaven and earth pass away [and they still have
not!], one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the
law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the
LEAST of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called
least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them,
he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew
Jesus did not come to do
away with the Ten Commandments that He had previously delivered from
the Father in the Old Testament. Rather, He came to give full
expression to them-to show their real spiritual intent. In fact,
He made them even more binding. For example, Jesus explained
that the seventh commandment against adultery prohibited more than
just having sexual relations with someone other than your spouse. It
even forbade lusting after others in your mind (vv. 27-28). And as
we've just seen, He also said that in order to be called "great" in
His coming Kingdom, men must "do and teach" even the least of
God's commandments. How much more vital is it that we do and
teach the very TEST commandment, which points to the true GOD-the
Now many say that Christ
broke the Sabbath Himself. But that is completely false! The
Bible says that He was "without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). And "sin IS the
transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4, KJV). So we know that Jesus
never transgressed God's law-including the fourth commandment about
keeping the Sabbath holy. If Jesus had broken the Sabbath, He
would have earned the wages of sin-death (Romans 6:23)-and could not
have become our Savior. It is clear, then, that Jesus never broke
even the least of God's commandments-nor taught men so. On
the contrary, He said, "I have KEPT My Father's commandments"
Furthermore, at the
very beginning of His ministry, Jesus set the standard for what
would be His lifelong example: "So 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 to read" (Luke 4:16).
Again, in Luke 13:10, we read, "Now He was teaching in one of the
synagogues on the Sabbath." Certainly, then, we should follow
Christ's example in keeping the same Sabbath day He kept! And
which day was this Sabbath? Why, the very same one the Jews around
Him were keeping, of course-Saturday.
Actually, God's Sabbath-as the
Jewish people understood then and now-was to be observed from Friday
sunset to Saturday sunset. In fact, all the days on God's
calendar are from sunset to sunset-nighttime followed by daytime
(cf. Leviticus 23:32; Genesis 1:5-31). God did NOT have His days
begin and end in the middle of the night as calculated by a man-made
clock! In fact, they had no such clocks back then. But they did have
God's BIG "clock" in the sky-the sun. And they had the stars, by
which ALL man-made calendars need to be adjusted, even today. For in
the beginning, God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of
the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for
signs and seasons, and for days and years" (v. 14). So, when we
keep holy the days that God made holy, we find that
they are based on His very creation-with its heavenly bodies marking
time-which points to Him, the CREATOR of all that is!
Incidentally, the fact that Christ
kept the same Sabbath as the Jews shows that the correct day had not
been lost in the remote past, as some today will argue. Remember
that the preincarnate Christ had made a big deal about reminding the
Israelites of the correct Sabbath day following their enslavement in
Egypt. Wouldn't He have kept it on the right day during His human
life-even if the Jews had been wrong about it? Of course! But
they were not wrong. Christ was Lord of the day that the
Jews kept as the Sabbath! (cf. Mark 2). And from that time until
now, the seven-day week has remained unaltered.
How can we be sure? The Jews
continued to observe the Sabbath-even after they were
scattered. If the weekly cycle had been lost, Jews in one area of
the world would be keeping a particular day while Jews elsewhere
kept other days. But what do we find? In every nation in
which the Jews have been scattered, they are unanimous in keeping
the SAME DAY-Saturday! Thus, Saturday is still the seventh day of
the weekly cycle that began at creation.
Christ and Disciples-Sabbath-Breakers?
We have seen that Jesus quite
obviously kept God's holy Sabbath day, though some today say
otherwise. The Pharisees did accuse Him of breaking it, as in Mark 2
where Jesus' disciples picked heads of grain to eat when they were
hungry on the Sabbath. But this was NOT a transgression of
the Sabbath. It was only a violation of the legalistic restrictions
the scribes and Pharisees had added to the Sabbath.
Why had these men done
this? Well, for one thing, under the Old Covenant, the penalty for
Sabbath-breaking was death by stoning (Exodus 31:15; Numbers
15:32-35). It was that serious! Moreover, Sabbath-breaking
and idolatry were singled out by God as two of the major sins for
which He had caused Israel and Judah to be taken into national
captivity and slavery centuries earlier-and, according to prophecy,
would do so again (cf. Nehemiah 13:17-18; Ezekiel 20:10-25;
22:6-23:47). And so, as they did with most points of God's law, the
scribes and Pharisees went into the opposite ditch and began
legislating, in extremely minute detail, everything that was
permissible or not permissible to do on the Sabbath. As noted
earlier, they added to God's commandment-attaching more than
60 specific requirements or restrictions. In so doing, they made
God's weekly Holy Day a great burden-which it was never meant
to be (cf. 1 John 5:3). For instance, according to them, you could
only walk so many steps at a time on the Sabbath before having to
sit down and rest. Yet God's law says no such thing.
Of course, it was the
responsibility of each individual to make sure that he wasn't
overexerting himself on the Sabbath to the point that his actions
would have qualified as work. If Jesus had not been present with His
disciples, it would simply have been a personal judgment call for
them. But Christ was there as a perfect Judge-God in the
flesh and Lord of the Sabbath. And He made it very clear that
the scribes and Pharisees were wrong! Picking a few heads of grain
and eating them simply does not violate the Sabbath command.
On the other hand, if the disciples had been harvesting, that
would have been a different matter. But they weren't. They were just
grabbing a bite to eat!
some will persist, surely the Sabbath was done away upon Jesus'
death. But was it? Did His disciples think so? Notice that after
Christ's burial, some of His most dedicated followers decided to
better prepare His body so it wouldn't decay so quickly in the
grave. "Then they returned [home] and prepared spices and fragrant
oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the
commandment" (Luke 23:56). Luke was inspired by the Holy Spirit
to write here that these dedicated women kept the Sabbath "according
to the commandment"! Even after Jesus' death-even after EVERYTHING
that was going to be "nailed to the cross" already had
been-God's Sabbath commandment still stood inviolate!
Were Christ's disciples
substituting Sunday for the Sabbath at this time? We just saw that
they refrained from doing work on the Sabbath. But notice the
very next verses: "Now on the first day of the week, very
early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came
to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they
found the stone rolled away from the tomb" (24:1-2). Now, on Sunday,
they had come to do work. Obviously, the Sabbath they had
kept holy was the previous day-Saturday.
After His resurrection, did Jesus
in some way indicate that His former teaching had been "done away"
or "nailed to the cross"? No-not in ANY WAY! Rather, Jesus
instructed His disciples to go out over the whole earth and teach
these same things-even to the END of this age. "All authority
has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make
disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to
observe ALL THINGS that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with
you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20).
Was Jesus Resurrected on Sunday?
If you visit a mainstream
Christian church and ask members why the day on which they and other
people attend worship services is Sunday, a typical response might
be that Jesus was resurrected on that day. But how well does this
idea bear up under close scrutiny?
Notice what Christ told the
Pharisees, who were looking for a sign of the Messiah: "An evil and
adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and NO SIGN will be given
to it EXCEPT the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was
three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will
the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the
earth" (Matt. 12:39-40).
only sign Jesus gave to prove He was the Messiah was that the
grave would only hold Him for a limited amount of time-exactly
"three days and three nights" (or 72 hours). But the Easter Sunday
tradition maintains that Christ was buried just before sunset on
"Good Friday" afternoon and resurrected early Sunday morning-only
two nights and one day (or 36 hours)!
Some will argue the definition of
"day." But Christ clearly stated that there are 12 hours in a day,
not including the night (John 11:9-10). Therefore, when Easter
Sunday proponents take His remark and conclude that Christ was in
the grave three days x 12 hours = 36 hours, we can see that they are
leaving out the "three nights." There are approximately 12 hours of
daytime and 12 hours of nighttime in one 24-hour day! So
three days and three nights is definitely 72 hours. But was it
exactly 72 hours? Jesus said He would rise "AFTER three days"
(Mark 8:31)-i.e. no less than 72 hours. But He also said He
would rise "IN three days" (John 2:19, 21)-i.e. no more than
72 hours. This is absolutely clear-72 hours exactly! And God
is always right on schedule.
consider that, when the women came to His tomb Sunday morning, "it
was still dark" (John 20:1) and He had already risen. How
could this be? The Sunday-resurrection proponents contend that He
had risen just moments before. If they are correct, then "three days
and three nights" earlier would be just before sunrise on Thursday
morning. Yet no one believes Christ was buried on Thursday
morning-or any morning for that matter-and with good reason.
When Joseph of Arimathea laid Christ's body in the tomb, "the
Sabbath drew near" (Luke 23:50-54). Biblical days, including
Sabbaths, begin at sunset and end the following sunset (cf. Genesis
1:5-31; Leviticus 23:32)-a nighttime period followed by a daytime
Christ, then, was buried
in late afternoon-before a particular Sabbath began at sunset. Three
days and three nights later would be the same time of day-late
afternoon! Now we have another problem. If we assume that
Christ was buried on Friday afternoon, as the Good Friday tradition
asserts, then His resurrection-72 hours later-would be Monday
afternoon. Yet no one believes this either-again, with good
reason. For remember that Christ had already risen before the women
came to His tomb prior to daybreak Sunday morning! What, then, is
Why have so many
thought that Christ was put in the grave on Friday afternoon?
Mark 15:42 states that "it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day
before the Sabbath." Since the weekly Sabbath always occurred on the
seventh day of the week (now called Saturday), the "Preparation Day"
was normally on Friday. However, we have already seen the problem
with this. The answer to the apparent dilemma is that the weekly
Sabbath is not the only Sabbath mentioned in the Bible. Leviticus 23
lists seven annual Holy Days that occur in God's Festivals.
Each of these days was considered a Sabbath (or a "rest" from normal
labor). All annual Sabbaths or "High Days" (except Pentecost) fell
on particular calendar dates rather than set days of the week.
Now the mystery can be solved by
reading John 19:31. The Jews wanted to remove the crucifixion
victims "because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should
not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a HIGH
DAY)." Christ kept the Passover with His disciples the night before
His death (Luke 22:15). He died on the cross the next afternoon,
which was still Passover (the 14th of Abib or Nisan according to the
Hebrew Calendar-Leviticus 23:5). Leviticus 23:6-7 reports that the
next day, beginning the evening after His crucifixion, was not a
weekly Sabbath, but an annual Sabbath-the first day of
the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
put together the facts. It is clear from the Bible that Christ died
and was buried on Passover afternoon-and that the following day was
an annual Sabbath. It is also clear that he was resurrected at the
same time of day-late afternoon. But which afternoon? Since
the women found Him already gone Sunday morning, it would be
sensible to conclude that He had been resurrected the
previous afternoon on Saturday! This would mean He had been
buried three days and three nights earlier-Wednesday afternoon. It
would also mean that Passover, Nisan 14, fell on a Wednesday that
year. And, indeed, that is what happened in A.D. 31, a year that
fits the time frame the Bible demands.
Scripture also provides further
proof that there were TWO Sabbaths that week-an annual and a weekly
one. In Mark 15:47, Mary Magdalene and her companion watched Joseph
of Arimathea lay Jesus in the tomb near the end of the Passover. The
next verse, Mark 16:1, tells us that after the "Sabbath,"
Mary Magdalene and her companions bought spices with which to anoint
Christ's dead body. However, Luke 23:56 shows that they
prepared the spices before the Sabbath. Naturally,
they couldn't have prepared spices before they were even bought! The
only explanation that makes sense is that they bought the spices on
Friday and prepared them the same day-after the annual
Sabbath on Thursday and before the weekly Sabbath on
Saturday! Then they rested on the weekly Sabbath-at the end of which
Jesus was resurrected. The next morning, Sunday, they came to the
tomb before sunrise and found him already gone.
But some will point out Mark 16:9,
which says, "Now when He rose early on the first day of the
week...." Yet how can this be? To understand, we should read the
verse in the original King James Version and continue further
in the sentence: "Now when Jesus was risen [the perfect tense
is correct here-He was already risen] early the first day of
the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene." He was not "rising"
on Sunday morning. As we've seen, He rose Saturday afternoon. So
early Sunday morning, He was already "risen." Also realize that in
the original Greek there was no punctuation. Had the King James
translators simply put a comma after the word "risen" and not after
"week," this would make complete sense. The Centenary
Translation renders it this way: "Now after his resurrection,
early on the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary
To conclude, a Sunday
morning resurrection could not be the reason for changing the weekly
day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. But even if Christ
were resurrected on Sunday, why would His disciples-who had
kept the seventh-day Sabbath with Him-have abandoned His
example of keeping the Ten Commandments and switched to
Sunday-keeping? And why would they have picked Sunday, a day already
associated with pagan sun worship? But the Bible is very
clear that Christ was NOT resurrected on Sunday morning. So this
pitiful attempt to CHANGE God's Law does not hold water!
Practice of the Original Apostles
Throughout the book of Acts, we
find that the Apostles continued to observe the Sabbath regularly.
They did this with Jews as well as with Gentiles, and-guided
by the Holy Spirit-the entire early New Testament Church continued
to meet on the seventh-day Sabbath for decades after Jesus' death.
Even mainline Protestant historians acknowledge this fact. In his
book, The Story of the Christian Church, Jesse Lyman Hurlbut
states, "As long as the church was mainly Jewish, the Hebrew
sabbath was kept; but as it became increasingly Gentile the first
day gradually took the place of the seventh day" (1970, p. 36).
Notice that Hurlbut says the first
day "gradually" replaced the seventh-day Sabbath. Did God
gradually do away with His law? Ridiculous! As we shall see
later, conniving me "gradually" DECEIVED millions of
professing Christians into doing away with not only the Sabbath, but
the entire concept of obedience to God's law!
However, no such change
took place during the lifetime of Christ's original Apostles. Even
the Apostle Paul-the Apostle to the Gentiles-kept the Sabbath
regularly. And he wasn't even converted to Christianity until
well after Christ's resurrection. Notice the account of Paul
and Barnabas in 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."
some might argue, "Paul was just meeting with the Jews on Saturday
since that was their Sabbath!" However, the book of Acts
tells us that "when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles
begged that these words might be preached to them the next
Sabbath" (13:42). Here was Paul's grand opportunity to inform the
Gentiles that they would now meet on Sunday! But did he? On the
contrary! "The next Sabbath almost the whole city came together
to hear the word of God" (v. 44).
The truth of the matter is that
neither Paul nor ANY of the Apostles uttered one single word
about changing God's holy Sabbath or any part of the Ten
Commandments. Rather, as they had been taught by Christ Himself,
they kept, and always assembled on, the seventh day.
What about when Paul traveled
through predominately Gentile areas? God's Word tells us, "Now when
they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to
Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul,
as his CUSTOM was, went in to them, and for three
Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures" (17:1-2).
It was clearly Paul's "custom" to
meet on the Sabbath. Acts 18:4 tells us that "he reasoned in the
synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks." In
example after example in the book of Acts, when Paul or the other
Apostles met to worship, there is not a single, solitary hint
that they ever regularly met on any other day of the week to worship
except Saturday-the seventh-day Sabbath that they had always
observed and that the Jewish community was still observing.
In fact, if they had started
teaching some other weekly day of worship, it would have caused a
literal RIOT among the Jewish Christians! The only major ministerial
conference mentioned in the New Testament is described in Acts 15.
It was occasioned by a bitter controversy over whether Gentile
Christians should be compelled to be circumcised. The book of Acts
notes the incident that sparked this conference: "And certain men
came down from Judea and taught the brethren, 'Unless you are
circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.'
Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and
dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and
certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the Apostles
and elders, about this question" (vv. 1-2).
At the conference in Jerusalem,
after there had been "much dispute," Peter rose up and carefully
explained how God had called the Gentile Christians through him
apart from any command to be physically circumcised.
Afterward, Paul and Barnabas described the fruits of their Work
among the Gentiles, without circumcision being involved. Then James,
the presiding Apostle at Jerusalem, summarized the matter and
stated, "Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from
among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them
to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality,
from things strangled, and from blood"(vv.19-20). Finally, a letter
was drafted, outlining this landmark decision and the reasons for it
(vv. 22-29). Paul took a copy of this letter with its decrees and
read it to all of the Churches under his jurisdiction (16:1-5).
Some will argue that the four
prohibitions mentioned here are the only laws from the Old Testament
still binding on Christians. But notice that murder is not
listed. Are we, then, free to commit murder? Obviously not! So why
are these points specifically mentioned? Because the four things
Christians are to abstain from here are practices that were common
to pagan religion. In sacrificing to their idols, many pagans would
strangle animals rather than slitting their throats and letting the
blood drain from them. Then they would eat these offerings and
commit gross sexual immorality as religious ritual. The prohibitions
in Acts 15 were originally part of God's statutory law. But they
were also listed later with the ceremonies and rituals of the
Levitical worship system to keep the Israelites from adopting these
wrong practices (cf. Leviticus 17:7, 10; Numbers 25:1-3). The
Apostles wanted it understood that, although the ceremonial and
ritual parts of the Old Testament law-including physical
circumcision-were no longer necessary, these four points that were
given in the ceremonial section of the law were still binding. And
why were they still binding? Because they were part of God's
original law-which was still in force!
Bear in mind that this great
controversy and subsequent apostolic conference took place over the
ordinance of physical circumcision. How much MORE of a debate
would have raged if the Apostles had tried to change or do away with
one of the Ten Commandments-especially the one about God's
weekly Sabbath, the very identifying "sign" of God's people?! There
would have been an absolute UPROAR. But do we find even the
slightest hint of a dispute over any such change?
We do NOT!
As the expression goes," the
silence on the subject is DEAFENING." There was no such
change until scores or even hundreds of years after the death of
the original Apostles! So neither Jesus nor the apostolic Church
EVER attempted to change the Sabbath. They never attempted to
do away with obedience to ANY of the Ten Commandments!
Later Apostolic Teaching
Many Protestant theologians
have been schooled in the theory of "progressive revelation." But we
will see that this theory is nothing less than a complete perversion
of the truth. It conveys the idea that the ancient prophets were
simply Hebrew philosophers trying to devise their own concept of a
divine being. Then along comes Jesus, a Jewish carpenter-heavily
influenced by the religion and morals of His time-living and
teaching under the Old Covenant. Jesus' original Apostles, according
to this theory, were, likewise, unsophisticated, backward and didn't
the Apostle Paul-the "liberator," as the theory goes-and things
begin to get better. For Paul is said to be willing to "break out"
of the Jewish mold and introduce modern
Christianity-Gentile Christianity-which would be more
acceptable to the world at large.
The trouble with the above theory
is that it is GROSSLY INACCURATE! For it attempts to completely
negate Jesus' own command, "Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by EVERY WORD of God" (Luke 4:4). And we must remember that
aside from the life and teaching of Jesus Himself, the only
Word of God available to humanity when He made this pronouncement
was the Old Testament. This fact poses a major problem for these
progressive theologians. For both the Old Testament prophets
and Jesus Christ very clearly taught OBEDIENCE to the Ten
Commandments-including seventh-day Sabbath observance. Even many
Protestant theologians acknowledge that Jesus taught and kept the
And what the
"progressive revelation" teachers also cannot explain is that the
original apostolic writings very directly and very powerfully uphold
the concept of obeying the Ten Commandments as the Christian way
of life-once again, including keeping God's Sabbath.
James, the brother of Jesus
Christ, who became the presiding Apostle at Jerusalem, wrote, "For
whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he
is guilty of all. For He who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also
said, 'Do not murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do
murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so
do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty" (James
2:10-12). So true Christians are to keep the "whole law." It is a
law with "points"-including the commands against murder and
adultery. Clearly, this law is the Ten Commandments. And James said
that if we "stumble" in failing to keep even one point of
this law-obviously including the Sabbath-we are "guilty of
John, the Apostle "Jesus
loved," also wrote about God's law-near the END of the apostolic
age. If anyone were to give us a new "progressive"
teaching, it would be him. So what "progressive revelation," then,
did John give us? He was inspired by God to write, "Now by this
we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says,
'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the
truth is not in him" (1 John 2:3-4).
A person may know about God
by coming to understand only part of the Truth. But to genuinely and
personally "know" Him, John says that we must experience God's
way of life by KEEPING His commandments! For God's kind of
love-His very nature and character-is revealed in the
Ten Commandments. Again, as John wrote, God's very LOVE is expressed
in the Ten Commandments: "For this is the love of God, that we
keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome"
(5:3). And anyone who fails to literally keep the Ten
Commandments-not perfectly, of course, but as a way of
life-is DISOBEYING his Creator and in fact does not really "know"
What about Paul? Did
he dismiss God's law? By no means! In Romans 2:13, he wrote,
"For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but
the DOERS of the law will be justified." And in 1 Corinthians
7:19, he stated, "Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is
nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what
matters." Again, this certainly includes the fourth
commandment concerning the Sabbath!
Furthermore, the Apostle Paul is
traditionally understood to have written the book of Hebrews-and
there is strong evidence to support that tradition. Because of his
rabbinic training in the technical intricacies of the Mosaic law, he
was undoubtedly the most qualified of all the Apostles to thoroughly
explain the New Covenant that God is making with all humanity-the
very theme of Hebrews. After this book describes how God spoke of
the "seventh day" as the day of rest (4:4), it goes on to state,
"There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of
God" (v. 9, NASB).
This is a
very interesting passage. Chapters 3 and 4 of Hebrews talk about
God's people entering into "rest." The Israelites in the wilderness
wanted to enter God's "rest"-meaning to finally cease from wandering
and settle in the Promised Land. And that did happen in the days of
Moses' successor, Joshua. Yet also mentioned here is the fact that
the Eternal God later inspired King David to write of entering God's
rest as something still future. Hebrews states, "For if Joshua had
given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another
day" (4:8). This is obviously speaking of the coming Millennium, or
1,000-year period, of Christ's rule on earth-since the future
Kingdom of God is the "Promised Land" for true Christians.
It is in this context that Hebrews
talks about a Sabbath rest remaining for God's people. In almost
every case in chapters 3 and 4, the Greek word for physical
rest-katapausin-is used for God's rest. But in verse 9, God
inspired a different word to be used-sabbatismos. Many
translations render it simply as "rest," just like they do
katapausin. But that is confusing, since it is, in fact, a
different word. The New American Standard Bible, quoted
above, uses "Sabbath rest." But does this mean literal, weekly
Sabbath-keeping? The Anchor Bible Dictionary says yes,
assuring us that sabbatismos refers to "seventh day
Sabbath celebration." Thus, the New Testament states very
clearly that seventh-day Sabbath-keeping is to continue for
argue that this means we should just rest from our sinful works in
our new life in Jesus. But notice what is added in the next verse:
"For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his
works as God did from His." Did God "rest" from His work of
SIN? Of course not. He rested from CREATING-His occupational work as
the Creator. And on what day did God "rest"-setting us the
example? "God rested on the seventh day from all His
works" (v. 4). And so must we.
However, the context of these
verses does show that the Sabbath is more than just a memorial of
creation. It is indeed a physical TYPE of something else-and we
should observe it as such. But that something is NOT primarily the
Christian life in this age. It is, rather, our life in the
future millennial rest of TOMORROW'S WORLD-when Jesus Christ
sets up the Kingdom of God over the entire earth.
Notice what the Commentary on
the Whole Bible by Jamieson, Fausset & Brown has to say
about Hebrews 4:9: "This verse indirectly establishes the
obligation of the Sabbath still; for the type continues until
the antitype supersedes it." As the coming millennial Sabbath "will
not be till Christ... comes..., the typical earthly Sabbath must
continue till then." Yet, as we will later see, even in Tomorrow's
World human beings will continue to keep God's weekly Sabbath holy.
How clear! Here in the book of
Hebrews we find a direct New Testament command for Christians
to "rest" on the seventh-day Sabbath! It was probably given,
interestingly enough, through the Apostle to the Gentiles-the very
Apostle whom so many Protestant theologians insist "did away" with
This section in Hebrews
4 concludes thus: "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest,
lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience" of those in
ancient Israel (v. 11). The phrase, "the same example of
disobedience," should resonate deeply with students of the Bible.
For, just as Sabbath-breaking and idolatry factored heavily in the
Israelites' national captivity and slavery, these two sins were also
major reasons that most of their forefathers died during the 40
years of wandering before inheriting the Promised Land.
Text from Faith of Our Fathers by James Cardinal
Gibbons, first published in 1876. This well-known American
Catholic leader stated quite clearly that there is no Scriptural
authority for changing the day of worship form Saturday to
THE FAITH OF OUR
rule of faith, or a competent guide to heaven, must be able to
instruct in all the truths necessary for salvation. Now
the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a
Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin
all the duties which he is obliged to practice. Not to
mention other examples, is not, every Christian obliged to
scantify Sunday and to abstain on that day from unnecessary
servile work? Is not the observance of this law among
the most prominent of our sacred duties? But 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.
The Catholic Church
correctly teaches that our Lord and His Apostles inculcated
certain important duties of religion which are not recorded by
the inspired writers.¹ For instance, most Christians
pray to the Holy Ghost, a practice which is nowhere found in
therefore, conclude that the Scriptures alone cannot be
a sufficient guide and rule of faith because they cannot, at
any time, be within the reach of every inquirer; because they
are not of themselves clear and intelligible even in matters
of the highest importance, and because they do not contain all
the truths necessary for salvation.
¹See John xxi.25;
You should read God's
indictment of ancient Israel in Ezekiel 20:10-24. Notice here verses
12-13: "Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign
between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who
sanctifies them. Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in
the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My
judgments, which, if a man does, he shall live by them; and they
greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My
fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them."
Therefore, repeating the inspired
instruction from the book of Hebrews, let ALL true Christians be
careful to NOT follow that "same example of disobedience" by failing
to keep holy the only day of the week God made holy-the
The Diabolical Transfer
The New Testament very clearly
indicates that God's true Church would be small and
persecuted. Jesus instructed His disciples, "Enter by the
narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to
destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is
the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are
few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).
Jesus called His Church the
"little flock" (Luke 12:32). And in His Olivet Prophecy, He warned,
"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you
will be hated by all nations for My name's sake" (Matthew 24:9).
Frankly, "mainstream" Christians are NOT the ones who are going to
be "hated by all nations." Why? Because they fit into the world
pretty well, going along with its customs and traditions-and, all
too often, with its SINS.
was there an obedient Church such as Jesus described still in
existence after apostolic times-which still faithfully kept God's
true Sabbath day? Yes indeed. In fact, virtually all church
historians acknowledge that many thousands of early Christians
continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath for many generations!
We have already seen Jesse Lyman
Hurlbut's statement: "As long as the church was mainly Jewish,
the Hebrew sabbath was kept." But was any biblical writer ever
inspired to tell us that the Sabbath was later to be CHANGED?
Of course not.
For the active, living Head of
God's true Church is Jesus Christ. "And He is the head of the body,
the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that
in all things He may have the preeminence" (Colossians 1:18; cf.
Ephesians 1:22). The book of Hebrews tells us, "Remember those who
rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith
follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is
the SAME yesterday, today, and forever" (13:7-8).
Indeed, throughout the entire
Bible, only one day is set apart as the Sabbath-the seventh
day. And that day is Saturday! Here is a quote from James Cardinal
Gibbons, who was Archbishop of Baltimore and probably the most
well-known American Catholic leader of his time. Observe what this
highest-ranking Catholic in America wrote about God's Sabbath in his
famous book, Faith of Our Fathers: "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"
And notice this from
The Catholic Mirror-the official newspaper of Gibbons'
archdiocese, under his direction: "In the Old Testament reference is
made one hundred and twenty-six times to the Sabbath, and all these
texts conspire harmoniously in voicing the will of God, commanding
the seventh day to be kept" (Sept. 9, 1893). It then states, "Nor
can we imagine anyone foolhardy enough to question the identity of
Saturday with the Sabbath or seventh day, seeing that the people of
Israel have been keeping the Saturday from the giving of the Law."
And look at this from a later
article under Cardinal Gibbons' direction: "God's written word
enjoins His worship to be observed on Saturday, absolutely,
repeatedly, and most emphatically, with a most positive threat of
death to him who disobeys" (Sept. 23, 1893).
How CLEAR can you get? Of
course the commandment-keeping, true Church of God would
have persisted in keeping His seventh-day Sabbath-from Friday sunset
to Saturday sunset!
Fisher, who during his life was a respected professor of
ecclesiastical history at Yale University, concurs with Hurlbut in
that the early Christians observed the seventh-day Sabbath.
Professor Fisher writes, "The Jewish Christians at first frequented
the synagogues. They continued to observe the festivals appointed in
the law, and only by degrees connected with them Christian ideas and
facts. They kept the Sabbath on Saturday, according to the Mosaic
commandment" (History of the Christian Church, 1887, p.
So if God's Sabbath is so
clearly established in His Word-and was certainly kept by His
Bible-believing Church-then where did Sunday come in? Renowned
modern historian Will Durant writes, "The serious temper of the
Jewish Sabbath was transferred to the Christian Sunday that replaced
it in the second century"(The Story of Civilization, vol.
3, 1972, p. 599).
How did this
happen? A Roman Catholic study course tells us that "the
[Catholic] Church transferred the obligation from Saturday to
Sunday" (Father Smith Instructs Jackson). The Catholic
Mirror agrees: "The Catholic Church... by virtue of her
Divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday" (Sept.
23, 1893). In fact, the Catholic Church's Pontifical Gregorian
University in Rome PUBLISHES a book by Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, a
non-Catholic scholar, which proves this very fact! Its preface is
written by Vincenzo Monachino, chairman of the university's Church
History department. He writes:
We [the Roman Catholic
Church] GLADLY MENTION the thesis that Bacchiocchi defends
regarding the birth-place of Sunday worship: for him this arose
most probably not in the primitive Church of Jerusalem,
well-known for its profound attachment to Jewish religious
traditions, but rather in the Church of Rome. The
abandonment of the Sabbath and the adoption of Sunday as the
Lord's Day, are the result of an interplay of Christian, Jewish
and PAGAN religious factors [From Sabbath to Sunday: A
Historical Investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early
Christianity, 1977, pp. 7-8].
Esteeming One Day Above Another?
Some cite Romans 14:5-6 as
proof that it doesn't matter which day we keep as the Sabbath or
whether we keep any day at all. In this passage, the Apostle Paul
states, "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems
every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who
observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not
observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it." But is this
really talking about Sabbath-keeping?
Notice the rest of verse 6: "He
who EATS, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who DOES
NOT EAT, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks." What is
this about? Romans 14 begins with Paul telling the Christians in
Rome to receive those who are "weak in the faith, but not to [enter
into] disputes over doubtful things" (v. 1)-i.e. things some we are
not sure about. In verse 2, Paul mentions some who would eat only
vegetables for various religious reasons-even though the Bible shows
in many places that it is acceptable to eat clean meat. For
instance, the parable of the prodigal son pictures a righteous
father preparing a "fatted calf" to be eaten (Luke 15:23).
In another of Paul's letters, he
explains one particular reason that a number of Christians had
become vegetarians. Most of the available meat in the marketplace
had been offered to idols. Of this Paul says, "Therefore concerning
the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is
nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one....
However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with
consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an
idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled" (1 Corinthians
Some new converts thought
that eating such meat was participating in idol worship, but went
along with other Christians and did it anyway. That is the worst
thing they could have done. For Paul states in Romans 14 that "he
who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from
faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin" (v. 23). Whether
something is inherently wrong or not, if you think it might
be and do it anyway, you are sinning!
So to those who thought it was all
right to eat meat, Paul said, "Let not him who eats despise him who
does not eat" (v. 3). But continuing in the same verse, he said,
"And let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has
received him." Yet Paul told those who thought it was okay not to
flaunt that in front of those who did not (vv. 15-22).
So why did Paul break from his
dissertation on eating or not eating meat by mentioning the
esteeming of days? Because it involved the same principle! There
were some weak new converts who thought certain days were
better than others for fasting or eating or abstaining from
particular foods. Others thought all days were the same in regard to
what could be eaten.
that when we fast, it should be to God and without others knowing
unnecessarily (Matthew 6:16-18). But Jews and Gentiles both
practiced "semifasts" on particular days of the week or month. The
Pharisees fasted, according to custom, "twice a week" (Luke 18:12).
And the Jews as a people fasted during certain months (Zechariah
7:4-7). However, the Jewish religious authorities were divided on
some of these matters. The Gentiles, too, were divided over when and
if to abstain from certain foods (cf. Hasting's Encyclopedia of
Religion and Ethics).
way the Sabbath could have been a factor here is if some thought it
could be used as a fast day and others did not. However, that is not
stated, and if Paul had been talking about the Sabbath, he probably
would have mentioned it by name-just like he did in Colossians 2:16,
where Gentile converts to Christianity were being criticized for how
they were keeping God's Sabbath and other Festivals. Whatever
the case, the controversy in Romans 14 about esteeming particular
days had practically NOTHING to do with God's Sabbath or His other
No, whether or not to
keep the days that GOD made holy was not even at issue. This was all
about MAN-made traditions-some of which were okay to follow but
not okay to impose on others. In God's eyes, it doesn't
matter when we fast (except for the Day of Atonement, on
which God commands us to fast). What matters to Him is that
we do it with a right attitude-and that we do not judge each other
according to our personal ideas.
The Right to Change the Day?
Little by little, gradually and
stealthily, Satan was able to influence misguided Catholic
theologians to begin introducing the ancient "venerable day of the
Sun" in place of the weekly Sabbath. After all, millions of pagans
had always observed that day-Sunday-as part of their worship of the
sun itself and of other heavenly bodies. These deceived theologians
thought that a change to Sunday worship would make it easier for the
heathen to "convert" to Christianity!
But what kind of
"Christianity" is it when you change God's Ten Commandments and then
go on to water down the entire way of life taught by Christ
and the original apostolic Church? Is it still true
Christianity? Again, we must listen to Jesus' own words: "Not
everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of
heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven"
deceptive influence, the Protestant churches have followed "mother
Rome" in rejecting God's true Sabbath. Though they repudiated a
number of Catholic teachings, the pagan practice of Sunday worship
was not one of them. However, many of the early Protestant
scholars of the Reformation era were better informed. They, in fact,
knew what the Bible actually teaches! Notice what Martin
Luther, the very father of the Reformation from whom the
Lutheran Church is named, wrote: "Indeed, if Carlstadt [one of the
few that argued against Sunday observance] were to write further
about the Sabbath, Sunday would have to give way, and the
Sabbath-that is to say, Saturday-must be kept holy" (Against
the Celestial Prophets). But Luther wouldn't change back to the
right day. He wrote in his Larger Catechism that "to avoid the
unnecessary disturbance which an innovation would occasion, [the
worship day] should continue to be Sunday"(The New Schaff-Herzog
Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, "Sunday").
This is why the Catholic Church
will "gladly mention" that it changed the day! For it shows that the
Protestants are not relying on the Bible as their only rule of
faith-as they claim-but are instead acknowledging the "authority" of
the Roman Church to change God's law. Here's how The Catholic
Mirror explains it: "The Protestant world at its birth found the
Christian Sabbath [Sunday] too strongly entrenched to run counter to
its existence; it was therefore placed under the necessity of
acquiescing in the arrangement, thus implying the Church's right
to change the day, for over 300 years. The Christian Sabbath
[Sunday] is therefore to this day the acknowledged offspring of the
Catholic Church... without a word of [protest] from the Protestant
world" (Sept. 23, 1893).
Incredible? Yes! Of course, the
Catholics had no such "right" to change the day. Nevertheless, that
is just what they did. And the Protestant churches have followed
suit. Meanwhile, the true Church has continued in keeping the
true Sabbath-just as it did in apostolic times. Before
concluding, take one more look at that period. Respected scholar
W.D. Davies writes:
Everywhere, especially in the
East of the Roman Empire, there would be Jewish Christians whose
outward way of life would not be markedly different from that of
the Jews. They took for granted that the gospel was continuous
with [the religion of Moses]; for them the New Covenant, which
Jesus had set up at the Last Supper with His disciples... did not
mean that the covenant made between God and Israel was no longer
in force. They still observed the feasts of Passover, Pentecost
and Tabernacles; they also continued to be circumcised, to keep
the weekly Sabbath and the Mosaic regulations concerning food.
According to some scholars, they must have been so strong that
right up to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 they were the
DOMINANT ELEMENT in the Christian movement
[Judeo-christianisme,"Paul and Jewish
Christianity,"1972, p. 72, quoted by Bacchiocchi, p. 151].
If the Sabbath-keepers were the
"dominant element" of Christianity for some 40 years after
the death of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit, shouldn't
that tell us something? Isn't it obvious that if Jesus Himself,
Peter, James, Paul and MOST of the Christian Church of that time
observed the seventh-day Sabbath-then THAT is the day we ALL ought
to be keeping? That is the day the original Apostles of Jesus
Christ kept until they died. How DARE these later theologians
of the Dark Ages place the name of Christ on a day He never
kept-NEVER sanctified! How DARE they replace God's holy Sabbath with
the pagan "day of the Sun"-Sunday! How DARE they pervert the very
"sign" that identifies the CREATOR and those who worship Him!
Statements from Other Churches
Jesus Christ said of the
Pharisees, "'In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines
the commandments of men.' For laying aside the
commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men....
All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may
keep your tradition" (Mark 7:7-9). Yet notice what other
churches admit regarding their observance of Sunday instead of
Stephen Keenan, A
Doctinal Catechism, p. 174:
Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to
institute festivals of precept?
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....
"Question: When Protestants do profane work
upon Saturday... do they follow the Scripture as their only
rule of faith...?
"Answer: On the contrary,
they have only the authority of tradition for this
practice. In profaning Saturday, they violate one of
God's commandments, which He has never clearly abrogated,
'Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath.'"
Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, 3rd ed., p.
"Question: Which is the Sabbath day?
"Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day.
"Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead
"Answer: We observe Sunday
instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the
Council of Laodicea [c. 363] transferred the solemnity from
Saturday to Sunday."
Aug. 25, 1900
"Sunday is a Catholic
institution, and... 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."
Charles Buck, A
Theological Dictionary, "Sabbath":
"Sabbath in the Hebrew
language signifies rest, and is the seventh day of the week...
and it must be confessed that there is no law in the New
Testament concerning the first day."
Clovis Chappell, Ten
Rules for Living, p. 61:
"The reason we observe the
first day instead of the seventh is based on no positive
command. One will search the Scriptures in vain for
authority for changing from the seventh day to the first."
The Christian at Work",
April 19, 1883, and Jan. 1884:
"Some have tried to build
the observance of Sunday upon Apostolic command, whereas the
Apostles gave no command on the matter at all.... The
truth is, so soon as we appeal to the litera scripta
[literal writing] of the Bible, the Sabbatarians have the
best of the argument."
Isaac William, D.D.,
Plain Sermons on the Catechism, vol.
"Where are we told in
Scripture that we are to keep the first day at all? We
are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere
commanded to keep the first day.... The reason why we
keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh is
for the same reason that we observe many other things, not
because the Bible, but because the Church, has enjoined
Toronto Daily Star, Oct. 26, 1949:
"The Bible commandment
says on the seventh day thou shalt rest. That is
Saturday. Nowhere in the Bible is it laid down that
worship should be done on Sunday."
(editor), Christianity Today, Nov. 5,
"There is nothing in Scripture that requires us
to keep Sunday rather than Saturday as a holy day."
But, under the powerful
influence of Satan the Devil, "who deceives the whole world"
(Revelation 12:9), they have done it! (To learn more about
the change from God's holy Sabbath to the pagan Sunday, please write
for our free booklet, The Beast of Revelation.)
Obviously, then, to really follow
what the BIBLE teaches, you MUST observe the seventh-day
Sabbath-from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. But if you are
willing to COMPROMISE on the very commandment that points out the
true God, then you might very well end up observing the "day of the
Sun" right along with the vaunted majority-the countless millions
that prophecy shows will soon be subjected to the greatest
TRIBULATION in human history because of their rebellion
against the true God! (cf. Matthew 24:21-22).
How to KEEP the Sabbath
Just how are we to keep the
Sabbath? As we have seen, the scribes and Pharisees tried to
legislate, in minute detail, all that was acceptable or unacceptable
to do on the Sabbath. In doing so, they made the Sabbath a great
BURDEN- something God never intended (cf. 1 John 5:3). He gave the
Sabbath and magnified it in other places in His Word with
some specifics, but mainly by expounding broad, spiritual
What does God tell us?
In the fourth commandment itself, God says, "Six days you shall
labor and do all your work" (Exodus 20:9). Many would be
surprised to know that this is actually part of the commandment. God
ordained the first six days of the week for our business and work.
Our Creator intended that we be busy and productive-earning
our daily bread. In Proverbs 19:15, He tells us, "Laziness casts one
into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger" (NKJV,
1988). The person who shirks his responsibilities the first six days
of the week is just as guilty of breaking God's law as he who works
on the seventh!
That brings us to
the next injunction in this great law: "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 manservant, nor your
maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your
gates" (Exodus 20:10). So you are not to do any kind of real
work on the Sabbath-be it your occupation, personal business,
housework or any strenuous activity. And neither are those in the
environment over which you have control. Of course, preparing-or
cleaning up after-a light meal would not be wrong. For we find a
number of occasions when Jesus enjoyed a Sabbath meal with others.
And He never condemned the practice of hospitality on the
Sabbath (cf. Luke 14:1-6).
cessation of labor is not the only requirement God makes. He also
gives positive instruction. In Moses' recounting of the Ten
Commandments, the fourth one begins by enjoining us to "OBSERVE the
Sabbath day, to KEEP IT HOLY" (Deuteronomy 5:12). We must look to
God to tell us how to do that. Leviticus 23 lists "the feasts of
the Lord [not the Jews], which you shall proclaim to be holy
convocations." God says, "These are MY feasts" (v. 2).
The first one mentioned is the weekly Sabbath: "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" (v. 3). God then lists His seven
other Feasts or Festivals, which contain seven annual
Sabbaths. These days are also embraced by the spirit of the Sabbath
and annual-are to be holy "convocations" and are, therefore,
days commanded for worship services. When we fellowship with other
people in whom God dwells, we are, in fact, also fellowshipping with
Him (cf. 1 John 1:3, 7). The New Testament states that we must make
sure we are "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves
together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another,
and so much the more as [we] see the [millennial Sabbath] Day
approaching" (Hebrews 10:25). We must not forsake assembling on the
days God has appointed for that purpose.
Finally, to really understand how
God intended the Sabbath to be used, look at what He said in Isaiah
58: "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" (vv. 13-14).
So we are not to be doing our own
pleasure on God's Holy Day. That means we aren't to be pursuing our
hobbies or leisure activities. That does not preclude doing any
enjoyable things on the Sabbath whatsoever, for we are to find
DELIGHT in it. The point is that, whatever we do, God must be an
intrinsic part of it. A family walk through a natural setting, for
example, is a wonderful way to get in touch with the great God who
made the beautiful creation we see.
When the seventh day arrives, we
must stop pursuing our "own ways" (the things we normally do),
seeking our "own pleasure" (just trying to have fun) and speaking
our "own words" (the everyday things we talk about that do not
involve God). This last one is often VERY HARD to follow because
"out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew
12:34). To truly keep the Sabbath in the spirit, we must focus our
MINDS on God and those things He wants us to be concerned with
during His holy time. Then, as God promises, we will be truly
Furthermore, in addition
to worshiping with God's Church on His weekly Holy Day, we should
remember Christ's approach that "it is lawful to do good on the
Sabbath" (Matthew 12:12). So this is a day we can use for making
encouraging phone calls or writing letters to the sick, the
"shut-ins" or fellow Christians who are lonely. It may also be
possible to visit the sick or others in need on the
Sabbath-or to have them over for a Friday evening meal (cf. Matthew
25:34-36; James 1:27).
should not think of the Sabbath as the day we "can't do" this or
that! Rather, we should approach this very special day as a period
when we can and should really TAKE TIME to deeply
study and thoughtfully analyze the Bible. It is a time
when we can sit quietly, meditating over and thinking through
the truly big issues of life: Why were we born? What is the PURPOSE
of life? What is the WAY to achieve that purpose? How are we
personally doing in moving toward that objective? In addition, the
Sabbath is the perfect time for unhurried, thoughtful, heartfelt
PRAYER to our Father in heaven-to "commune" with our Creator, to
worship Him, to get to know Him intimately. This,
then, is how to KEEP God's Sabbath holy.
Of the Ten Commandments, the
fourth one-concerning the Sabbath day-is and always has been the
real "test" commandment (cf. Exodus 16:4). Many can accept the other
nine-don't worship other gods, honor your parents, don't murder,
don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, etc. But the fourth
commandment is different. To keep it means visibly living quite
differently from the society around you-perhaps even being looked
upon as odd or weird. Yet Jesus said, "If anyone comes to me and
does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and
sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And
whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be My
disciple" (Luke 14:26-27, Today's English Version).
Do you love the "praise of
men" more than the praise of God? Or do you have the FAITH and the
COURAGE to obey God's commandments-even if you were to lose your
job, your friends and perhaps some of your relatives?
True Christians OBEY The Fourth Commandment
Throughout the Bible, God shows
that His true followers keep His commandments. In Revelation
12, God describes the true Church-the little flock-that had to
escape the bonds of the Roman Empire during the Dark Ages (v.
6). Then, He foretells how this will happen again-in our day
(v. 14). Finally, God describes Satan's RAGE against the Church:
"And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war
with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God
and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (v. 17).
In Revelation 14:12, God describes
the character of His saints, saying, "Here is the patience of the
saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the
faith of Jesus." Notice that the saints do not merely observe
some "new" commandments of Jesus. They observe God's
commandments through the faith OF Jesus Christ-not merely their
faith IN Him (cf. Galatians 2:20, KJV). For, through the Holy
Spirit, they have Christ living His life in them and
empowering them to overcome themselves, the world and Satan-and are
therefore able to OBEY God's spiritual law!
And Revelation 22:14 describes
those who will live with God the Father and Christ throughout
eternity in the New Jerusalem: "Blessed are those who DO
HIS COMMANDMENTS, that they may have the right to the tree of life,
and may enter through the gates into the city."
In His famous Olivet Prophecy
recorded in Matthew 24, Jesus describes the time when true
Christians will, once again, have to FLEE for their lives. This time
is just a few years ahead of us-for it is placed in this
prophecy just BEFORE the Great Tribulation, in which ALL humanity
would be exterminated, were it not for God's supernatural
intervention. Warning His true servants as to what we should
do when that Tribulation approaches, Jesus said, "And pray
that your flight may not be in winter or on the SABBATH" (v.
20). Obviously, Jesus knew that His true disciples at the
time of the end would still be KEEPING the true Sabbath day!
In another inspired END-TIME
prophecy, God's Word shows that His true servants will be keeping
the Sabbath day holy even during the 1,000-year reign of Christ here
on this earth: "'For as the new heavens and the new earth which I
will make shall remain before Me,' says the Lord, 'So shall your
descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that
from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another,
all flesh shall come to worship before Me,' says the Lord"
(Isaiah 66:22-23). So obedience to the fourth commandment is not
"old fashioned." It is instead the "wave of the future"! For ALL
HUMANITY will learn to obey God's commandments-and keep holy
the days God made holy-in the soon-coming Tomorrow's World,
when the Kingdom of God is set up on this earth!
We who are willing to heed and
OBEY our Creator now-through Jesus Christ living His life within
us-will be given the awesome opportunity to serve under Him in
ruling the cities and nations of the world at that time. For we are
the true pioneers preparing for Tomorrow's World. We are
overcoming-standing up against the prevailing forces and
trends of this materialistic, Satan-influenced society. Jesus said,
"He who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will
give power over the nations-'He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
as the potter's vessels shall be broken to pieces'-as I also have
received from My Father" (Revelation 2:26-27).
Yet, even now, in this carnal
society, you are not completely alone by any means. For when you
include the Orthodox Jews, the Seventh-Day Adventists, the
Seventh-Day Baptists and many from the various Churches of God,
there are millions of people who observe the seventh-day
Sabbath. They have found, and you will find, that it is
possible to keep this "test" commandment and still be blessed and
made prosperous in many ways. You may even find in our diverse
society a number of people who will admire your courage and
dedication, even though God may not be "calling" them to full
spiritual understanding at this time.
Remember, there are millions of
people who sincerely want to do the right thing. Yet Jesus said, "NO
ONE can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I
will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44). But, if God is
calling you and is now opening your mind to His full
Truth, then you have a RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT upon that Truth.
For as James 4:17 states, "to him who knows to do good and does not
do it, to him it is sin."
then, are sincerely interested in truly obeying God and being one of
the "firstfruits" of His salvation in this age, you may wish to
contact Christ's "little flock," which He has preserved even in this
mixed-up generation. A significant branch of this body of believers
is doing the Work of God. It is the Church that sponsors the
Tomorrow's World program on radio and television and that
publishes the Tomorrow's World magazine, which goes into many
nations. We are called the Living Church of God, and you will
find our regional addresses and phone numbers at the end of this
booklet. We have representatives in many major cities around the
globe. So if you would like to ask questions about how to properly
observe the Sabbath or about meeting with others in your area-or if
you have other questions about true Christianity-just drop us a line
or give us a call. No one will be sent to call on you unless
you request it. Our representatives will simply talk to you on the
phone or answer in writing. We will NOT use any "high-pressure"
tactics to get you to join or support us. For we want to be sure
that God is truly "calling" you.
Do you want the opportunity to
observe the true Sabbath, to enjoy warm, loving fellowship
with others of similar beliefs and to learn more fully
the plan and PURPOSE of the Great GOD? Do you want to participate
with others in this CRUSADE to prepare the way for the return of
Jesus Christ to this earth? We hope so, because all of this is so
enormously helpful in assisting your spiritual growth. Unless you
meet with others of the true faith of Jesus Christ and are nourished
with His Word rather than the traditions of men, you may
easily "die" spiritually. The book of Hebrews, in a passage
quoted elsewhere in this booklet, says, "Let us consider one another
in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the
assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but
exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day
personally, exercise the faith and the COURAGE to obey the
God who gives you life and breath? Or will you follow the deceptions
of this world under Satan's powerful influence? You now KNOW that
the God of the Bible commands you to observe His holy
Sabbath. And the ultimate penalty for disobeying God's law is
DEATH in the Lake of Fire. "For the wages of sin is death, but the
gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23;
cf. Revelation 21:8).
As God spoke
to ancient Israel, so now-through His inspired Word-He speaks to you
in Deuteronomy 30:19: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today
against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and
cursing; therefore CHOOSE LIFE, that both you and your descendants
Original article: Tomorrows World
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