Saturday? - or Sunday?
Saturday or Sunday
The fourth commandment found in Exodus 20:8 says, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Out of all 21st century Christianity, how many actually keep the Sabbath of Exodus? Are we required to? And if so, what are we to do on the Sabbath?
It has been suggested by many that Christians absolutely must keep the Sabbath. Those that do not may find themselves on the wrong side of judgment. One argument that is often used is that Sunday (Sun-day) came from a pagan religion of sun worship. What about the origin of Saturday (Saturn day)? They may also tempt you with the idea that both Jesus and Paul were Sabbath keepers, therefore we should follow them as our example. Some even carry it so far as to say that those who continue to worship on Sunday will receive the mark of the beast. Some pretty strong claims; let us see what the Bible has to say.
The first thing we must consider is this. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we are to worship on Saturday. We are clearly told to keep the day holy. The Sabbath was given for a day of rest. As we read on in Exodus, "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." (Exodus 20:9-11).
In Acts 15:5, 6 we read, "But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter." Here was a discussion on the necessity of keeping the law. But in verse 29 the we see the discussion led to this conclusion, "That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well." If indeed Sunday church goers are waiting for the mark of the beast, this would have been the perfect opportunity for God to make it known.
In Light of the Law
Furthermore there is not a single command in the New Testament indicating that the New Testament church should keep the Sabbath. If we look at Exodus 31:13-17 we see, "Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you."Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."
Furthermore we read in Colossians 2:16, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:" We are told that the Sabbath was given for a sign to Israel. It is right that thousands of years later they still observe the Sabbath. As a Christian we are told not to judge in respect of holy days. I choose to worship on Sunday, but worship is not what the Sabbath is about. Can one worship on Saturday? Absolutely, but also on Sunday. As a matter of fact our worship should be seven days a week.
But please do keep these facts in mind. According to Acts 20:7, The apostles came together to break bread on the first day of the week. I Corinthians 16:2 notes that it was "upon the first day of the week . . ." that the collection was offered. Not as criticism but as fact, Sabbath keepers do not "break bread" or receive an offering the same day that the New Testament church did.
Did Jesus keep the Sabbath? Yes, He did. He came to keep the law. Had He not kept the Sabbath, He would not have been the perfect sacrifice demanded by God. Paul did not go to the synagogue on Saturday to keep the law, but to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. Paul's message was salvation by grace through faith, not of works. If he went to the synagogue to keep the law, his message would have clashed with his reason.
Some may prefer Saturday as a day of worship, but in light of the New Testament, there is absolutely no reason to force Saturday as the only true day of worship. That is not forcing Saturday, but forcing the Scriptures to say something they simply do not say. Within the doctrine of Scripture is the doctrine of sole liberty which says we are each responsible for ourselves.
Are You the Judge?
Romans 14:10 says this - " But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." We will all stand before the judgment Seat of God, but you will not answer for me, and I will not answer for you. I think we as Christians quite often forget this fact; first that we will each face a holy God to give an account of the life we lived; secondly, that we are accountable only for ourselves.
In light of the inescapable judgment seat, where do you stand? the day will soon be here when you will answer for your choices and reasons. Be clear where you stand so you will be clear when you stand before the Judge of all the earth.
Would it be wrong for me to worship on Saturday? I have worshiped on Saturday, perhaps not as in a worship service, but worship takes on many looks. Worship can be found in prayer meetings. It can be found as we praise the only One who deserves our praise. It can be found in a Bible study or active service to the Lord.
When you worship is between you and God.You, and you alone are responsible for the choices you make in life. What is even more important than when you worship is the fact that you do worship. So many people are leaving worship behind, and in so doing, they leave God behind.
So here is the bottom line. The Sabbath was given as a sign to the Jews. it is right for them to observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath is not a day of worship, but a day of rest. The New Testament church met among other days on Sunday. But the bottom, bottom line - Romans 14:5, "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
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