“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it”. (Exodus 20:
What is the Sabbath?
Sabbath literally means to cease from work and to rest. After God completed his work, he rested on the seventh day. The above verses are the fourth commandment in which God told the nation of Israel to rest on the seventh day, just as he did. They were not allowed to work on that day. God would provide enough manna (food) in the wilderness on the sixth day for that day and the seventh (a double portion), that way they would not have to work. But why? What was the point of having them rest on that day?
When is the Sabbath?
Many get caught up on whether the Sabbath is Saturday or Sunday. According to Genesis 1 & 2, God created the days from sunset to sunset. The difference today is that socially our days begin at midnight, not sunset. So according to our calendar, the Sabbath is really from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, but are Christians even called to observe the Sabbath?
The Sabbath is for Man
The religious elite of Jesus’ day were twisting the word to make the Sabbath a burden to the people. You basically could not do anything on that day. On one occasion Jesus and his disciples were hungry on the Sabbath, so they went to a cornfield to get corn to eat. The Pharisees told him that it wasn’t lawful for them to do that. Jesus’ reply was the Sabbath was created for man and not man for the Sabbath. Wouldn’t the Sabbath be a burden if it prohibited you from picking food when you’re hungry? The Pharisees understood the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law. God never intended for the Sabbath to weigh his people down; it was meant to show God’s great power.
The truth is that the Sabbath was made for man. Mankind was created on the sixth day, to rest on the seventh. Think about that. God could have made man any day, but he specifically made man to enter into his rest. It was never meant to be a burden, but rather a true demonstration of God’s provision.
The Sabbath Was a Sign
“And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” (Deu 5:15)
“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.” (Ex 31 :16-17)
We see in scripture that the Sabbath was commanded to the children of Israel; it was actually given before the 10 commandments (see Exodus 16 & 20). And so, God commands the children of Israel to “remember” the Sabbath with the 10 commandments because they were in fact already commanded to keep it. Deu 5:15 says that since God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, therefore, they should keep the Sabbath. It is clear the Sabbath was not intended for all but for the children of Israel specifically. God used the Sabbath as a sign between him and the children of Israel, that they were his people.
Did the Disciples Keep the Sabbath?
The only time that the New Testament mentions the Sabbath is when we are told Christ has given us a full picture of the Sabbath or when the apostles went into the synagogue on the Sabbath days to preach Christ (Acts 18:4). The only mention of the disciples coming together on the first day of the week (or Sunday) is in Acts 20:7, when they came together to eat. In Acts 2:46 it says they met every day, eating and going to the temple. There is no verse that places the importance of one day above another after Jesus’ resurrection.
What Does the Sabbath Mean for Modern Day Believers?
There are many discussions within the body of Christ about whether the Sabbath should be kept today, and, if so, when to keep it. There are no verses that say “Christian Sabbath” or that command the church to keep the Sabbath, but the New Testament does have a few things to say on the matter.
In Hebrews chapters 3 and 4, the Bible speaks about the Sabbath at length. Hebrews 4:9 states “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God”. The writer conveys the message that the Sabbath (rest) is still in place for the New Testament church, but it is clear it is not the same as the one that the children of Israel had in the wilderness (Heb 4:11).
Unbelief will keep someone from God’s rest. We are called to labor to enter into his rest. Sounds like a paradox right? It just shows that the Sabbath was always much more than just a day. It is a spiritual truth.
Colossians chapter 2 gives clarity on the Sabbath. “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” The prior verses says that Jesus blotted out the handwriting of ordinances not to let anyone judge you with the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a shadow of Christ. Now that Christ has come we have the picture of the Sabbath, no longer just a shadow. Jesus is our Sabbath!
Christ is our Rest
While on earth, Jesus taught on how to live in the Sabbath. He says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He is speaking on rest of one’s soul. Although the Sabbath was meant to be kept physically, it was a shadow for spiritual rest.
You will still have to work, but he can give you peace of mind. Jesus gives identity and purpose; purpose then propels us to focus on God and not provision. In Matthew chapter 6 Jesus says that life is more than food and clothing. If we seek his kingdom and his righteousness first, then all that will be given. He was teaching that he is our provision and our rest. Most unrest comes from lack: a lack of money to pay the bills, a lack of food to feed our children.
Know that it is never God’s will that his children lack. When his disciples asked “teach us how to pray “Jesus responded with the Lord’s prayer. In the prayer, he says give us this day our daily bread. The word daily is epiousios, which can mean needful or tomorrow. So Jesus says pray for a double portion today; you do not have to wait until the sixth day any longer! You can live in his rest!
Just like how God would provide a double portion on the sixth day for the seventh, he wants to provide a double portion for you today. Read other posts under finances to see how to tap into the kingdom’s resources for your double portion!