What is so special and unique about the Sabbath?


Those who claim to love God should look at what Christ said in regard to keeping the commandments. In John 14:15, He clearly states: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

It becomes increasingly difficult to just ignore these words from Christ. We demonstrate our love for Christ and also for God the Father by keeping the commandments which Christ, the God of the Old Testament, spoke to Israel and, by extension, to the entire world. Furthermore, we especially demonstrate our love for God and Christ by keeping the first four of the Ten Commandments.  The first four commandments are the four main pillars of how to love God.

One of those pillars is to keep the Sabbath—the time span from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. We read in Exodus 20:8-11:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.  For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”

God says, remember the Sabbath day; and overall man has forgotten to keep it while introducing Satan-inspired days such as Sunday, a former pagan day of worshipping the sun.

Furthermore, who changed the day from Saturday to Sunday?

We are quoting excerpts from an article by Christian Educators Academy:

“One of the earliest references to Sunday worship can be found in the writings of Justin Martyr, an early Christian apologist who lived in the second century. In his writings, Justin describes how Christians would gather together on Sunday to read the Scriptures, listen to a sermon, and partake in the Lord’s Supper.

“Over time, Sunday worship became more organized and structured. By the fifth century, Sunday had become the official day of worship for the Christian Church. This was largely due to the influence of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who declared Sunday a day of rest and worship throughout the Roman Empire.”

It was the Catholic Church which replaced the Sabbath with Sunday, and it was Constantine who enforced the worship on Sunday. But no institution and no man had or has ecclesiastical authority or an edict from God to make that change. The Sabbath was instituted by God and given to man.

Notice this statement in Luke 6:5: “And He said to them, ‘The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.’”

Of course, He was and is the Lord of the Sabbath since He made it, following the direction of God the Father. If you are Lord of the Sabbath, you have power over it to declare when and how to keep it. No one has the authority to change it to another day, be it Sunday, Friday (which is kept by Muslims) or any day of the week (as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and, for example, Grace Communion International [GCI] believe).

Notice what else Christ said about the Sabbath in Mark 2:27-28: “And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.’”

God made the Sabbath during the seven days of recreation of the surface of the earth which had been destroyed by catastrophes. It had become void and empty. God created man and made the Sabbath for man, not for angels or animals. Christ is also emphasizing again that He is LORD of the Sabbath, and we are subject to keeping it, not forgetting it or replacing it with another day.

What else does the fourth commandment say? It commands us to “keep” the Sabbath day “holy.” The Sabbath is holy because God put His presence in it. The Sabbath is holy time. Members and affiliates of the Church of the Eternal God keep it holy by assembling together in worship services to God, while those who have no congregation nearby listen to services which are broadcast live on the Internet, participate in song services and are able to use the chatline to communicate with others. Those who are unable to listen to services can listen to recorded sermons posted on the Internet.

Let us note further instructions of the fourth commandment: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work.” We are to do our customary work during six days of the week, but not on the seventh day, constituting the designated holy time by God.

The Sabbath has been called the test commandment as it can test our willingness to obey God rather than man. The Sabbath may conflict with the type of employment we may have so we have basically four choices:

  1. Seek out another employee willing to fill in for you on the Sabbath.
  2. Ask your employer for an exemption from working on the Sabbath which may or will impact your income.
  3. Make up the time by either working overtime on weekdays or coming in on Sunday, if permitted, and work.
  4. Seek other employment.

At times, a person can declare he or she wants to obey God’s commandment regarding the Sabbath; at other times, a person actually has to prove it regardless of the consequences.

Carrying on, we read next: In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.”

We are to refrain from work involving how we make our income, and from non-essential work, including by those we are responsible for and under our care. That would include not mowing our lawn on the Sabbath and not having our gardener do it for us on that day; it would include not working on our house or having someone else do it for us. It would also include not using our animals for farm work or our machinery to make our physical labor easier, like lawnmowers, tractors and other work-saving machinery. They are to rest” also.

We continue to read: “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.”

God is reiterating that the Sabbath was instituted during the week of re-creation [note that God “made” the heavens and the earth in six days, by referring to pages 21-22 of our free booklet, “Heavens and Earth… Before and After the First Man!”]. He also emphasizes that we are to keep it, as it was and is blessed by God. He hallowed it, making it holy time. So what it boils down to is that we can come up with all kinds of excuses and apply human reasoning and justification for NOT keeping the Sabbath, but all of it is totally unacceptable to God.

We prove our love for God by keeping the Sabbath. We prove our love for Satan, the current god and ruler of this earth, by keeping Sunday or any other designated day of the week. Satan has deceived the whole world, so many do not know that we must keep the Sabbath. They are not judged yet—their judgment comes later when they understand the Truth. But God’s people DO know, and they must NEVER deviate from observing the Sabbath and keeping it holy.

So, what is special and unique regarding the Sabbath which cannot be claimed by worshiping any other day? It is sanctified by God, set aside for a holy purpose. It has His approval and it points to the one and true God of creation.

Please notice Exodus 31:16-17: “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.'” 

As an aside and in passing, Exodus 31 actually speaks about the “Sabbaths”—the weekly Sabbath and the annual Sabbaths or Holy Days. Both are to be kept. But in this Q&A, we are concentrating on the weekly Sabbath.

Members of the Church of God, who have been properly baptized and received the Holy Spirit, are spiritual Israelites. They must obey God by keeping the Sabbath (compare Acts 5:32), as physical Israel is commanded to do.

Notice, the Sabbath is a sign—a badge, as it were, that we belong to God, and that God is our God, and the Sabbath points to the one and only true God who should be obeyed by true Christians who are set aside by God’s Spirit in them. It is a sign forever, not just for a few weeks, and no one has the authority to change the day, even though we read in Daniel 7:25 that the “little horn” (the Catholic Church) “shall intend to change times and law”; that is, the law about holy time.

The Sabbath is a special and unique day of rest and refreshing, so let us ensure we take advantage of this wonderful blessing from God.

Lead Writer: Rene Messier (Canada)

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