Many who claim to love God hate the Sabbath that He has made. Rom 8:7-9 says, "The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you." We are to worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water by keeping the Sabbath. Yet we meet so-called Christians who argue against it. God says, "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
1) Do those who oppose the Sabbath have Bible proof for their arguments?
Answer: Yes, but the texts they cite are wrested and misapplied. For instance, they quote Rom 3:20, saying, "By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight." Their purpose here is to say, the law cannot be kept, so there is no need to keep it. That is not the Bible teaching. For the next clause of the same text says, "for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Now the knowledge of sin is important. If we donít know we are sinners, we will not need Jesus to save us. So to abolish the law is to abolish Jesus.
2) What? Did you say that to abolish the law is to abolish Jesus? Please explain this further.
Answer: 1 Jn 3:4 says, "sin is lawlessness." If there is no law, then there will be no violation of the law---no lawlessness. One who does not know the command, "You shall not bow down to a carved image," may even think that it is a merit to worship images. So people must hear God's commandments in order to know that image-worship is sinful. Rom 7:7 gives another example. It says,
"I would not have known covetousness unless the law said, 'You shall not covet.'" Without the law, man does not know what sin is, so he will feel no need of Jesus to save him from sin. That is why I say, to abolish the law is to abolish Jesus. The name Jesus is made up of "Jehovah" and "save." Matt 1:21 says, "You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
3) I see. Then the fourth commandment, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy" should be another example.
Answer: Yes. The fourth commandment is a pure command. All people with a conscience would agree that murder, adultery, robbery, theft and deception are sinful. Legislators who don't believe in God can make laws to prohibit crimes that endanger social security. But without a command from God, no one would know that to work on the seventh day of the week is a sin. So this law is based wholly on a command from God. It rests entirely on His authority. To violate the Sabbath is a direct offense against Him.
4) People use Rom 3:27 to teach people to be saved by the law of faith, saying that to keep the law is to be saved by works. They quote Gal 3:10, saying, "As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.'"
Answer: This text cites a verse from the Old Testament that says, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." So the curse rests on one who breaks the law, not on him who keeps it. But to continue arguing like this makes no sense. Why talk always in terms of being saved? There is a greater issue to be addressed.
5) Jesus was crucified to save us; how can you say that our salvation is not the greatest issue?
Answer: There is a greater issue. Jesus once said, "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name. Then a voice came from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." Jn 12:27. The fact that Jesus first prayed for salvation, then changed His prayer to, "Father, glorify Your name, and got an immediate answer, shows that God's glory is a greater issue than man's salvation." Mal 1:6 says, "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts." We keep God's commandments, not to be saved, but to honor God. If men do not obey God's command, can they still expect to be saved? If they reach heaven, will they simply rejoice that they are saved, but refuse to honor God and obey Him? Only when people have learned to fear and honor God on earth, will they be able to fear and honor Him in heaven.
6) That's right. Rev 14:6,7 announces the everlasting gospel, saying, "Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come." It speaks only of fearing God and giving Him glory, saying nothing about salvation. People think too much of being saved, too little about the glory of God.
Answer: Jesus says, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matt 5:16. Jesus points out that good works are not for our salvation, but to glorify God. His glory should be the purpose of our discussions. When we all put God's glory first, there will be no need to debate the matter of commandment keeping. Many professed Christians hate the Sabbath because they do not fear and honor God, but only think of being saved.
7) Many want to abolish the Decalog, saying it has passed away with the old covenant. For Heb 8:13 says, "In that He says, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." But some admit that the Ten Commandments cannot be abolished, but only the Sabbath command should pass away.
Answer: The old covenant was a contract, superseded by the new. Yet the basis of the new covenant is still God's law. The Ten Commandments have not been abolished, but have been put in a more effective place. God says in Heb 8:10, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."
8) I don't know why people hate the Sabbath so. I've heard some say, "The Ten Commandments of the Old Testament must be repeated in the New in order to be binding." They take pains to find nine commandments in the New Testament, and fail to find the fourth commandment, then they gleefully say, "We don't have to keep the Sabbath!" Is there any truth in this theory?
Answer: No. Because the Sabbath command is in the New Testament. In Matt 24:20 Christ foretold the sack of Jerusalem, and taught his people to pray that they could keep the Sabbath well, saying, "Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath." All who hate the Sabbath have not considered an alternate question: Since they take the New Testament as authoritative, where does it tell them to keep Sunday? Christians who hate the Sabbath do not realize that they have a distorted concept of Christ: they don't know that He who was crucified for them is their Creator, the God who is jealous for the Sabbath they trample on every week.
9) People use Col 2:14-16 to abolish the Sabbath, saying, "having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. . . . So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ."
Answer: Please note that the sabbaths here is plural, referring to the ceremonial sabbaths. Lev 23:38 says that they are "besides the Sabbaths of the Lord." The shadow of things to come identify the seven ceremonial sabbaths as rites foreshadowing Christ. Once they reach Christ, they have fulfilled their purpose. The seventh-day Sabbath is not a shadow of things to come, but a memorial of God's creation.
The "handwriting" is the Greek word for a legal bond, an IOU note. "That was against us, which was contrary to us," means that the bond says, we owe the debt. The ceremonial sacrifices remind us we are debtors. Christ wiped out the handwriting by paying off the debts. In olden days a canceled bond was wiped out and nailed on the doorpost of the debtor to let all know that his credit was good. People often misquote this text to contend that the Ten Commandments have been nailed to the cross. They are wrong. Luke 9:55 aptly describes all who hate the Sabbath: "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of."
10) Ps 118:24 says, "This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Some say that the day the Lord has made is Sunday. Are they correct?
Answer: No; they misapply Scripture. They use it to deviously abolish the Sabbath and put Sunday in its place. They quote Acts 4:10,11, "Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone." From this they get the resurrection, and in Ps 118 they get "the day the Lord has made." Putting them together, the day of Christ's resurrection becomes "the day the Lord has made." It is a forced interpretation. The correct explanation is first to see what Ps 118 was written for. Verse 26 says, "We have blessed you from the house of the Lord." v 27 speaks of the sacrifice on the altar. So we see the Psalm was written for worshipers in the Temple. The Jews worshipped there on Sabbaths, so the words, "This is the day the Lord has made" refers to the Sabbath. It was written over a thousand years before Christ, so the day could not refer to His resurrection. This is plainly a forced interpretation of Sunday advocates.
The theme of the stone which the builders rejected may be properly applied to the Sabbath. The Bible clearly states that the Sabbath is the day the Lord has made. Yet many preachers reject the Sabbath and call Sunday the day the Lord has made, thereby unwittingly reenacting the scene described in this Psalm. The Sabbath is the stone that the modern builders have rejected. It has become God's cornerstone. Jewish leaders thought they were building God's temple, but they actually violated His will and crucified His son. Those ancient builders wanted only the Sabbath and rejected the Lord of the Sabbath. Modern builders only want the Lord, and reject His Sabbath. They would just as soon nail it on the cross.
11) Some people use Rom 14:5 to prove that it makes no difference what day you keep. One day is as good as another.
Answer: Rom 14:5 says, "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind." This text is not talking of the Sabbath. For the Sabbath is not a matter of opinion; we keep it in obedience to God's command. 1 Cor 7:25 says, "Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy." The principle is clear: Where there is no commandment from the Lord, we may use our judgment; when God has commanded, then obey His command. If it really makes no difference to them which day they keep, then why don't they keep the day the Lord has sanctified? Rom 14:6 says, "He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord." Since it is not the Sabbath, what day is Paul talking about? It could be a day in memory of Jesus' birth, His crucifixion or His resurrection.
12) Heb 4:9 says, "There remains therefore a rest for the people of God." What does it mean? Some say it refers to Sunday.
Answer: No. The Chinese translation, "another rest" does not agree with the Greek, which does not have the word "another." The "remain" in the original means to "leave behind." The Greek word translated rest here is actually "Sabbath-keeping." So the correct rendering of this text is, "Sabbath-keeping therefore is left behind for the people of God."
13) Some have said that the Lord's day of Rev 1:10 is Sunday. Are they right?Answer: No. Rev 1:10 says, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day." It does not say which day of the week it was. In the Bible there are 12 places where God calls the Sabbath My holy day and the holy day of the Lord. See on Exod 31:13; Lev. 19:30; 23:3; Isa 58:13,14 Ezek 20:12, 13, 16, 20, 21, 24. Jesus says, "The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath." Mk 2:28. There is no other day the Bible calls the Lord's day, so it must be the Sabbath. There is no Bible basis for calling Sunday the Lord's day. It is purely a commandment of men. God says, "In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." Mk 7:6,7
14) Many insist that since Christ rose from the dead on Sunday, we should keep that day in memory of His resurrection.
Answer: It is a commandment of men, and is not God's manner of legislating. When He instituted the Sabbath, He made a declaration. He created the world in six days and the Sabbath on the seventh, and said, "God blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it." So whatever God does is all open and above board. If He meant to abolish the Sabbath and let people keep the first day, He is bound to say so. Instead, He affirms, "My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips." Ps. 89:34.
15) Some say that in Acts 20:7 the early Christians met on the first day of the week and broke bread, which indicates that the early church was already beginning to keep Sunday holy.
Answer: No. That is a misunderstanding. Acts 20:7 says, "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together." Since it was an evening gathering, some modern versions translate it as "Saturday night," which is correct.
As for the breaking of bread, that was not confined to holy days. Acts 1:46 says the early Christians were very enthusiastic. Acts 2:46 says they "continued daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house." So the breaking of bread did not make a day holy. Another point shows that Paul did not regard the first day as holy. He was following the Jewish habit of starting out on a long journey on the first day, so that he could reach his destination before the next Sabbath. The Greek word for "the next day" in Acts 20:7 is "In the morning." It proves that the believers gathered to break bread at the close of the Sabbath, and also to bid Paul farewell. He took advantage of the last hours to speak to them, for in the morning he must depart.
16) Is there any record in the Bible to show that the early church considered changing their worship from Sabbath to Sunday?
Answer: The early church never met this question. A major issue they debated over was circumcision for Gentile believers. See on Acts 15. If anyone tried to change the Sabbath, that would have caused even more heated debate. Dan 7:25 speaks of an evil power that will intend to change times and law. It appeared in Rome. Then the everlasting gospel of Rev 14:6 warns people to fear God, "for the hour of His judgment has come," and to worship the Creator---a solemn call to restore the sanctity of God's Sabbath.