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Why don't Christians Keep the Sabbath?

Today’s Question: The clear origin of the Sabbath (Saturday) observance is known, but little or nothing is biblical about Sunday observance. My question is by whose authority and when was the sacredness of the Sabbath transferred to Sunday? This question makes me seriously confused as such a serious matter is rarely mentioned in our churches. Why is this the only commandment of God interfered with while all the other nine are left intact and sacred? Why do we neglect the teaching of Isaiah on the Sabbath, but put too much emphasis on Malachi and tithing in connection with prosperity. I dread it being the devil’s deceitful plan to fail us from being true God followers! Please sincerely help a disturbed heart.

David K. Njuguna

Bible Answer: I will try to answer your question very briefly. The commandment to keep the Sabbath is a religious commandment. All the other commandments are moral laws. There is nothing moral or immoral about keeping the Sabbath. The Sabbath is totally religious. Think about it: does keeping the Sabbath tell you anything about the moral condition of an individual? No, but if someone "murders another" does that tell you something about the moral condition of a person? Of course it does.

The New Testament clearly teaches that the Sabbath was a shadow of the things to come, not the reality itself. Notice Paul’s clear warning against those who preach the necessity of keeping the Sabbath:

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Col 2:16-17)

I live in the Sabbath everyday by resting in the finish work of Christ for my salvation. That is how we keep the Sabbath. Paul said:

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. (Rom 14:5-6)

Did Paul fall for the "devils deceitful plan"? You sound like you have been listening too much to the Seventh Day Adventists. I would encourage you to break from that denomination. They "spit out a gnat and swallow a camel" when it comes to this area of the Sabbath.

When the rich young ruler asked Jesus which commandments to obey, Jesus listed many of them, but the Sabbath was not mentioned (see Matt 19:18-19). In fact He had a run-in with many that got angry with Him because His disciples broke the Sabbath on one occasion. That's when Jesus said, "The son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" (Matt 12:8).

Jesus healed on the Sabbath, and the religious leaders became upset when He did so. Jesus showed their hypocrisy by pointing out that it is good to save men's lives, even if it meant to work to do so. Technically, then, Jesus worked on the Sabbath by healing the sick. Jesus pointed out that even the priests worked on the Sabbath by preaching. David, doesn’t your ministers, which preaches that everyone should keep the Sabbath, work on the Sabbath by preaching?

There is nothing in the New Testament that encourages the keeping of the Sabbath, so that is the reason Christians have felt no need to do it. Concerning Sunday as the Sabbath, the historical accounts show that the early church usually met on Sunday (1 Cor 16:2), although not exclusively on Sunday. Even before the turn of the first century, Sunday was called by Christians "The Lord's Day" (see Rev 1:10). When the church became mostly Gentiles, Sunday became the usual meeting time in order to correspond to the Resurrection of the Lord. I venture to say that even you believe that the resurrection is the single most important day to Christians, so why not continue the tradition of meeting on Sundays. However, there is no scriptural rule about what day we should meet.

For information about the question on tithing click here.


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