The Sabbath from Creation to Eternity
The Sabbath was established at creation before sin and was therefore part of God’s perfect plan from the very beginning. God also blessed and sanctified this day for Holy use at creation. This is the only reason we have a seven day week. If God did not want a seventh day Sabbath, then the whole world would only have a six day week. Most Christians do not know that the word translated “rested” in our English Bibles in Genesis 2:3 is actually “shabath” in the Hebrew and means Sabbath. So here we find the word Sabbath and it is being used directly in regards to the Sabbath being made at creation. Since the Sabbath was made at creation, it has to be for all man as are all Ten Commandments that also had to exist from the beginning. We know this for the following reasons.
In Genesis 4:3-7, Cain brings an offering from the ground which represented righteousness by works and so God was angry with him but Abel brought the firstborn of his flock as a sin offering which represents righteousness by faith. You cannot have a sin offering unless there is a law. (1 John 3:4) In verse 7, we also see God speak to Cain about sin lying at the door. The Bible also says where there is no law there is no transgression (Romans 4:15) so the Commandments although not yet codified had to exist from the very beginning or Cain could not have been guilty of murder. Besides the Seventh day being called the Sabbath in the Hebrew in Genesis 2:3, God also said the Sabbath “is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever” because “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:17. Here God further confirms that the Sabbath existed from the beginning when it was added as the Seventh day of the week at creation. Saturday is also called the Sabbath in over 105 languages just as it was named at creation. This dates right back to Babel in Genesis 11, where Saturday was recognized as the Sabbath day and was incorporated into the very name of the day. In English we have the Pagan name Saturday. Since the Sabbath was sanctified and made Holy before sin at creation and the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments which is also seen being kept before the giving of the Commandments, (Exodus 16) it had to be kept by Adam and Eve. So we have now seen that the Ten Commandments though not yet codified, existed from the beginning and the sacrificial law came in right after Adam and Eve sinned shown by the sin offering by Abel. This is confirmed many times in Genesis but one of the clearest verses is found right in the first book of the Bible which tells us that Abraham kept all the Commandments, Statutes and Laws. Genesis 26:5 says, “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my Commandments, my Statutes, and my Laws.”
Since the Sabbath was made at creation before sin, it cannot be a sacrificial ceremonial law that was just for the Jews as some foolishly claim. None of the Ten Commandments are temporary as they relate to loving God with all your heart, might and soul and loving your neighbour as yourself. The Sabbath is not misplaced in God’s law as it is also a love Commandment which we will explain soon. The ceremonial law existed because of sin as sin is breaking the Ten Commandments (1 John 3:4). It is part of what is called the “Book of the Law,” “Law of Moses,” “Mosaic Law” and the “Ordinances.” The “Book of the law” was a temporary law and was for the Israel of the flesh only and ended at the cross. It contained seven temporary sabbaths such as Passover, which was a sabbath that ended at the cross when Jesus became our Passover Lamb. If the Sabbath of the Lord (fourth Commandment) was for the Jews only, God would have placed it in the “Book of the law” along with the other temporary laws that ended at the cross but He did not because it belongs with the other nine Commandments and is a law of love as they all are.
Why is the Sabbath a love Commandment? Most Christians think that the Sabbath is just about resting but it goes far deeper than that. The Bible tells us that the Sabbath is a perpetual Sign that lasts forever and when we keep the seventh day Sabbath of the Lord, it is a SIGN that we are God’s children and hence is also a SIGN that God is our Heavenly Father that we love and worship. When we keep the seventh day Holy as it was made at creation, it is also a SIGN that it is God that sanctifies us and makes us His Holy children. This is why it is part of the Ten Commandments. If you love God with all your heart, might and soul then you will also place yourself under this SIGN which defines that it is God alone who you belong to and love and worship. This is very important to God and we need to have an understanding of this. So as you can see, our all wise Creator God did not make a blunder when He placed the fourth Commandment in His eternal law of love instead of the “Book of the Law”, which was temporary and ended at the cross. We should therefore expect to find in the Bible that the Sabbath has been kept from creation and will go to eternity and we can. I am sure we all agree we can certainly trust the example given by Jesus and Paul.
What day have the Jews always worshiped on? Always Saturday and that has never changed. Paul was a Pharisee and hence a Jew and followed the Jewish ways to the strictest letter. Acts 26:3-5 “The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee.” A custom is something one does religiously and without failure. What was Paul’s custom while establishing the early Christian Church? Notice in the following verse that this is a JEWISH synagogue and that Jews have all through history, without change, worshipped on Saturday as they still do today. Acts 17:2 “…they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As his CUSTOM was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” Paul’s custom and example to the early Church was to always worship on the Seventh day Sabbath. It was also the CUSTOM of Jesus and if it were not then Jesus would have been guilty of breaking the fourth Commandment which would have been sin, and He could not have died on the cross for us as a sinner. Luke 4:16 “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”
Some still exhort that the Sabbath ended at the cross (none of the Ten Commandments would as love is eternal) and so Jesus is not a valid example, but as we have seen, Paul kept it after the cross and it was His example to the New Testament Church. Despite all the proof that the Sabbath was made for all man for all time, some still say, “but it was only the Jews that kept the Sabbath”, but still even more scriptures prove otherwise. You will note that in both the following scriptures that these are Jewish synagogues but the Gentiles are keeping the Seventh day Sabbath as the example Paul set for them and there is also no clash between the Jews and Gentiles in regards to the day.
Acts 13:42-43 “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.” And Acts 18:4 “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.”
We have already seen that Paul and the Apostles undoubtedly kept the Seventh Day Sabbath but some ask is there any specific reference to keeping the Sabbath after the cross, and the answer is yes. Here are three indisputable proofs. In reference to the future destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Jesus states in Matthew 24:20, “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.” Why would Jesus say pray that you don’t have to flee on the Sabbath day if we are not keeping the Sabbath anymore? There is NO way Jesus would say this unless the Sabbath was still going to be kept subsequent to His death. This is solid proof on its own that the Sabbath existed after the cross. The gospel of Luke states in Luke 23:56 that when the body of Christ was being prepared by His followers, “they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the Commandment.” Luke’s gospel was written 30 to 50 years after the cross and there is no way he would make a statement like this without telling us of a change on something as important as the Ten Commandments. This would have been the perfect opportunity for Luke to say something like, “they rested on the Sabbath day that ended at the cross” or “they rested on the Old Sabbath day, which is now the first day of the week”, but Luke still clearly states “they rested on the Sabbath according to the Commandment” which directly implies it was still the Commandment at this future time and again matches the statement of Jesus and Paul’s example and that all the law is eternal. Read Sabbath in the New Covenant for comprehensive detail. Isaiah also prophesied in Isaiah 66:22-23 that, “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make … and from one Sabbath to another, shall ALL flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.” Here is the Sabbath in the future. But there is still even more proof in Hebrews 4:8-11 that shows directly that the Sabbath does remain a Christian Holy Day.
While an extremely clear directive is given for Sabbath keeping in Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15, the next closest passage to a command for Sabbath-keeping in the New Testament is found in Hebrews 4:9. In this verse we find the Greek word “sabbatismos.” The King James and New King James Version and a few other Bibles render the word as “rest” while the Amplified Bible the ASV, NASB, NIV, RSV and NRSV and several other translations somewhat more correctly render that word as “Sabbath rest.” A few Bibles such as the Darby translation transliterate the word as “Sabbatism.” Its literal translation however, is “Sabbath observance” and “The Scriptures” translated by The Institute for Scripture Research render it as such while the Thayer dictionary and the Bible in Basic English give the equally literal phrase “Sabbath keeping.” In regard to taking “Sabbatismos” literally, Professor Andrew T. Lincoln, on page 213 in his symposium From Sabbath To The Lord’s Day states, “The use of sabbatismos elsewhere in extant Greek literature gives an indication of its more exact shade of meaning. It is used in Plutarch, De Superstitione 3 (Moralia166A) of Sabbath observance. There are also four occurrences in post canonical literature that are independent of Hebrews 4:9. They are Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 23:3; Epiphanius, Adversus Haereses 30:2:2; Martyrium Petri et Pauli 1; Apostolic Constitutions 2:36:2. In each of these places the term denotes the observance or celebration of the Sabbath. This usage corresponds to the Septuagint usage of the cognate verb sabbatizo (cf. Exodus 16:30; Leviticus. 23:32; 26:34; 2 Chronicles. 36:21). Thus the writer to the Hebrews is saying that since the time of Joshua an observance of the Sabbath rest has been outstanding.” The literal translation then of Hebrews 4:9 is, “Therefore a Sabbath observance has been left behind for the people of God.” The internal evidence of the preceding verses would also indicate that the Sabbath observance mentioned in this verse has to be the Seventh day Sabbath and not Sunday, which was officially named the Lord’s Day in the fourth century. In verse 8, the author of Hebrews states, “For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not afterward have spoken of another day.” On first glance in our English translations, the word “another” might give the appearance of a different day. However, in the Greek, there are two words for “another.” “Heteros” means “another of a different kind”, while “allos” means “another of the same kind.” The word used in Hebrews 4:8 is “allos”, indicating a Sabbath day of the same kind as referred to in Hebrews 4:5-8, that is, the seventh-day Sabbath. In verse 7, the author of Hebrews uses the term “certain day.” The Greek word for “certain” is “tis.” It is undoubtedly referencing a specific day and not the general thought of an eternal rest. The force of Hebrews 3:11-4:11 then must be saying that because Christians look toward the eternal rest of heaven, the type or shadow of the earthly Sabbath rest still remains or is “left behind”, literally for Christians to observe. This is very significant in light of the greater context of the book of Hebrews which deals with the entire Aaronic priesthood and its methods of worship as found in the Old Covenant being supplanted by the Melchizedek priesthood of Jesus Christ. As the author states in Hebrews 12:27, “And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things which have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain.”
So the Sabbath was kept by Adam and Eve. It was kept by Abraham, it was kept in the exodus from Egypt before God’s Ten Commandments were given when God tested to see if His children (Jews did not exist yet) would keep all the Ten Commandments by seeing if they would keep THE Seventh day as per the Commandment. It was kept by Jesus, it was kept by Paul, it was kept by the Apostles, it was kept by the early Church by both Jews and Gentiles and this is also verified by Jesus who showed it still kept in 70 A.D. when the temple was destroyed. Reliable unbiased history sources show that it was still being kept till 90-120 A.D. when some Christians first changed to Sunday saying it was in honour of the resurrection, to avoid persecution for Judaism. History shows the official day change began with Constantine in 321 A.D. in favour of Sun worship and was finalized by the Papacy in 363-364 A.D. The Sabbath was almost murdered out of existence through the dark ages when the Catholic Church ruled as Church and state for those terrible 1260 dark years. Revelation 12:17 speaks of a remnant of God’s original Church that would then arise, which Satan would hate and make war with because it would keep all of the Ten Commandments of God once again. And finally, God showed Isaiah that we will still be keeping the Sabbath in the new Heaven and the New Earth. (Isaiah 66:22-23) Here is the Sabbath being kept from creation and throughout all eternity and of course that includes now!