The Counterfeit : When is the Sabbath Day?
In Exodus 20:8-11, the Bible clearly states that “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” So, why do so many rest and worship on a different day of the week? When is the Sabbath? Saturday or Sunday? Could it be that the Christian Church has allowed man’s tradition to overshadow God’s way? Finally, why does it matter which day is the true day of worship and which is the counterfeit sabbath?
The “first day,” or Sunday, is only mentioned eight times in the New Testament. Some of these verses describe how women returned to Jesus’ tomb on Sunday to finish preparing the body of Christ (Mark 16:1-2, Mark 16:9, Matthew 28:1, Luke 24:1, John 20:1). Jesus was crucified on Friday, called the “preparation day,” because they were to prepare for God’s holy Sabbath day, Saturday. Jesus then rested in the tomb on Sabbath, the “seventh day” of the week, and rose on Sunday, the “first day” of the week.
If we look at other verses mentioning the “first day” in the New Testament, we see no hint of change.
Many Christians read in Luke 4:16 that Jesus, “as His custom was,” went to church on the Sabbath. Christ said in Matthew 24:20 that His disciples would be keeping the seventh-day Sabbath 40 years after the cross. So, Jesus didn’t change the Sabbath! The Bible promises in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
God did not change the Sabbath, Jesus would not change the Sabbath, and the disciples could not change the Sabbath! (Acts 5:29)
We can look to Bible prophecy to see how God’s Sabbath could have been changed to a counterfeit. In Daniel 7:2-3, Daniel saw four great beasts come up from the sea. Daniel describes the beasts as a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a beast with ten horns. Verse 17 states that the beasts represent four kings, or kingdoms.
Most Bible scholars agree that the fourth beast represents the Roman Empire. Daniel 7:8 says “I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them . . . ” This little horn comes up among the first ten horns, after the fall of Rome.
Daniel 7:25 predicts, “He [the little horn] shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and laws . . .”
The Bible tells us that Sunday’s sacredness comes from the tradition of men, changed from the law of God. It is Jesus Himself in Matthew 15:3-9 who says “in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
God says the Sabbath is a great sign. (Ezekiel 20:12; Exodus 31:16) It’s a sign of our loyalty to Christ. It is a sign that we can rest in the completed work of salvation through Christ. The Bible Sabbath matters so much to God that He wrote it in stone!
Are you willing to follow wherever Jesus leads? The road may be narrow, but the way of Jesus leads to the tree of life in the city of God.
Have questions? Need prayer? Visit us at awr.org/bible