Central Highlands Congregation of God
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“Come to Me, all you who labour and carry burdens, and I will give you rest. Take on My yoke and learn from Me, because I am peaceful and humble in My heart, and you will find peace for your souls. For My yoke is pleasant and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28 to 30
“If you turn your foot away from the Sabbath, from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, sacred to Jehovah, glorious; and have glorified it, not doing your own ways and not doing your own pleasures, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in Jehovah; and I will ride with you on the heights of the earth, and you shall eat from the inheritance of your father Jacob. For the mouth of Jehovah has spoken.” Isaiah 58:13 and 14
Many Christians regard the Ten Commandments as God’s spiritual ruler. As we will see, God’s Sabbath is deeply embedded in the Ten Commandments, which show us how we measure up spiritually against the basic points of God’s Law. They can reveal areas in our lives where we need God’s help.
The Ten Commandments, part of God’s Instructions, are based on the two great principles that Jesus (Jeshua) states in the book of Matthew, chapter 22, verses 37 to 40:
Jeshua said to him, “‘You shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’
On these two commandments hang the Instructions and the Prophets.”
The first four of the Ten Commandments show us the basis for establishing a loving relationship with God, which includes His Sabbaths (See Exodus chapter 20, verses 1 to 11 below). The fifth commandment involves our relationship with our parents and also with God as our ultimate parent (ie-family: Exodus 20:12). The final five commandments provide the basis for building good relationships with our neighbours (Exodus 20:13 to 17).
And God spoke all these words, saying:
1 I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2 You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, Jehovah your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
3 You shall not lift up the Name of Jehovah your God in a worthless way, for Jehovah will not leave anyone who lifts up His Name in a worthless way unpunished.
4 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Jehovah 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 Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.
Therefore Jehovah blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
5 Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which Jehovah your God is giving you.
6 You shall not murder.
7 You shall not commit adultery.
8 You shall not steal.
9 You shall not testify a false witness against your neighbour.
10 You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour’s.
Exodus 20:1 to 17
God commands everyone to keep these Instructions, which He literally calls His Ten Words. 1 If we love God, we will honour only Him as God, we will know that there is nothing we can make that even begins to represent Him, we will do and say nothing that will detract from Him and we will honour and keep His Sabbaths because He made them Holy and He told us to observe them. If we love God and our physical parents we will treat them with honour and respect. If we love our neighbours we will not murder them, commit adultery with their spouses, steal from them or lie about them. The tenth commandment takes it even farther: we are to even control our thoughts about our neighbours, as inappropriate desire is the beginning of all these sins against them. Jeshua says God wants even more than this from His followers who are given God’s Spirit under the New Covenant, as he shows in Matthew 5:21 to 7:29.
Yet there are some who teach that we do not need to obey even the Ten Commandments. They say that they do not apply to Christians, thus destroying the basis of God’s Instructions. Usually it is the Sabbath commandment that they reject first.
But Jeshua the Anointed says we cannot refuse to keep God’s Laws and still claim to follow God:
“Do not think that I have come to remove the Instructions or the Prophets. I did not come to remove but to fulfill.
Truly, I say to you, that until heaven and earth pass away, not even one yohd or one stroke will pass from the Instructions until everything has happened.
Therefore everyone who removes even the smallest of these commandments, and teaches this to the children of men, will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But everyone who will do and will teach them, that one will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
For I say to you, that unless your righteousness becomes greater than that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Matthew 5:17 to 20
These false teachers claim that the Sabbath was only a temporary ritual, or that it has been changed. We will examine the meaning and history of the Sabbath and show that Scripture reveals many reasons why the Sabbath was and still is an important part of Christian worship and has not been changed or removed.
God’s Second Commandment forbids us to make images and worship them. Instead of idols, God gave us a form of worship that is locked into time. God’s Sabbaths give us a deeper understanding of His mastery over time and matter and open up insights into His plan of salvation.
The first function of the weekly Sabbath is to identify God as Creator. It also stands as a testimony to the method and timetable God used while creating.
Genesis chapter one gives Jehovah God’s account of how He created the heavens and the earth and all the living creatures on earth. Most of chapter 2 gives a detailed look at mankind’s creation and purpose.
God clearly states that in six days He brought the entire physical universe into existence and filled the earth with living creatures of every imaginable kind. It is a feat for which God surely deserves praise. He also created our original parents on the sixth day of that week and put them in charge of caring for His Paradise. For that, too, God deserves our worship.
God made, blessed and sanctified the Sabbath Day on the seventh day of Creation Week, right at the beginning of the physical universe (Genesis 2:3). As Adam and Eve initially had a good relationship with God, we can be sure that they observed His Sabbath and rested with Him. And as death and sin had not yet entered the world, their Sabbaths and worship did not involve ritual sacrifices of animals.
The fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8 to 11) makes it clear that God intends the Sabbath to be both a day of rest from our labours and a day devoted to worshipping Him as our creator and getting to know Him. And if you think that the seventh day rest of Creation Week was not when God began the Sabbath, Hebrews 4:4 tells us: “For He spoke this about the Sabbath: 2 “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.”.”
In Genesis 26:5 God tells us that “Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” There is no reason to doubt that the Sabbath was part of the system of Instructions that God revealed to Abraham.
Psalm 81:4-5 suggests that Joseph already kept God’s Holy Days when he was in Egypt.
Despite these references, some people claim that the Sabbath was first given to man at Mt. Sinai. Reading Exodus shows that God used the manna to confirm the Sabbath on the way to Mt. Sinai, before the Sinai covenants were made. In Exodus 16:28 God asks the Israelites “how long will you refuse to keep My laws and commandments?” This is a very strange question if He had only just given them His Sabbath Commandment. 3 Furthermore, in the Ten Commandments He tells us to “Remember the Sabbath day.”
Why would God allow man to trample His sacred Sabbath for thousands of years, and not make the holy day known to them? Would God show Noah which animals were clean and unclean and yet not mention His Sabbath? Would God teach Abel how to sacrifice to Him after the Fall (Gen 4:4), and not teach him to respect the Sabbath which He had already made holy?
Careful study of the Scriptures given before Mt. Sinai, when God personally spoke these Words and then engraved the Ten Commandments into stone, shows these commandments have been the foundation of God’s Instructions ever since Adam and Eve sinned. We know this because sin could not be counted without instructions (Romans 5:12 to 14). God would not include a temporary ritual in the very heart of His Commandments. Nor would God make a separate covenant specifically for His Sabbaths and make breaking the Sabbath a sin punished by death if it was a minor issue (Exodus 31:12 to 17, examined in more detail later in this article). The manna was used to graphically remind the Israelites of His Sabbath in a way that they could not ignore and which God repeated for them every single week for forty years. It was not a strange new imposition on their freedom, but instead an act of love from God.
The command to keep God’s Sabbath is also included in the Greek Scriptures, but has been mistranslated in most English translations. Hebrews 4:9 literally says: “Therefore there remains a keeping of Sabbaths for the people of God.” The Greek word used in this passage is sabbatismos which means ‘a keeping of sabbaths’. The Aramaic is even more direct: “Therefore, it remains for the people of God to keep the Sabbaths. 4 This verse completes the restatement of all of the Ten Commandments in the New Covenant.
The book of Hebrews was written years after the resurrection of Christ and confirms that the Christian church was still keeping the Sabbath. This belief is supported by the writings of several very early ‘church fathers’ and by the total lack of any dispute about Sabbath-keeping in the Scriptures. The Scriptures do report a very heated argument about the relatively minor issue of circumcision. Any changes to God’s Sabbaths, being part of God’s Ten Commandments, would have led to far more controversy than circumcision. (However, this dispute did finally happen, but many decades later as most of the church was sliding deeply into paganism.)
So He (Jeshua) 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 to read.
Jeshua the Anointed had no doubts about whether the Sabbath should be kept. He loved God and always honoured His Father’s Day of Rest. It was his custom to do so. Shouldn’t we also honour God by keeping His Sabbath just as Jeshua did (Matthew 16:24 and 1 Peter 2:21)?
Despite the clear scripture quoted above, some people say John 5:18 shows that Jeshua broke the Sabbath. Comparing John 5:18 with Luke 6:1-11 shows that His offence was to the Pharisees’ laws, not His Father’s Instructions. That Jeshua objected to the restrictive Sabbath practices of the Pharisees (the founders of Judaism) is beyond doubt. Jeshua kept the Sabbath in accordance with God’s teachings, as this example shows:
At that time Jeshua was walking through the fields on the Sabbath. And His disciples became hungry, and began to pick grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw them, they said to Him, “Behold, your disciples are doing something not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” 5
Then He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those with him? How he went into the House of God and he ate the bread from Lord Jah’s table, 6 which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 7
“Or have you not read in the Instructions that on the Sabbaths the priests in the Palace disregard the Sabbath, and they are blameless? 8
“But I say to you that there is One greater than the Palace here. But if you had only known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned those who are blameless. 9
“For the Son of Mankind is the Lord of the Sabbath.” 10
Now departing from there, Jeshua came into their synagogue. And behold, there was a certain man there whose hand was withered. And they asked Him, saying, “Do the Instructions allow healing on the Sabbaths?”; that they might accuse Him.
Then He said to them, “Who is there among you who has a certain sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath day, will not grab it and lift it out? Now, how much more important is a person than a sheep? Therefore the Instructions are to do good on the Sabbaths.”
Then He said to that man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored like the other.
Matthew 12:1 to 13
These passages reveal the vast difference between keeping God’s Instructions and the Pharisees’ laws. The Pharisees made their restrictions the main part of the Sabbath. They had enormous lists of what could not be done on the Sabbath, even to the point of denying hungry men food and refusing healing for the sick.
Jeshua, however, accepted that there could be times when simple food preparation might be necessary on the Sabbath. And He certainly demonstrated that the Sabbath was an ideal time to heal the sick. We should follow His example and be willing to heal and care for the sick on the Sabbath. Indeed, Jeshua also shows that the Sabbath is a suitable time for spiritual healing and liberation when He frees a woman from Satanic bondage in Luke 13:16.
There is something else which should be emphasized in Matthew 12:8. Jeshua not only kept the Sabbath, but He is the Lord of the Sabbath. That is, the Sabbath belongs not just to Jeshua’ Father, but also to Him. How can we dare to trample on Jeshua’s Sabbath if He is truly our Lord?
As 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, Jeshua is He who knew no sin. If He sinned, even once, He would have died for His own sin, not ours. As sin is the breaking of God’s Laws, and the Sabbath is part of God’s Instructions, Jeshua could not have broken the Sabbath. (See I John 3:4 & 5. The entire third chapter is very challenging and inspiring reading.)
Applying these principles to ourselves, it is obvious that food preparation and housework should be done before the Sabbath. If that has not been possible, such work should be kept to the minimum that makes Sabbath rest and fellowship possible and enjoyable.
We should also avoid shopping on the Sabbath, and thus encourage shopkeepers to close their doors and enjoy God’s rest for themselves and their staff on the Sabbath too.
People involved in essential or emergency services such as hospitals, ambulances, fire and police may be required to work on the Sabbath. As their work involves serving others whose needs require immediate attention, they are observing an essential part of the Sabbath. However, we suggest that they inform their employers of their desire to keep a Sabbath rest. Try to be rostered off on the Sabbath whenever possible so you will be free to enter fully into God’s Rest. Those working in non-essential services must decide whether they will keep God’s Sabbaths or profane them.
Some say that the Sabbath was given to the children of Israel and to them alone. Indeed, the following passage clearly identifies the Israelites as God’s chosen nation during Moses’ life. It also reminds us that the Sabbath identifies God as the Creator of all, including us:
And you, speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely you shall keep My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, so you know that I am Jehovah who sanctifies you.’
‘And you shall keep the Sabbath, for it is holy to you. The one who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for every one who does work on it, that soul shall be cut off from the midst of his people.’
‘Work shall be done for six days, and on the seventh day is the Sabbath rest, holy to Jehovah. Everyone working on the Sabbath day shall surely be put to death.’
‘And 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 Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’ Exodus 31:13-17
This passage clearly shows that the Sabbath is not a temporary instruction of minor importance, but is an everlasting Law of such importance that disobedience will lead to certain death. Indeed, God says above that the Sabbath is so special that He makes it an unending covenant between us and Him.
Isaiah states that the Sabbath is for everyone who wishes to join themselves to the Lord Jehovah. It is not restricted to the physical Israelites. This is what God says:
Thus says Jehovah: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is coming near, and My righteousness is to be revealed.
Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds on to it; keeping from defiling the Sabbath, and keeping his hand from doing every evil.
Do not let the foreigner’s son who joins himself to Jehovah speak, saying, “Surely Jehovah has separated me from His people.” and do not let the eunuch say, “Behold! I am a dried-up tree.”
For thus says Jehovah: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose things I am pleased with, and take hold of My covenant, I will even give to them in My house and within My walls a hand and a name better than that of sons and daughters; an everlasting name I will give them that shall not be cut off.
“And the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to Jehovah, to serve Him, and to love the name of Jehovah, to become His servants; everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and takes hold of My covenant; even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:1-7
The covenant that Jehovah refers to in this passage is actually the New Covenant, as indicated by verse 1, which says His salvation is yet to come. This is proved by the promise of everlasting life in verse 5. Everlasting life was not promised under the old covenant. It only promised physical blessings and a long life on earth (See Exodus 20:12, Exodus 23:20-33 and Leviticus 26).
In Mark 2:27 Jeshua does not say that the Sabbath was made solely for the Jews. Instead, he says that the Sabbath was made for man. God’s Sabbath is given to all of humanity.
In addition to this, Genesis shows that the children of Israel are also the children (seed) of Abraham. Galatians 3:29 says if we are Christ’s, then we are Abraham’s seed too. Romans 11:15 to 20 reminds us that we have been ‘grafted’ into Israel. This makes every Christian a ‘child’ of Israel. Remember: keeping God’s Sabbaths is a sign of everlasting fellowship between us and Jehovah God.
In Leviticus 23:3 God says:
Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of sacred rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of Jehovah in all your dwellings.
A convocation is a special assembly. The Sabbath is a holy convocation, an assembly called by God so we can fellowship with Him. The Sabbath is intended to be a time when Christians can gather together to study God’s Word, to pray together and to sing praises to God together. Paul reminds us (the ecclesia - the called-out ones) not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). 11
The restriction against working on the Sabbath was specifically given to free us from our normal duties and responsibilities so we can have time to devote to worshipping God and to be with others who share our belief in the One True God. The Sabbath was not given to us to be a burden, but to be a time of liberation and refreshment. God says:
“If you turn your foot away from the Sabbath, from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, sacred to Jehovah, glorious; and have glorified it, not doing your own ways and not doing your own pleasures, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in Jehovah; and I will ride with you on the heights of the earth, and you shall eat from the inheritance of your father Jacob. For the mouth of Jehovah has spoken.” Isaiah 58:13 and 14
The Sabbath is also a day for compassion and equality. God insists that the benefits of the Sabbath are to be extended to all, even to one’s animals. All, including Gentiles, are to freely share in God’s day of rest:
Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as Jehovah your God commanded you.
Six days you shall labour and do all your work, and the seventh day is a Sabbath of Jehovah your God.
You shall not do any work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your foreigner who is within your gates, so your male servant and your female servant may rest as you do.
And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Jehovah your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm. Therefore Jehovah your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. Deuteronomy 5:12 to 15
Indeed, this passage also reveals another reason for the joy the Sabbath brings us. It reminds us of how the Israelites were freed from slavery to Egypt, and figuratively, how each of us was set free from slavery to sin by the actions of Jeshua the Messiah. Now we can rest from our ceaseless, and fruitless, efforts to earn our own salvation and revel in our new-found freedom through our Anointed.
The Sabbath is also a blessing to busy modern families. It is one day where they can set aside their various work obligations and spend the day together, worshipping God and enjoying His Creation.
We do not believe that anyone can be saved by keeping the Sabbath and all of the other Ten Commandments. None of us have been able to keep them faultlessly! As Romans 3:23 states: “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Even when we begin keeping the Sabbath, it does not undo our previous sins of Sabbath-breaking. Only Jeshua can provide us with the salvation we need.
We have, however, tried to make it clear that breaking the Sabbath is a serious sin 12 that damages our relationship with God. As one of the Ten Commandments, it is as serious as profaning God’s Name, worshipping idols and murder. Sabbath-breaking, like all other sins, must be repented of. Repentance means to acknowledge that we have sinned, and to desire with all our being to turn away from our sins and our sinful nature (Acts 2:37 to 40). It is then that God will pardon us by gracefully crediting Jeshua’s sacrifice to our account if we accept that Jeshua’s death has indeed paid for our sins. As Paul puts it:
But we know that all the things the Instructions say, they say to those who are in the Instructions, that every mouth may be shut, and the entire universe may be guilty before God. Because by the works of the Instructions no flesh will be justified before Him, for through the Instructions sin is made known. 13
But now the righteousness of God is revealed apart from the Instructions, and the Instructions and the Prophets are testifying to this, for the righteousness of God is through the faith of Jeshua the Anointed to everyone and upon everyone who believes in Him. For there is no difference; because they have all sinned and they were deprived of the glory of God, but they are freely justified by grace and the redemption which exists in the Anointed Jeshua.
God chose this One beforehand as the Atonement through faith in His blood, because of our sins which we have already sinned, 14 to display His righteousness at the present time, for He is being just and the justifier of the one who has the faith of our Lord Jeshua the Anointed.
Therefore, where is the boasting? It is eliminated by Him. By what Instructions? Of works? No, but through the Instructions of Faith.
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith and not by the works of the Instructions. Or is He the God of the Judeans only and not of the gentiles? Yes, of the gentiles also, since there is one God who justifies the circumcised by faith and also the uncircumcised by faith.
Therefore, are we eliminating the Instructions by faith? Certainly not! Instead, we are establishing the Instructions.
Then what shall we say? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
It cannot be so! For those of us who died to sin, how shall we live in it again? Or do you not know that all of us who were immersed into the Anointed Jeshua were immersed into His death? We were buried with Him through immersion into death, and as Jeshua our Messiah rose from the house of the dead through the glory of His Father, so we also shall walk in new life.
For if we have been planted with Him in the likeness of His death, in this way we shall also be in His resurrection, for we know that our old person was impaled with Him, that the body of sin will be destroyed, so we shall not serve sin again. Romans 6:1 to 6
For the Instructions of the Spirit of Life in the Messiah Jeshua has freed you from the instructions of sin and of death.
For the Instructions were weak because of the infirmity of the flesh. God sent His Son in the form of sinful flesh, because of sin, to condemn sin in His flesh, that the righteousness of the Instructions would be fulfilled in us, that we would not walk in the flesh but in the Spirit.
For those who are in the flesh are governed by that flesh and those who are of the Spirit are governed by that Spirit.
For the mind of the flesh is death, and the mind of the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind of the flesh is enmity towards God; for it is not subject to the Instructions of God, for that is impossible. Romans 8:2 to 7
Indeed, we are free! Free from the law of sin and death, free from Satan’s deceptions and free from the complex rituals of Judaism. But let us not despise God’s Sabbaths, ignore His Instructions and continue to walk in sin, lest these words of the Messiah are one day spoken to us:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘My Lord, My Lord.’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘My Lord, My Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name? And we have cast out demons in Your name, and we have performed many miracles in Your name.’
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I have not known you from the beginning of time; remove yourselves far from Me, you workers of evil!’” Matthew 7:21 to 23
The Sabbath has two time applications. One application reminds us of the Creation Week, helping us remember that God is our Creator on whom we are totally dependent. The other application reveals to us a fascinating aspect of God’s plan of salvation. As Second Peter 3:8 tells us, with the Lord a day is as a thousand years. This passage explains why the Millennium 15 is a thousand years long. Satan is being allowed to work for six days, each ‘day’ a thousand years long. His ‘guidance’ of mankind will bring life on earth to the brink of extinction. At this point the direct intervention of Jeshua will be necessary to prevent the earth from becoming a lifeless wasteland. Satan shall be bound and forced to keep a thousand year Sabbath rest. Mankind will be freed from Satan’s destructive influence. Under the guidance of Jeshua and His resurrected and transformed disciples, the earth shall be remade into a paradise (Matthew 24:22, Hebrews 4:1-10, Revelation 19:11 to 20:6, Ezekiel 47, Amos 9:11-15).
God’s Word shows that His Sabbaths shall be kept during the Millennium, as Ezekiel 45:17 and Isaiah 66:23 tell us. If they have ceased and are no longer relevant, why will they be observed during the millennium under the Messiah’s guidance?
Incidently, Hebrews 4:9 can also be applied to the Millennium, as it is the Sabbath ‘day’ of God’s seven thousand year plan of salvation.
Some critics claim that we can not know which day of the week is the Biblical Sabbath.
In reality, there are several methods of determining which day of the week is the Sabbath.
The simplest method is to look at a calendar. A standard calendar has Sunday as the first day of the week and Saturday as the seventh day. 16 This sequence has remained unchanged since the time of Christ. Even Pope Gregory’s changes to the calendar did not alter this sequence. When he corrected the Julian Calendar, to bring it back into line with the seasons, he arranged the calendar so the day after Thursday, Oct. 4, 1582 was Friday, Oct. 15, 1582. He only changed the calendar date. The days of the week continued unchanged.
Another way of determining the Sabbath day is to see which day the Jews keep. It is certain that the Jews have known the correct Sabbath day ever since God confirmed the Sabbath with manna in the Sinai Desert.
The third method involves the resurrection of Jeshua the Anointed. Matthew 28:1 says in part; “Now the Sabbaths had drawn to a close, 17 and as dawn was beginning on the first day of the Weeks, 18 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb”. It is acknowledged by all Christian denominations that they came to the tomb on Sunday morning. As Sunday is the first day of the week it is obvious that the seventh day is Saturday.
The Sabbath, like all days in God’s Calendar, goes from dusk to dusk. See Leviticus 23:32 and Genesis 1:19 to confirm this. Thus the Sabbath begins at dusk Friday evening and finishes at dusk Saturday evening. Even Joshua’s long day (Joshua chapter 10) only counts as a single day and does not disrupt this sequence.
There is one complication to the above. The Sabbath begins at dusk on Friday and finishes at dusk on Saturday in countries west of Israel and east of the International Date Line. Due to man’s incorrect placement of the Date Line, the Sabbath begins at dusk on Saturday and finishes at dusk on Sunday in countries east of Israel and west of the International Date Line. (This means that the Sabbath begins in Israel -where the Date Line should be- and follows dusk westward around the world from there. What people call Sunday in the regions east of Israel is, for most of the day, actually the seventh day Sabbath.) Please read http://www.chcpublications.net/idlmark.htm (The International Date Line and God’s Sabbaths) for more information on this. The date line problem means that the Annual Sabbaths (Holy Days) are also observed a day later in countries east of Israel and west of the International Date Line.
Some opponents of the seventh-day Sabbath claim that the requirements of the Biblical Sabbath have been transferred to Sunday. Attempts have been made to support this position with scripture. They say some scriptures show that the apostles met regularly on the first day of the week. Let us examine these claims:
One passage used to support a Sunday ‘Sabbath’ is Acts 20:7, which literally begins with “on the first day of the week”. 19 As shown above, the Biblical “days” begin (and finish) at dusk. Thus the first of the week actually begins at dusk on Saturday. If we assume that they met together on the Sabbath for worship, as other scriptures reveal them doing, Luke is saying is that during the evening after their public Sabbath meeting they went to a disciple’s home to take the Eucharist (Thanksgiving) together (as in Acts 2:46). After dinner Paul spoke to them as this was his last opportunity before he left the next morning (ie-the daylight part of that same Biblical day). The address had to be given Saturday night, not Sunday evening as that would be the second “day” of the week. So instead of having Sunday morning ‘Sabbath’ services, Paul would be doing normal work on Sunday (travelling). This verse not only gives no support to a Sunday Sabbath, it denies it. It does, however, show that it is good to study the Bible and praise God on every day of the week. Daniel, is recorded in Daniel 6:10 as praying to God three times every day, even under threat of death.
Another misunderstood passage is 1 Corinthians 16:2. When translated accurately from the Greek manuscripts it says “On the first of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no contributions when I come.” The Aramaic is even clearer: “On every first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside in his house, storing up what comes to his hand, that there be no collections when I come.” They claim this is equivalent to Paul saying ‘Take something to church every Sunday’. However, church is not even mentioned in this passage. He is simply asking everyone to set something aside, in their own homes, at the beginning of each week’s work, thus providing for the needy first, then going on to provide for themselves the rest of the week. When Paul actually came there would be no need to ask everyone to find some essentials to give as it would already be set aside and stored at home, ready to send to the needy brethren in Jerusalem.
A common argument is that because Jeshua rose on Sunday, Sunday has become the Christian Sabbath. However, that particular Sunday was already a special day on God’s calendar. It did not have to be made into the Sabbath to be a special day. It was the Wave Offering, also called the Feast of First-fruit (Leviticus 23:9-12).
The Wave Offering was fulfilled in type by the Israelites around 1500 B.C. (Joshua 5:10-12). It always falls on the Sunday during the Week of Unleavened Bread. The true fulfilment was Jeshua, the first-fruit from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).
Furthermore, the Bible says that Jeshua had already risen before dawn on Sunday (John 20:1). Jeshua actually rose from the dead at dusk the previous evening, as explained in our article God’s Calendar and the Sign of Jonah (www.chcpublications.net/GodCal-SgnJnh.htm). There is no scriptural support for Easter Sunday Sunrise worship (Ezekiel 8:15-18). 20
The resurrection argument also applies to the Sunday the disciples received the Baptism (Immersion) in the Holy Spirit. Again, this day was already a special day on God’s Holy Days calendar. The events that happened on this day were the true fulfilment of the Day of Pentecost.
Pentecost (Greek for fiftieth), also called the Feast of Weeks and Feast of First-Fruits, is kept fifty days after the First-fruit Wave Offering (Leviticus 23:15-22). The First-fruit is counted as the first day, so Pentecost also falls on a Sunday. On Pentecost two loaves of wheaten bread are waved instead of the single sheaf of barley waved on the Wave Offering, thus speaking of a larger harvest (Acts 2).
Both of these days were kept long before the crucifixion. They were never ordained by God as a substitute for His weekly Sabbath. There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that God has ever changed this system. The Bible shows that the disciples continued to keep these Holy Days after Jeshua’s resurrection, though now they understood how they applied to Jeshua and His church (See Acts 20:16, 1 Corinthians 16:8).
It is also claimed that the Lord’s Day mentioned in Rev. 1:10 refers to Sunday. There is absolutely nothing in this passage to tell us which day of the week John is referring to. In fact, it probably refers to “The Day of the Lord”, ie- the time of Christ’s Return (Acts 2:20, 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and 2 Peter 3:10).
If “the Lord’s Day” in Revelation refers to a weekday, consider Matthew 12:8 and Mark 2:28 where Jeshua tells us that He is “Lord of the Sabbath”. This makes His Day the Sabbath. There is no reference to any other day being specifically named as His day. As “God...created all things through Jeshua the Anointed” (Ephesians 3:9) we must accept that Jeshua had a part in sanctifying the Sabbath of Creation Week and that He rested on it with His Father.
Others claim that the New Testament says that keeping the Sabbath (on any day) is no longer required. We will look at the scriptures they use to support their case and see if this position is valid:
Romans 14, read in context, does not teach that keeping the Sabbath is a ‘doubtful thing’, as some suggest. The Sabbath is expressly commanded by God. Romans 14 was written to chastise the Roman Christians for arguing over diet and fasting on Sabbaths, including annual Holy Days. It does teach that what we do or do not eat on the Sabbath (or any other day) is a personal decision. We should not judge one another on this. We must remember that scripture clearly teaches that we cannot alter God’s express commandments to suit ourselves, and the Sabbath is such an express commandment. Altering it is rebellion (sin), not obedience.
If Paul had ever suggested that the Sabbath was no longer important, the pages of scripture would be full of accounts of his confrontations with the Sabbath-keeping Jews on this issue. There is a complete lack of such accounts.
As we shall show, Paul not only observed the Sabbath, but taught that the Gentile Christians should observe it too.
The NKJV claims that Colossians 2:14 says ‘Christ blotted out the handwriting of ordinances, ...nailing it to his cross.’ This is interpreted by some to mean that God’s Instructions have been done away with. An accurate translation of verses 13 to 17 tells us something very different:
And you, being dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has made alive together with him, having forgiven all our trespasses, having wiped out the list of our debts to the decrees which were against us, and he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Having stripped principalities and powers, he made a public spectacle of it, having triumphed over them.
Therefore do not let anyone judge you in eating and drinking or in details of a feast or of a new moon or of the Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body of Christ.
Paul was really saying that our sins against the decrees (instructions) of God were removed by the cross, not the decrees themselves. And he tells us that only the ‘body of Christ’ can judge us in Sabbaths, feasts, etc. The ‘body of Christ’ is the group of believers who “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jeshua.” (Revelation 14:12).
The word ‘is’ in the last phrase and the punctuation of the King James version have been added during translation and drastically alter the literal meaning of the Greek.
Note that the “Sabbaths are a shadow of things to come”, ie- they give us confidence in what God has planned for us and a taste of the joy and peace that will be ours when we finally live in His Kingdom.
The Aramaic Peshitta confirms the above translation in all respects.
This passage is often used to do away with all of God’s Holy Days by claiming that Paul taught it was wrong for the gentile converts to keep God’s Sabbaths. However, as Galatians 3:7-9 & 5:2-3 makes clear, this part of Paul’s letter is directed to the ex-pagans in the congregation. 21 He expresses his concern that they are returning to their old pagan holy days. Indeed, the pagan religions of that region had special days, months, seasons and years. None of the terms Paul used specifically refer to any of God’s holy days.
Paul was not telling them to abandon Jehovah God’s Holy Days. This is clarified by verse 12 where Paul tells them to be as he is. We find that he kept the Sabbath (Acts 16:13, 17:2) and the annual Feast Days (Acts 18:21, 20:6). He also taught the Gentiles to keep the Sabbath. This is shown in Acts 13:42-52, where the Gentiles beg Paul to speak to them on the next Sabbath (verse 42). He does not tell them to come back the next day, which is what we would expect if the Sabbath had been done away with, or if the Sabbath had been changed to Sunday.
There are scriptures that tell us there has been a change in covenants, but people have been deceived into believing that the change involves the almost complete destruction of God’s Instructions. Yet Jeshua said in Matthew 5:17-19:
“Do not think that I have come to remove the Instructions 22 or the Prophets. I did not come to remove but to fulfill.
Mat 5:18 “Truly, I say to you, that until heaven and earth pass away, not even one yohd or one stroke will pass from the Instructions until everything has happened. 23
Mat 5:19 “Therefore everyone who removes even the smallest of these commandments and teaches this to the children of men will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But everyone who will do and will teach them, that one will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
As all has not come to pass, for example, the resurrection of the saints and the Millennium, we must accept that the Instructions still stand. And as Jeshua says in Matthew 24:35; “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
Throughout Matthew chapter 5, Jeshua compares the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees with the real intention (spirit) of the Instructions. He is not rewriting the Instructions as many people think, but teaching us how to correctly apply the Instructions in our lives. We must learn to distinguish between God’s eternal Instructions and the laws that were added because of our transgressions against His eternal Instructions (Galatians 3:10, 3:19-25). As an example, sacrifices were not part of the Instructions that God originally gave to the Israelites when He brought them out of Egypt (Jeremiah 7:22-26).
The passage detailing confirmation of an earlier covenant in Hebrews 9:16-22 refers not to Exodus 24, but to Exodus 40:33. The tabernacle did not exist when the ceremony in Exodus 24 took place. This passage in Hebrews refers to the later, additional covenant made at Sinai. It was given to the Israelites after they broke the first simple covenant by worshipping the Golden Calf (Acts 7:36-44). This later covenant set up the Levitical priesthood, with its tabernacle, sacrifices and detailed rituals. All of these things were intended to constantly remind the Israelites of their sinful nature, God’s holy nature, and their need for God’s forgiveness. It was this covenant that was replaced by Jeshua our Messiah (Hebrews 9:1 to 10:25). God’s eternal Instructions have not been destroyed. Instead of removing His Instructions, He writes them into our hearts. (Jeremiah 31:31 to 34; Psalm 40:6-8).
God also distinguished between these two covenants by placing one of them (the Ten Commandments written by God into stone) inside the Ark (Deuteronomy 10:3-5). The second, including the temporary aspects of the covenant - the Book of the Instructions - was written by Moses and placed beside the Ark (Deuteronomy 31:24-26). 24
There is no scriptural support for altering or removing God’s Sabbath. Very few Christians today keep the Sabbath, even though God commands us to do so. How has this situation arisen? Why does popular Christianity keep a Sunday “Sabbath” or none at all? Does it matter?
Pressure to abandon the Sabbath was originally placed on the Christians by the Roman Empire. After its repeated clashes with the Jews, the Romans were antagonistic towards anything that appeared Jewish. As time passed, the Roman church separated herself from her Judaic origins to gain the support of the Empire. Their efforts were rewarded by Constantine, who established their perversion of Christianity as the new state religion. As the Roman church grew more powerful, and increasingly corrupt, she replaced the Sabbath with the ‘Day of the Sun’, which was already a popular day of worship in Rome. She also encouraged the Roman authorities to punish the remaining Sabbath-keepers. Indeed, it is a mystery that she pretends to be Christ’s Bride, when she is in truth an unfaithful whore (Revelations 17:1-9).
These things increased her influence, but also fulfilled Paul’s prophecy, recorded in Acts 20:29-30:
“For I know this, that after I go, powerful wolves will come in among you and they will have no pity on the flock. And some of your own people will rise up, men speaking perversions, to turn the disciples so they come after them.
The Roman church actually openly claims responsibility for changing the Sabbath. Please consider these quotes from Catholic publications:
Q. Which is the Sabbath Day?
A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.
(Pg 50, Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, by Peter Geiermann)
“Sunday is our mark of authority...the church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact.”
The Catholic Record (London, Ont, Canada), 1 Sept, 1923 25
Changing the Sabbath does matter. God gave His prophets Daniel and John visions revealing the forces behind these changes. The imagery of Daniel 7:25 presents us with the “Little Horn”, which symbolizes the man at the head of the Roman church, the Pope. God identifies the “Little Horn” by telling us that he shall intend to change the appointed times 26 and law. Thus his changes to the appointed times and law are important parts of his distinguishing mark. He has attempted to change both the weekly Sabbath and the Annual Sabbaths listed in Leviticus 23. These Sabbaths are part of God’s Law. The Little Horn forced other Christian fellowships to accept his authority and “holy days”. He persecuted and killed those who refused to compromise their faith. The Little Horn has also taught his followers to worship idols, and to bow before and worship the Little Horn himself as God, thus profaning more of God’s Law. The Apostle Peter, whom the pope pretends to represent, would not allow men to bow down and worship him (Acts 10:25-26). The Pope requires men to do so and also allows himself to be called the ‘Holy Father’. In John 17:11 and Matthew 19:17, Jeshua shows us that only God the Father is worthy of that title.
Revelation 13:16, using yet another symbol for this evil force, tells us that this beast’s mark is on one’s hand or forehead. God’s mark (or sign) is also on our hand and between our eyes (forehead) as shown in Deuteronomy 11:18, which clearly identifies God’s Word as His Mark. In both cases the mark on our forehead refers to our understanding and willingness to obey, the mark on our hands to our actions. Exodus 13, verses 9 and 16 tie God’s mark to understanding and keeping the Passover, one of God’s Annual Sabbaths. 27 The Passover reveals the necessity of Jeshua’s sacrifice for sinful mankind (1 Cor. 5:7-8). Indeed, without trusting in the salvation that Jeshua offers us through His faithfulness at Calvary, we cannot be saved from certain destruction (John 3:13 to 21).
Exodus 31:13 says Sabbath-keeping is part of God’s mark or sign. Deuteronomy 6:4 to 8 shows that knowing and keeping God’s Commandments is the essence of God’s mark.
Revelation 14:9-13 presents us with a choice. We can either keep the words of God and the faith of Jeshua (God’s Mark) or receive the mark of the beast and the plagues of Revelation.
Do not let your worship be worthless. Jeshua warns us to beware of false religious teachings. In Matthew 15:8 & 9 He says:
‘These people honour Me with their lips, but their heart is very far from Me. And their reverence of Me is worthless while they teach as teachings the commandments of the descendants of men.’” 28
Some of our Other Resources Available
The Holy Bible CHCoG Version - This translation from the Hebrew and Aramaic is accurate and readable, giving you a clear understanding of God’s message.
Everlasting Life is God’s Gift - Does the Bible teach that you have everlasting life? How can you receive God’s gift of immortality?
Jeshua the Messiah: Is He the Son of God or Part of a Trinity? - Explores the relationships between God the Father, our Lord Jeshua the Messiah, the Holy Spirit and us.
Books of Moses - Fact or Fiction Series - Are the miracles recorded in Genesis and Exodus our true history? Do the facts support Special Creation or the Big Bang & Evolution scenarios? Did the Great Flood and the Exodus happen?
What is God’s Name? - How can we know what God’s Name is and how to Pronounce it? Does the Bible teach us to use God’s Name?
The Ten Commandments - Explains who God is and how His Ten Commandments guide us in our relationships with God, our family and our neighbours, and shows how obedience to Jehovah's Instructions would result in true civilization.
God’s Calendar and the Sign of Jonah - Shows how God’s Calendar reveals that Jeshua truly kept the Sign of Jonah, His proof that He is the Messiah.
Christian Holy Days - Brings out the Christian significance of God’s Annual Holy Days, which illustrate God’s plan of Salvation.
Sex, God and Families - Pamphlet exposing the dangers of sexual immorality and outlining the benefits of following God’s sexual principles.
Eastern Meditation and Jeshua the Messiah - Recounts experiences of a member of CHCoG who became a Christian while practising Eastern Meditation.
Animals in the Bible - What does God teach us about His animals? Are they intelligent and relational beings?
Spirit, Soul and Body - This booklet provides a deeper look at the Bible’s teachings about the composition of human beings and the role of our soul and Spirit.
Unclean Animals and Food - What does the Bible teach about unclean animals? Does the New Covenant allow us to eat unclean meat?
Radiocarbon Dating - Shows how changes in radioactive carbon levels can drastically alter radiocarbon dates. Not heavily technical.
Calculated Biblical Calendar - Calculates dates of Annual Holy Days, Crucifixion, Flood, Creation, etc, and allows you to test the new moon visibility locally.
Radiocarbon Dating - Calculates the effects that changes in the geomagnetic field and radiocarbon/carbon ratios on radioactive dating.
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