Gateway To Jesus Ministries Presents
The Bible Says!
What does the Bible really say about resting on the Sabbath or Sunday? The short Study below will show you what the Scriptures clearly and plainly say about this. If what you believe about the Day Of Rest isn't true would you want to know it? Have you ever proved what you believe is true by looking at what the Bible really says about your beliefs about this? Most people believe what they believe because it is what they have always believed. Few Christians ever really study the Bible to PROVE that what they believe about observing the Day Of Rest is actually what the Bible says. Rather than believing what men say in any commentary or study the reader is encouraged to study the scriptures and to see for themselves what the Bible actually says. Consider what the Bible says with an open heart, open ears, and open mind as you read the following study. Then ask yourself.....Do you believe what your church teaches about the Sabbath or Sunday, or do you believe God?
Before you can answer this question about the 4th commandment, you need to see what the Bible says in the New Testament about keeping any of the commandments. Should a Christian still keep the commandments after they are saved by grace? Is obedience to God's commandments an identifying sign that Christians know Jesus and His truth is in them? Does commandment keeping show a Christian's love for God? What does the Bible say?
Please read this study that answers these question before reading this study below on the Sabbath if you have any doubt about Christians keeping the 10 Commandments. Should Christians Keep The 10 Commandments?
Throughout the New Testament the principles of commandment keeping are taught without negating or voiding the literal observance. The fourth commandment is a glaring exception. Almost every Christian church teaches the fourth commandment in principle only. They interpret it as the fourth "suggestion" rather than the fourth “commandment". The principle they teach in place of the commandment is the observance of worshiping "one day in seven". The fourth commandment is about "rest". A Christians is free to "worship" on Sunday but should they still "rest" on the Sabbath? If you ask most preachers or ministers, they will tell you they are keeping the fourth commandment by worshiping one day in seven. Is this what the Bible says or is this their interpretation?
Jesus said, "the Scripture CANNOT be broken" (John 10:35). Man cannot break Scripture. No church has the authority to break Scripture by changing God's commandments. Scripture was inspired by God for our instruction. No one has the right to change what they don't like.
2 Timothy 3:16-17; "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work".
The Scriptures teach about the true Sabbath day rest being on the 7th day beginning in Genesis.
Genesis 2:2-3; "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God BLESSED the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made."
The Bible commands "THE" seventh day as "THE" day of rest, not "A" day of rest. It is "THE" Sabbath, not "A “Sabbath.
Exodus 20:8-11; " Remember THE Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but THE seventh day is THE Sabbath of the Lord your God. .... therefore, the Lord blessed THE Sabbath day and hallowed it"
Scripture never commands anyone to observe Sunday as a time of rest or worship! No other time of the week has been "sanctified" (Greek- "qadash" ...to consecrate, dedicate, be holy, be separate) and blessed by God. Only God can make something holy. The Sabbath was set apart, consecrated and dedicated by God. It points to creation when God himself rested.
So should we rest on the Sabbath or Sunday? Does it matter to God on which one we rest or worship?
Many theologians claim that the Sabbath rest was changed to Sunday worship because Jesus was resurrected on Sunday. Where is their Biblical authority to make this claim? Just because Jesus rose then, would not in any way authorize a change in God's great spiritual law. Most Christians believe Jesus died on Good Friday. Jesus' death freed Christians from the penalty of death in Hell and gave them eternal life. Why not keep the sixth day of the week as a day of rest to celebrate your salvation? Taking communion, or the Lord's Supper is a central part of Christian worship. Most Christians celebrate the Lord's supper on Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday. Why not keep the fifth day of the week as a day of rest to celebrate the Lord's Supper? As important as all of these events are, none of them authorize a change in the fourth commandment. Just because something important happened at a certain time does not justify a change in God's law.
One argument that is often used is that the Sabbath was only for the Jews so Christians don't have to keep it. It is often called the "Jewish Sabbath" in many Christian circles implying that it is not the day of rest for Christians. What does the Bible say about this argument? First of all, the Sabbath rest was in place long before the Jews even existed as is shown in Genesis 2:2-3 above. The Sabbath has been here since God created it at creation.
In the New Testament Jesus did not say that the Sabbath was made just for the Jews. He didn't say the Gentiles had to toil and work seven days a week without the blessing of a time of rest. Jesus said the Sabbath is a blessing made for "man".
Mark 2:27; "And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man......"
Is Sunday, the 1st day of the week really the "Lord's Day"?
A strong argument is regularly made that Sunday is the time of rest for Christians because it is the "Lord's Day". There is no verse anywhere in the Bible that connects Sunday with the expression "The Lord's Day". Some interpret Revelation 1:10 to support Sunday worship. This is simply an assumption without any Scriptural support. Without interpretation it simply says John was in the spirit on the Lord's Day. That's it! The Bible says literally nothing about this being Sunday or the first day of the week.
(Rev 1:10) "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet."
This verse does not even refer to any specific time of the week. This is a prophecy of future, end-time events. The “Lord’s Day" is synonymous with the "Day of the Lord" in Bible prophecy. It in no way indicates a specific time of the week, or mentions worship or rest. The first day of the week is never called "The Lord's Day" anywhere in Scripture. Revelation 1:10 is just a prophetic time reference and nothing more.
There is only one "Lord's Day" based upon Jesus' own words. Jesus said the Sabbath (not Sunday) is the day He is "Lord of."
(Mark 2:28) "Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath."
It looks pretty clear in Scripture. The Sabbath is the Lord’s Day when we should rest from our labors.
John 20:19; "... the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'"
Some people will point to John 20:19 and interpret this as a Sunday church service when in fact it says nothing about church or worship. That is an assumption and an interpretation. It could not be a worship service. The disciples could not have been celebrating Jesus' resurrection. The Bible says they did not even believe Christ was risen until they saw Him! In Mark 16:14, we find Jesus reproving His disciples for their failure to believe that He had risen. There is, therefore, no possible chance that they had gathered on this occasion to commemorate the resurrection. How could they have been celebrating the resurrection when they didn't even believe it had occurred? The context without any interpretation is very clear. They were not having a worship service. They were scared! They were hiding behind locked doors on Sunday out of FEAR. You should never assume what isn't written.
Here is another verse that has long been misunderstood because of interpretation and assumptions about when it occurred and why.
Acts 20:7-12; "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"
Does anything here say this was a weekly worship service? They were just eating a meal. Without adding any interpretation to this verse, it simply says Paul delivered his message to them during a meal on the first day of the week and then continued speaking until midnight. "Breaking bread" is a common expression that simply refers to eating a meal together. Just because Jesus broke a piece of bread as a symbol of His Body at Passover does not mean that every time a piece of bread is broken by a group of Christians they are celebrating the Lord's Supper. The majority of the times that Christians break bread they are simply eating a meal together, not partaking of the Lord's Supper or communion. This is exactly what happened here. They were just breaking bread together. That's what the verse says! You must again make assumptions and use interpretation to make this verse say anything else.
This was not a Sunday worship service. It wasn't even a Sunday morning meeting. It actually occurred on a Saturday evening and went until midnight. The biblical reckoning of daily time is from sunset to sunset beginning in Genesis at creation. The first day of the week begins on Saturday evening as God counts time. The modern calendar is based upon a twenty-four-hour day that begins at midnight, in the middle of a dark night. Men have decided that a day begins and ends at midnight. What does the Bible say? God established when a day begins at creation.
Gen 1:5, "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day."
Gen 1:8, "And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."
Gen 1:13, "And the evening and the morning were the third day."
God begins each day in "the evening". God begins and ends them at the setting of the sun ends one day and a new one begins. The beginning of days at sunset had been the standard practice for thousands of years and is still practiced by Jews today. .
Lev. 23:32...." from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath."
Saturday evening at sunset is actually the beginning of our modern Sunday as God counts time. The beginning of "the first day" is actually on our Saturday evening. If this meal was on Sunday evening the Bible would have said "Now on the second day of the week". Paul actually departed on his long journey the next day, the daylight part of the first day of the week, our Sunday.
Now you can clearly see that the disciples had gathered together for dinner on a Saturday evening and Paul spoke with them for a few hours during and after the meal. In the first century the traditional Sunday morning worship service to celebrate the resurrection usually began right after sunrise, right before most men went off to work in their fields and farms. (It was a regular work day for them. Not a day of rest.) It's ludicrous to even suggest that this was a regular Sunday morning worship service that began about 6:00 AM and then dragged on for 18 hours, until midnight. So they were really meeting on the Sabbath, not Sunday!
What about 1 Corinthians 16:2? This verse is assumed to be a collection taken up during a church service. Is that what it actually says or is this another misinterpretation?
1 Corinthians 16:2; "On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come."
Without any interpretation this verse simply says they were to lay something aside on the first day of the week, storing up their contributions to give to Paul when he arrived. That's it! There is no mention of resting from their labors here. There is no mention about gathering for a weekly worship service to do this collection. This was not even a collection of money. It was food to assist the poor in Jerusalem.
When was this to occur? The expression translated "the first day of the week" comes from two Greek words, "Mia “which is defined as "one", and "sabbaton" which is defined as "Sabbath" here, and 58 other places in the Bible. On "one Sabbath day" the disciples were to lay some food aside to give to Paul for the saints who were starving in Jerusalem. This isn't even a Sunday in the first place. This is an assumption based upon a mistranslation from the inspired Greek. It was the Sabbath. Each individual was asked to lay some food aside on one Sabbath day so it would be ready when Paul and the men arrived to receive it and carry it to Jerusalem.
But doesn't Colossians 2:16 show we don't need to keep the Sabbath?
Colossians 2:16; "Let no man therefore judge you in… the sabbath day."
This verse has falsely been used by many churches to discount keeping the Sabbath by Christians today. What does the Bible actually say in this verse?
Paul explains here why these Gentile Christians in God’s church in Colosse need not be bothered by the attitude of the pagan Colossian society around them toward their practice of resting on the 7th day. Paul tells the Colossians not to be concerned if anyone in their community thinks badly about them keeping the Sabbath. Far from doing away with the observance of the Sabbath Colossians 2:16-17 is one of the strongest proofs that the early Christian church kept this day, and that Paul taught the Gentile Christians to keep it. Paul was saying that they should not worry if their Gentile neighbors and friends judge them for keeping the Sabbath. The Colossians, a Gentile congregation, were actually keeping the Sabbath in a generally pagan society! If they were not keeping the Sabbath, why would Paul tell them that no one should judge them in keeping the Fourth Commandment?
Colossians 2:17, “which are a shadow of things to come…..”
Here we read that the sabbath along with other special days is, “a shadow of things to come.” Paul says the Sabbath is a shadow, a symbol or “type”, of future events in the plan of God. The Sabbath is a “shadow” or “type” of the Millennium rest the world will have with Jesus as King. For something to cast a shadow it has to exist! Paul does NOT say we don't need to keep the SABBATH DAY itself any longer. He did not say that we should not keep the Sabbath anymore because it was a shadow of the Millennium with Christ, and no longer exists. He could have said that if it were true, but he didn't because it isn't true! The verse reads that the Sabbaths “ARE a shadow of things to come.” It is not written in past tense. It does not say, “was a shadow of things to come.” This indicates that the Sabbath Day still exists and is something relevant today because it still has a FUTURE fulfillment in the Millennium. Paul’s words tell us that the Sabbaths “ARE a shadow” of future prophetic fulfillment rather than “WAS a shadow” of fulfilled prophecies. Just because something is a shadow of something doesn’t mean it’s already obsolete. We have to be VERY careful of reading into scripture something God did not actually say. The Apostle Paul insists to the church that nobody should feel a conflict of conscience when questioned by non-believers over the matter of resting on God’s special day, the Sabbath.
Why do most churches incorrectly teach Romans 14:5 is about the day of rest?
Romans 14:5; "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind."
Just as some poker players have a “tell” that tips off other players when they are bluffing, so do Christian churches when they are using God’s word to “prove” a belief they already have. The churches “tell” is always taking a verse out of context, ignoring all the surrounding verses and lifting just one part out from the rest to prove their belief. This is exactly what churches do with Romans 14:5. Instead of using a verse out of context to prove a belief that has nothing to do with what God is speaking about with it, we should use what God says to INFORM our beliefs by looking at the scripture IN CONTEXT with surrounding verses. This helps us to understand what God wants us to learn from what He is informing us about.
So, we shouldn’t just quote Romans 14:5 to prove we don’t need to keep the 4th commandment to rest on the 7th day because now we can rest on any day we choose. We should look at that entire section of Romans 14, from verses 1 and 2 which sets the subject matter, all the way through verse 10. What is God trying to inform us about here?
Romans 14:1-10, "Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.
Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.
Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
Is this about the 4 commandment, what day we rest? Does verse 1 and 2 show there was some major dispute going on in the church at that time about the 4th commandment, what day to rest? No. That "Sabbath verse Sunday" dispute doesn’t happen in the church for several hundred more years.
This entire section of Romans 14 is about eating or not eating food for spiritual reasons. In other words, FASTING! There had been a big dispute happening in the congregation of God’s church at Rome at that time in history, among the gentile converts there regarding fasting. Paul is trying here to provide spiritual advice to end the attitudes of judgment and contempt they had towards each other. Paul’s writing in Romans Chapter 14 revolves completely around a “dispute which is doubtful”, which according to the context involved fasting, not keeping the Sabbath rest. The Sabbath was never in dispute or doubt at this time in Christian history. FASTING is the context! Romans 14 talks about fasting, not the Sabbath. The word “EAT” appears 10 times in these 10 verses, The words "EAT" or "FOODS" appear 18 times in the whole chapter. Romans 14 revolves around eating food, not the day of rest. The words Sabbath, 7th day, 1st day, Sunday, or Day Of Rest does not even appear in this chapter.
If you are honest you can see in these 10 verses that the context is clearly talking about fasting days, not worship days. It’s disingenuous to try to make it say somethings it doesn’t. In Rome there were weak, recent Greek converts who had come from paganism, who had worshipped their gods by customarily abstaining from eating food outright. They fasted on certain particular days. Still other converts refused to fast or abstain from foods on certain days anymore after becoming Christians. They esteemed every day in the same way! Verse 6 makes it clear, he who fasts, observes the Lord, he who doesn’t fast, also observes the Lord. THIS was a conflict among the people that Paul was addressing.
Verse 2: Some recent converts thought they can eat anything on a fast day, that fasting was not necessary anymore at all. Other recent converts clung to their old beliefs but modified them and thought just eating herbs was OK when fasting, only giving up meats which may have been offered to idols.
Verse 3: Some converts simply thought they could not eat anything at all when fasting.
Verse 5: Some thought they should still observe fast days, others thought all days were the same and they didn’t need to fast on any particular day.
Verse 6: Some thought he who does not eat, fasting according to their beliefs, honors God. Others just as sincerely thought he who eats normally on a fast day still honors God. (Hence the dispute.)
Verse 10: Paul wanted to make it clear that whether you fasted or not, it didn’t matter as Christians, it was okay, and that we shouldn’t judge each other if we fasted or not.
How were some of the people “observing” a day of fasting? The key words here are: “He who eats” and “he who does not eat.” This is a specific reference to the spiritual exercise of fasting and has NOTHING to do with the false teaching that this was about a day of worship! A fast for spiritual purposes is going without food and water, (usually for a day), for the purpose of spending extra time with God in prayer, study, and meditation. This fact does not occur to many Christians because they aren’t acquainted with fasting in the first place. Most Christians don’t fast today, so they erroneously misunderstand the context of this chapter.
If Paul taught his Gentile converts to regard Sabbath keeping as a personal matter, as most Christian churches imply by quoting this verse, the Jewish-Christians with Paul would have immediately attacked him for setting aside God’s Sabbath law. The fact that there is no hint what-so-ever of any such controversy or dispute here, or anywhere in the New Testament, indicates that Paul never discouraged Sabbath keeping, or encouraged Sunday keeping instead. That is a lie perpetuated by Christian churches. So, Romans 14:1-10 is about Paul’s refusal to deliberate on a private matter of fasting on certain days of the week, not about granting permission to keep Sunday as a day of rest contrary to the 4th commandment. Romans 14 is about personal fast days (not different weekly days of worship). Don’t believe false interpretation of this verse by your church. They are wrong based on what the Bible actually says!!
Context is EVERYTHING!
Was the Sabbath "hung on the cross" and "done away with"?
Some theologians try to contrive arguments that the Sabbath was part of the Jewish ceremonial law that was done away when Jesus came. This is an assumption based upon false human reasoning. Nothing is mentioned anywhere in the Bible about the sacrifices or ceremonial duties of the law being connected with the ten commandments. The Sabbath as part of the ten commandments stands by itself as part of the great spiritual law of God.
The Jews today are required by God to keep the ten commandments! God gave them the commandments through Moses at Mount Sinai. Speaking of Moses in the book of Acts, Stephen said that God gave him the oracles, which are the laws of God.
Acts 7:38; "This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:"
The Jews have been committed with the responsibility to be the record keepers of God laws.
Romans 3:2; "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."
The Jews have faithfully guarded the oracles (or Words) of God even to the present time. They have never lost sight of the Sabbath because God will not allow it. They are the guardians of His written law, words which God spoke to Moses. They have faithfully kept the Sabbath rest as God commanded. Regardless of any changes in any calendars, or decrees from any Catholic Pope, or orders from Roman Emperor Constantine, God has made sure that the Jews He entrusted with his oracles, His words, never lost sight of which day is the fourth commandment Sabbath rest.
If God had changed the fourth commandment Sabbath rest from the seventh day of the week to the first after the resurrection, He would have had to tell the Jews. If God's law changed, He had to tell the people He charged with keeping the record of His laws or He would be causing them to sin! If the Sabbath was changed from the seventh day of the week to the first day then millions of Jews are sinning and it's God's fault! There can be only one fourth commandment. There can't be one fourth commandment for the Jews and one fourth commandment for Christians. There is one law for all! Jesus said not even the smallest part of the law would change until heaven and earth have passed away.
Matt 5:18; "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
No interpretation can change what Jesus plainly said! Heaven and earth are still here! The law is still here. Not one letter of it has changed. The fourth commandment is still part of God's great spiritual law and it has not changed! God did not change his fourth commandment for Christians while keeping it the same for Jews. That is an assumption not supported by any Scripture. The Jews are not sinning because they are still resting on the day God commanded and set apart as holy time. The Jews, the keepers of the oracles of God, never lost the Sabbath.......Christians did! Christians sin by not obeying the fourth commandment to rest on the seventh day.
The fourth commandment cannot be separated from the other nine commandments and be given special dispensation from literal observance. It carries the same weight of God's great spiritual law as the other nine commandments. A Christian is free in Christ to worship on Sunday, (or Monday, or Tuesday, or whenever), if they choose to do so, but they should still rest from their labors on the seventh day according to God's fourth commandment.
1 John 2:3-4; "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. "
Christians belong to God! They show that love by obeying the commandments. God says if you claim to be a Christian who knows Jesus as your Savior, yet you don't keep the fourth commandment, you are a liar and the truth is not in you. Those are pretty strong words from God to all Christians!
John 10:30; "I and my Father are one" .
Jesus' commandments are the same as His Father's commandments. To those who claim that Jesus' commandments are different than God's commandments given to Moses the Bible says this. "I and my Father are one". There is no difference. There is no distinction. There isn't one set of commandments from Jesus and another set of commandments from His Father that apply to different people at different times. This assumption is utter nonsense! It is an affront to God to even suggest that He and Jesus are divided in their teachings and their commandments.
Exodus 20:8; "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God."
Without any interpretation this verse plainly says "the seventh day" is the Sabbath! Christians should rest on the Sabbath, not Sunday! Worship on Sunday according to your tradition if you choose, but remember to rest on the Sabbath according to the Word of God!
Let’s look at the scriptures for the obvious and undisputable messages from God Himself about Sabbath keeping first. Then we will look at the ones that are more subjective.
EXODUS 20:8-10; "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD 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."
EXODUS 31:15; "Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death."
JEREMIAH 17:21-22; "Thus says the LORD: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers."
The principle here is simple. DO NOT DO ANY WORK, either at your regular income earning job if you are employed, or typical work chores at home such as laundry, ironing, cleaning, yard work, home maintenance, cooking etc. This would include people working for you as your employees, or people you hire to work around your home. God says we should not work on the Sabbath!
EXODUS 16:22-23; "And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread,….This is that which God has said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath to God: bake that which you will bake today, and boil that you will boil; and that which remains over lay up for you to be kept until the morning."
EXODUS 16:27-30; "See, For God has given you the Sabbath, therefore he gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days; every man of you abide in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."
The principle here is to spend the day in restful activities, not slaving over the hot stove cooking all day, when you should be resting It’s best not to cook full regular meals on the Sabbath. Major food preparation including baking, boiling, roasting, frying, etc. should be done on Friday so that only reheating, if even that, would need to be done on the Sabbath. When food is prepared for the Sabbath on Friday it is "to be kept until morning" for eating on the Sabbath. Friday is the preparation day. (Mark 15:42). Cook and prepare ALL the food you will need for the Sabbath on Friday. With careful planning you can easily do this, especially if you plan cold meals like cereal, fruit, or yogurt for breakfast, sandwiches or cold pizza for lunch, and salads of all types including lettuce based salads, cold soups, or cold pasta salad, for dinner. Microwave reheating of chili, soup or any previously prepared meal would not violate the principle of not "Baking", or "boiling" on the Sabbath,
ISAIAH 58:13; If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure,.…”
The principle here is to not to seek our own pleasure on the Sabbath. The day isn't about us and what we want! We should be focused on God and what He wants. The phrase, "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:4), shows that the pleasures of this life are competing with God for our affections, and we are told, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:2).
A lot of what is “pleasure” is subjective. We need to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in our decisions about what may be just something we enjoy that would enhance the Sabbath rest, verses what is overt pleasure that physically or mentally distracts us from the intent of the day.
So what can Christians do? Here is a short list of activities that would be keeping with the spirit of the Sabbath rest. I’m sure you can think of many, many more.
1. Read the Bible alone, or with other people.
2. Play with your children for as long as they want to play.
3. Eat a meal with friends in your home, even if it’s just for a beverage and a chat.
4. Gather with other believers for fellowship.
5. Read an edifying book.
6. Phone a friend.
8. Write a letter.
9. Visit someone in hospital.
10. Watch nature or other general programs on TV.
11. Watch the news to stay informed about what is happening in the world. (God told us to Watch and pray always. Luke 21:36)
12. Visit a free museum or planetarium
13. Take a short walk in the park.
14. Enjoy God’s creation. Visit a free zoo, watch ducks on a pond, dip your feet in a cool creek, go outside and count the stars, purposefully watch the sunrise and sunset, pick some wild flowers, stop and listen to the birds sing, lie on your back and watch the clouds, or go barefoot in the grass.
15. Just kick back, relax, and enjoy a day without your usual work!
The Sabbath is a day for restful activities that compliment a close relationship with God. Appreciating God’s creation in some easy, leisurely way is an inspiring activity quite appropriate for a Christian to do on the Sabbath day. Sabbath hours are not to be spent in working, buying, selling, homework, …etc.
NEHEMIAH 13:15-17; "In those days I saw some treading wine presses on the Sabbath in Judah, and bringing in sheaves, and lading donkeys; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day in which they sold food. There dwelt men of Tyre also in there, who brought fish, and all manner of goods, and sold on the Sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, What evil thing is this that you do, and profane the Sabbath day?"
NEHEMIAH 10:31; "And if the people of the land brought any merchandise or food on the Sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the Sabbath:”
EXODUS 16:27-30; "See, For God has given you the Sabbath, therefore every man of you abide in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."
The principle here is to NOT leave our homes for the purpose of eating out at restaurants, shopping, or buying anything in any stores. Any shopping for “all manner of goods” violate the spirit of the day. We should avoid buying food and drink anywhere on the Sabbath if at all possible, especially food prepared and sold by merchants, (restaurants). Even though restaurant employees are working for others, at some point, everyone from the cook to the server is working specifically for YOU, in effect they become, “your manservant….. your maidservant”, preparing and serving your food. An “ox in a ditch” situation, (Luke 14:5), is a rare exception for eating out when away from home for an emergency and have no other option.
So, in conclusion it is obvious from what God says in scripture that He does not want us working, buy, selling or allowing anyone to prepare food for us outside of our home on the Sabbath today. These are practical applications of the principles of Sabbath keeping for all modern Christians who want to be in alignment with God's "will", and do what He desires. Give God the benefit of the doubt, (not yourself), if you are not sure about any activity that may be a violation of any Sabbath keeping principle.
Learn more about what The Bible Says on other subjects at the Inspirational Christian Connection .