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Sabbath - What is it?

The Sabbath, also known as the Sabbath day, is a day that God has set aside for His people to rest on.  On this holy day, we are to abstain from any secular work.  But is it that important?  Considering it is one of the Ten Commandments, it must be important!  The Fourth Commandment states,

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.   For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-11, NIV)

There are several examples in the Bible of the practice of keeping the Sabbath.  For starters, God practiced the Sabbath at the time of Creation.

“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.  By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.   Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:1-3, NIV)

Jesus, the Son of Man, also kept the Sabbath, not only during His life but during His death in the tomb.  Think about it.  Luke 23 describes the death and burial of Jesus.  From verse 54, “It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.”  This was the sixth day of the week, or Friday.  Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week, or Sunday.  So on Saturday, or the Sabbath, Jesus was at rest in the tomb!  He still honored the Sabbath!  Is that not incredible?

The disciples were also Sabbath keepers.  They continued as Sabbath keepers long after Jesus’ ascension to heaven.  Paul demonstrates the keeping of the Sabbath in the Book of Acts, Chapter 18.  It states that every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue.

God’s people kept the Sabbath, as indicated in the Bible.  But in today’s fast-paced world, do God’s people keep the Sabbath?  It can become challenging, especially when it seems everything must be done NOW!  There are just not enough hours in the day to get things done, right?  How important is it to keep the Sabbath in today’s world?

Does it really matter since the Ten Commandments are from the Old Testament?  Again, keeping the Sabbath day holy is one of the Ten Commandments.  So as mentioned above, it must be important.  And God knows that we need the Sabbath to maintain a proper relationship with Him and others.  God set the Sabbath as an example by practicing it Himself at Creation.  Jesus stated, “…The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27, NIV)

Before you conclude the Ten Commandments are only found in the Old Testament, think again.  Did you know they are actually referenced in the New Testament?  Open up your Bible and read the following Scriptures that correspond with the Ten Commandments from the Old Testament.


Old Testament Commandment

Referenced Scripture to Read in the New Testament

First (Exodus 20:3)

Matthew 4:10

Second (Exodus 20:4-6)

Acts 17:29 and 1 John 5:21

Third (Exodus 20:7)

1 Timothy 6:1

Fourth (Exodus 20:8-11)

Hebrews 4:4, 9, 10

Fifth (Exodus 20:12)

Matthew 19:19

Sixth (Exodus 20:13)

Romans 13:9

Seventh (Exodus 20:14)

Matthew 19:18

Eighth (Exodus 20:15)

Romans 13:9

Ninth (Exodus 20:16)

Romans 13:9

Tenth (Exodus 20:17)

Romans 7:7

So the importance of the Sabbath is timeless.  The fact that all Ten Commandments are referenced in the New Testament must prove there lies an importance for each one of them, including the Fourth Commandment on the remembering the Sabbath.  The Sabbath was from God and for Man, from the time of Creation, to the days of Jesus here on Earth and after His ascension, in today’s world, and in tomorrow’s world.