Did you know there is a very important day that almost everyone has forgotten about? It's astounding that only a few people are aware of it, because it's one of the most significant days in all of human history! It's not only a day in the past, but the present and future. Furthermore, what happened on this neglected day can have a profound effect on your life. Want to know more amazing facts about this lost day of history? Then read over this Study Guide carefully.
When Jesus was here on earth, He worshiped on the Sabbath.
1. On what day did Jesus customarily worship?
"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Luke 4:16.
Answer: Jesus' custom was to worship on the Sabbath.
The seventh day of the week (Saturday) is the Sabbath.
2. But which day of the week is the Sabbath?
"The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God." Exodus 20:10. "And when the sabbath was past, ...very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre." Mark 16:1, 2.
Answer: The Sabbath is not the first day of the week (Sunday), as many believe, but the seventh day (Saturday). Notice from the above Scripture that the Sabbath is the day that comes just before the first day of the week.
God made the Sabbath at the time of Creation.
3. Who made the Sabbath and when?
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it." Genesis 1:1; 2:2, 3.
Answer: God made the Sabbath at the time of Creation, when He made the world. He rested on the Sabbath and blessed and sanctified it (set it apart for a holy use).
God wrote the Sabbath commandment with His own finger.
4. What does God say about Sabbath-keeping in the Ten Commandments, which He wrote with His own finger?
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." Exodus 20:8-11. "And the Lord delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God." Deuteronomy 9:10.
Answer: In the fourth commandment of the 10, God commands us to observe the seventh-day Sabbath as His holy day. God knew people would forget His Sabbath, so He began this commandment with the word "remember." He has never commanded anyone anywhere to keep any other day as a weekly holy day.
Jesus says it is easier for heaven to pass away than for God's law to change.
5. But haven't the Ten Commandments been changed?
Jesus says: "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail." Luke 16:17. God says: "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." Psalms 89:34. Notice, the Ten Commandments came from His lips. Exodus 20:1 says, "And God spake all these words, saying ... [the Ten Commandments follow in verses 2-17]."
Answer: No, indeed! It is utterly impossible for any of God's moral law ever to change. All Ten Commandments are binding today.
Paul and the other apostles kept God's seventh-day Sabbath holy.
6. Did the apostles keep the Sabbath?
"And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures." Acts 17:2. "Paul and his company ... went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down." Acts 13:13, 14. "And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither." Acts 16:13. "And he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks." Acts 18:4.
Answer: Yes, the book of Acts makes it clear that Paul and the early church kept the Sabbath.
The apostles taught the Gentiles to keep the Sabbath holy.
7. Did the Gentiles also worship on Sabbath?
God commanded it:
"Blessed is the man ... that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it." "Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, ... every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer ... for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people." Isaiah 56:2, 6, 7, emphasis added.
Apostles taught it:
"And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath." "And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God." Acts 13:42, 44, emphasis added. "And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks." Acts 18:4.
Answer: The apostles in the early New Testament church not only obeyed God's Sabbath command, but they also taught the converted Gentiles to worship on Sabbath. Never once do they refer to Sunday as a holy day.
The Sabbath was not changed to Sunday at the time of Jesus' resurrection.
8. But wasn't the Sabbath changed to Sunday at Christ's death or resurrection?
Answer: No, there is not the remotest hint that the Sabbath was changed at Christ's death or resurrection. The Bible teaches just the opposite. Please carefully review the following evidence:
A. God blessed the Sabbath.
"The Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it." Exodus 20:11. "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it." Genesis 2:3.
B. Christ expected His people to be still keeping the Sabbath in A.D. 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed.
Knowing full well that Jerusalem would be destroyed by Rome in A.D. 70, Jesus warned His followers of that time, saying, "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day." Matthew 24:20, emphasis added. Jesus made it clear that He intended for the Sabbath to be kept even 40 years after His resurrection. In fact, there is no intimation anywhere in the Scriptures that Jesus, His Father, or the apostles ever (at any time, under any circumstances) changed the holy seventh-day Sabbath to any other day.
C. The women who came to anoint Christ's dead body kept the Sabbath. Jesus died on "the day before the sabbath" (Mark 15:37, 42), which is now called Good Friday.
The women prepared spices and ointments to anoint His body, then "rested the sabbath day according to the commandment." Luke 23:56. Only "when the sabbath was past" (Mark 16:1) did the women come "the first day of the week" (Mark 16:2) to continue their sad work. They found "Jesus was risen early the first day of the week" (verse 9), commonly called Easter Sunday. Please note that the Sabbath "according to the commandment" was the day preceding Easter Sunday, which we now call Saturday.
D. Christ's follower, Luke, wrote two books of the Bible, Luke and Acts.
He says that in the book of Luke he wrote about "all" of Jesus' teachings (Acts 1:1-3). But he never wrote about Sunday-keeping or a change of the Sabbath.
Everybody in God's eternal kingdom will keep the Sabbath holy.
9. Some people say the Sabbath will be kept in God's new earth. Is this correct?
"For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord." Isaiah 66:22, 23.
Answer: Yes, the Bible says the saved people of all ages will keep the Sabbath in the new earth.
The Lord's day is Sabbath, not Sunday.
10. But isn't Sunday the Lord's day?
"Call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord." Isaiah 58:13. "For the son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day." Matthew 12:8.
Answer: The Bible speaks of the "Lord's day" in Revelation 1:10, so the Lord does have a special day. But no verse of Scripture refers to Sunday as the Lord's day. Rather, the Bible plainly identifies Sabbath as the Lord's day. The only day ever blessed by the Lord or claimed by Him as His holy day is the seventh-day Sabbath.
Jesus instituted baptism--not Sunday keeping--in honor of His resurrection.
11. Shouldn't I keep Sunday in honor of Christ's resurrection?
"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Romans 6:3-6.
Answer: No! No more than you would keep Friday in honor of the crucifixion. Christ gave the ordinance of baptism in honor of His death, burial, and resurrection. The Bible never suggests Sunday-keeping in honor of the resurrection (or for any other reason, for that matter). We honor Christ by obeying Him (John 14:15)--not by substituting man-made requirements in place of His.
Misguided men had the audacity to substitute Sunday for the Sabbath of God's law.
12. Well, if Sunday-keeping isn't in the Bible, whose idea was it anyway?
"And he shall think to change the times and the law." Daniel 7:25, RSV.* "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." "In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:6, 9. "Her priests have violated my law." "And her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar, ... saying, Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath not spoken." Ezekiel 22:26, 28.
Answer: Misguided men of long years past announced that God's holy day was changed from Sabbath to Sunday. God predicted it would happen, and it did. This error was passed on to our unsuspecting generation as gospel fact. Sunday-keeping is a tradition of uninspired men and breaks God's law, which commands Sabbath-keeping. Only God can make a day holy. God blessed the Sabbath, and when God blesses, no man can "reverse it." Numbers 23:20.
*The Revised Standard Version of the Bible, (C) 1946, 1952, 1971 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission.
Changing Sabbath to Sunday is an insult to God because it attempts to alter His divine law.
13. But isn't it very dangerous to tamper with God's law?
"Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God." Deuteronomy 4:2. "Every word of God is pure. ... Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." Proverbs 30:5, 6.
Answer: God has specifically and positively forbidden men to change His law by deletions or additions. To tamper with God's holy law in any way is one of the most fearful and dangerous things a person can do.
The Sabbath is a sign of God's power to create and redeem.
14. Why did God make the Sabbath anyway?
A. Sign of Creation.
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." Exodus 20:8, 11.
B. Sign of redemption and sanctification.
"Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them." Ezekiel 20:12.
Answer: God gave the Sabbath as a twofold sign: (1) It is a sign that He created the world in six literal 24-hour days, and (2) it is also a sign of God's mighty power to redeem and sanctify men. Surely every Christian will love the Sabbath as God's precious sign of Creation and redemption (Exodus 31:13, 17; Ezekiel 20:12, 20). It is a great insult to God for people to trample upon His Sabbath. In Isaiah 58:13, 14, God says all who would be blessed must first get their feet off His Sabbath.
Breaking any commandment of God's law is sin.
15. How important is Sabbath-keeping?
"Sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4. "The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23. "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10. "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." 1 Peter 2:21. "He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." Hebrews 5:9.
Answer: It is a matter of life and death. Sabbath-keeping is enjoined in the fourth commandment of God's law. The deliberate breaking of any one of the Ten Commandments is a sin. Christians will gladly follow Christ's example of Sabbath-keeping. Our only safety is to diligently study the Bible, "rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15. We must have positive Scripture support for every Christian practice we follow.
God will pour out His indignation upon religious leaders who knowingly ignore His Sabbath.
16. How does God feel about religious leaders who ignore the Sabbath?
"Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane ... and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them." "Therefore have I poured out my indignation upon them." Ezekiel 22:26, 31.
Answer: In hiding their eyes from God's true Sabbath, religious leaders offend the God of heaven. God promises punishment for such false shepherds. Millions have been misled on this matter. God cannot treat it lightly. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for pretending to love God while making void one of the Ten Commandments by their tradition (Mark 7:7-13).
Everyone who enters heaven and eats from the tree of life will keep God's Sabbath holy.
17. Does Sabbath-keeping really affect me personally?
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15. "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." Romans 14:12. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17. "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14. "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God." Revelation 14:12.
Answer: Yes, by all means, the Sabbath is your Sabbath. God made it for you, and if you love Him you will keep it, because it is one of His commandments. Love without commandment-keeping is no love at all (1 John 2:4). You must make a decision. You cannot avoid it. No one can excuse you. You yourself will answer before God on this most important matter. God asks you to love and obey Him now!
18. I am willing to follow Jesus' example of Sabbath-keeping.
1. But isn't the Sabbath for the Jews only?
No. Jesus said, "The sabbath was made for man." Mark 2:27. It is not for the Jews only, but for mankind--all men and women everywhere. The Jewish nation did not even exist until 2,500 years after the Sabbath was made.
2. Isn't Acts 20:7-12 proof that the disciples kept Sunday as a holy day?
According to the Bible, each day begins at sundown and ends at the next sundown (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 Leviticus 23:32) and the dark part of the day comes first. So Sabbath begins Friday night at sundown and ends Saturday night at sundown. This meeting of Acts 20 was held on the dark part of Sunday, or on what we now call Saturday night. The New English Bible* begins Acts 20:7 like this: "On the Saturday night in our assembly ..."
It was a Saturday-night meeting, and it lasted until midnight. Paul was on a farewell tour and knew he would not see these people again before his death (verse 25). No wonder he preached so long! (No regular weekly service would have lasted all night.) Paul was "ready to depart on the morrow." The "breaking of bread" has no "holy day" significance whatever, because they broke bread daily (Acts 2:46). There is not the slightest indication in this Scripture passage that the first day is holy, nor that these early Christians considered it so. Nor is there the remotest evidence that the Sabbath had been changed. Incidentally, this meeting is probably mentioned in the Scripture only because of the miracle of raising Eutychus back to life after he fell to his death from a third-floor window. In Ezekiel 46:1, God refers to Sunday as one of the six "working days."
*(C) The Delegates of the Oxford University Press and the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, 1961, 1970. Used by permission.
3. Doesn't 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 speak of Sunday school offerings?
No, there is no reference here to a public meeting. The money was to be laid aside privately at home. A famine was raging in Judea (Romans 15:26; Acts 11:26-30), and Paul was writing to ask the churches in Asia Minor to assist their famine-stricken brethren. These Christians all kept Sabbath holy, so Paul suggested that on Sunday morning (which was the time they paid bills and settled accounts), after the Sabbath was over, they put aside something for their needy brethren so it would be on hand when he came. It was to be done privately or, as La Santa Biblia (a Spanish translation) says, "at home." Notice also that there is no reference here to Sunday as a holy day. In fact, the Bible nowhere commands or even suggests Sunday-keeping.
4. But hasn't time been lost and the days of the week changed since the time of Christ?
No! Reliable encyclopedias and reference books make it clear that our seventh day is the same one that Jesus kept holy. It is a simple matter of research.
5. But isn't John 20:19 the record of the disciples instituting Sundaykeeping in honor of the resurrection?
On the contrary, the disciples at this time did not believe that the resurrection had taken place (Mark 16:14). They had met there "for fear of the Jews" and had the doors bolted. When Jesus appeared in their midst, He rebuked them "because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen." There is no implication that they counted Sunday as a holy day. Only eight texts in the New Testament mention the first day of the week; none of them imply that it is holy.
6. Doesn't Colossians 2:14-17 do away with the seventh-day Sabbath?
Not at all. It refers only to the sabbaths which were "a shadow of things to come" and not to the seventh-day Sabbath. There were seven yearly holy days, or holidays, in ancient Israel which were also called sabbaths. These were in addition to, or "beside the sabbaths of the Lord" (Leviticus 23:38), or seventh-day Sabbath. These all foreshadowed, or pointed to, the cross and ended at the cross. God's seventh-day Sabbath was made before sin entered, and therefore could foreshadow nothing about deliverance from sin. That's why Colossians chapter 2 differentiates and specifically mentions the sabbaths that were "a shadow." These seven yearly sabbaths which were abolished are listed in Leviticus chapter 23.
7. According to Romans 14:5, the day we keep is a matter of personal opinion, isn't it?
Notice that the whole chapter is on judging one another (Verses 4, 10, 13). The issue here is not over the seventh-day Sabbath, which was a part of the great moral law, but over the yearly feast days of the ceremonial law. Jewish Christians were judging Gentile Christians for not observing them. Paul is simply saying, "Don't judge each other. That ceremonial law is no longer binding."
1. Jesus kept (1)
_____ Sunday as a holy day.
_____ The seventh-day Sabbath holy.
_____ Every other day holy.
2. The Lord's day is (1)
_____ Sunday, the first day of the week.
_____ Sabbath, the seventh day of the week.
_____ Any day that we dedicate to the Lord.
3. The Sabbath was made (1)
_____ For the Jews only.
_____ By God at Creation for all men and women everywhere for all time.
_____ Only for people who lived in the Old Testament times.
4. The change from Sabbath to Sunday was made by (1)
_____ The apostles.
_____ Misguided men.
5. God's law, which includes the Sabbath commandment, (1)
_____ Is no longer in effect today.
_____ Can never change. It is still binding today.
_____ Ended at the death of Christ.
6. In the New Testament church the converted Gentiles and the apostles (1)
_____ Observed Sunday as a holy day.
_____ Taught that any day will suffice as a holy day if you are sincere.
_____ Observed the Sabbath.
7. The Sabbath (1)
_____ Ended at the cross.
_____ Will end at Jesus' second coming.
_____ Will be kept in God's new eternal kingdom by the redeemed of all ages.
8. Since the Sabbath is part of God's law, breaking the Sabbath is (1)
_____ Nothing to be concerned about since Christ's death.
_____ A dangerous sin because it tramples upon holy things.
_____ Of no importance today.
9. All who really love and follow Jesus will (1)
_____ Observe the Sabbath, as Jesus did.
_____ Keep every other day holy.
_____ Keep Sunday as a holy day.
10. The Sabbath is (1)
_____ Sunday, the first day of the week.
_____ Saturday, the seventh day of the week.
_____ Any day we dedicate to God.
11. Sunday-keeping (1)
_____ Is an invention of men that was predicted in the Bible.
_____ Is God's plan for today.
_____ Originated at Christ's resurrection and was approved at Pentecost.
12. Sabbath-keeping is (1)
_____ A sign of legalism.
_____ Important only to the Jews.
_____ God's twofold sign of Creation and redemption.