The Rest of the Story

Scripture: Matthew 11:28, Exodus 20:8-11, Genesis 2:2-3
Date: 09/30/2007 
What does the Bible say about the Sabbath? Why do most Christians worship on Sunday? Is this based on tradition or Scripture?
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Welcome once again, friends. Here we stand. We are talking about the Word of God and some of the foundational teachings of Christian truth that have been lost to the greater extent by Christendom. Last night we talked about a very important subject dealing with salvation and the law of God, trying to understand the relationship between these two very important issues.

Normally, when you talk about the Ten Commandments, most people don’t have a problem until you get to one in particular, and that’s the fourth commandment. This meeting is being presented in a special sense to help people better understand who Seventh-day Adventists are, what they believe, what are the distinctive differences, why they believe that, and of course, it’s also a call to revival among God’s people to take a stand for biblical truth, and to hold your ground. Amen?

When you think about Pentecostals, what specific doctrine often pops into your mind? Tongues. I hear you saying it. Speaking in tongues. Glossolalia. When you think about Baptists, just by the title, you might think about baptism by immersion. Others might go a little deeper and think about predestination or once saved, always saved. That’s sometimes a label that is associated with Baptist theology. If you talk about the Catholic Church, some might think about the mass or confession or some of the other prominent teachings that are unique. And obviously, when someone mentions the Seventh-day Adventist Church, one of the things that is at the forefront is the Sabbath. Sometimes people will ask me, “What church do you belong to?” I’ll say, “I’m a Seventh-day Adventist Christian.”

“What do they believe?”

I answer, “The Bible.”

I am not a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church because someone faxed me a creed one day, or because I was raised in this church. It just happened that when I read the Bible and began to search for a church that was as close to the Bible as it could be—that’s what you want to support, right? I had nowhere else to go. Now, that doesn’t mean everybody within any specific church is perfect. There are good people within every denomination. Every denomination has some folks that they wish would not get out in public. You know what I mean? That’s normal. You can’t really judge them by that, but the foundational teachings are the important issue.

But when you think about Seventh-day Adventists, the first teaching that comes to mind is, of course, the seventh-day Sabbath. It was amazing to me how people would cringe when I first began to learn these things. I was a baby Christian worshiping in different fellowships. I kept wondering about it, and I’d go to a variety of pastors, and I’d say, “Why do we go to church on Sunday?” They all gave me different answers, which made me suspicious. One would say, “Well, we go to church on Sunday because Jesus rose on the first day of the week, and it’s the Christian Sabbath. It’s the New Testament Sabbath.”

I’d say, “That sounds good, but where’s the scripture?”

“Well, there is really no specific scripture, but we have a long-standing tradition. We’ve been doing this for 1500 years or more.”

“Well,” I thought, “that’s not a good reason. Where’s the Bible reason?” What’s going to be the foundation for what we stand for? It’s the Scriptures. How else can you defend it?

I’d go to another pastor, and I’d say, “Why do we go on Sunday?”

And they’d say, “Well, it doesn’t really matter what day you go. Just don’t go on Saturday, because we’re not under the law now; we’re under grace.”

I actually was doing a meeting like this, when a minister who was attending interrupted a meeting. I’ll never forget this. I was preaching on the Sabbath truth. He said, “Pastor Doug, you’re putting all these people under a yoke of bondage. You’re putting them under works, telling them they’ve got to keep the old laws.” I said, “Brother…” It was a smaller group, and so we began to have a dialogue right there in the middle of the meeting. I said, “Brother, do you believe that God wants us to keep the Ten Commandments or not?” Some of his parishioners were there at the meeting, so he was sensitive to that, and he said, “No.” And he could hear the gasp. His members went, “You don’t believe we should keep the Ten Commandments?” They realized that would include the other nine, and that didn’t sound right. So he said, “Yes.” Then he thought, “Well, that’s going to include the Sabbath.” So then he said, “Nine of them.”

So I said, “You’re telling me, in other words, the one commandment you think we should we forget is the only one that begins with the word remember.” I said, “I don’t think it’s fair that you’re accusing me of putting these people under a yoke of works, because I’m telling them to rest. You’re telling them not to rest. You’re telling them to work.”

One fellow I talked to was very creative. “So why do we go to church on Sunday?” He said, “Back in the days of Joshua, the sun stood still. Saturday became Sunday.” Then, of course, I said, “Well then, why for the next thousand years did they still keep it on the seventh day?” He couldn’t answer that. And there are a hundred other answers, but just about any church you go to, and you say, “Why do you go on Sunday?” you get a lot of double-talk. You don’t hear a scripture. As a matter of fact, on many occasions (I’m not afraid to do it now) I’ve turned the camera around in a big audience and I say, “Please show me one scripture that commands us to keep the first day of the week holy as the Sabbath.” I’m never afraid to ask that question. Who knows what someone might say. But there is no scripture. I’m not afraid of someone giving me a scripture. There isn’t any. But there are plenty of scriptures that command us to keep the seventh day holy as the Sabbath.

Now, I wouldn’t make such a big deal about this except, if the Ten Commandments were spoken by God’s voice and written by God’s finger, if there is something worth standing for, that would be among that group of things for which you should be willing to stand. We illustrated last night that the heroes of the Bible like Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to die rather than disobey one of God’s commandments. Is He going to want less from His people in the last days?

Tonight the subject is going to be dealing with specifically the Sabbath truth. I welcome your questions. Once again I want to remind our friends who are watching, I hope you tape this program. Share it with your friends. If any of your Christian friends want to know why Seventh-day Adventists keep the seventh day, I hope to cover as much as I can in this presentation.

Our message is going to be, “The Rest of the Story.” The reason I titled it “The Rest of the Story” is because we are going to be talking about rest. There are two great New Testament utterances by Jesus. The first one is found in Matthew chapter 11. He tells us in verse 28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” First you come to Jesus.

One is the great invitation we just quoted. The other is the Great Commission, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20 [KJV]). You come to Jesus, and then you go for Jesus. You come to Jesus’ love for God; you go for Jesus’ love for your fellow man. In coming to Jesus we embrace rest. That is the spirit of the law. That is the spirit of the Sabbath commandment. It’s all about finding that rest from laying our burdens down.

But the big question people grapple with is, “That’s fine and well, Pastor Doug, but is it necessary for New Testament Christians to actually keep the seventh-day Sabbath?” Let’s find out what the Bible says. Do you believe what the Bible says? We’re going to look at a lot of scripture. I have my Bible here. I hope you don’t think it’s just a prop, because most of the scriptures I have are on the screen because I want people to be able to record this and look at it again.

Let’s start with the commandment. Exodus 20:8. This is the fourth of the Ten Commandments. It’s the longest of the Ten Commandments. It’s the only commandment that begins with the word remember, implying God knew we might be prone to forget. “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. For”—here’s why—“in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” That’s the commandment. Remember, they are not called the Ten Suggestions or the Ten Recommendations. When the Almighty Creator of the cosmos says, “This is My will. Do this,” then He wants us to do it. Not just to be hearers, but doers of the law.

One of the most prominent crimes in the world today is called identity theft. Have you been hearing more and more about identity theft? The odds of someone being a victim are just going up exponentially. How many of you have had somebody abuse your personal information—credit cards, something. All of a sudden you had to cancel a card. Someone got some numbers. Look, you can see some hands right here. It’s becoming more and more common. Someone gets a hold of your credit card or your driver’s license or some of the personal information, a social security number…

These con artists are very shrewd. They get on the phone and they call people that are believing and they trust folks. They say, “We’re calling from the credit card department and it appears someone has stolen your information. Can you please confirm your card number?” They are very smooth, and they get you to offer up this stuff. Then they take it, and they go on a spending spree before it’s discovered. Sometimes they even assume someone else’s identity for a long period of time, and they commit crimes—cash checks under another person’s name. And all of a sudden someone is carried off to jail and they say, “What did I do?” It takes them sometimes months to discover that it was someone else who had stolen their identity, that committed the crimes. It can be difficult. It can take years to clear your name and your credit from this identity theft.

I heard about one man the FBI caught up with, Abraham Abdallah. He was a bus boy, 32 years old. He managed to get the personal information of Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Oprah Winfrey, George Lucas. When they arrested him, he had managed somehow to bamboozle the banks and credit agencies out of 80 million dollars. Bus boy! High school drop-out. He had 800 credit cards. I guess he never got enough, huh? Some of you only have 400. Can you imagine having 800? If I filled out every application for a credit card, I bet I’d have 800, too! Eight hundred credit cards! And he had a credit card making machine! Identity theft.

The devil has bamboozled the Christian church by stealing the identity that God set aside as holy, and putting a different time and a different label on it. He has assumed it for himself. And most of the Christian church has been fooled by this. We’ll find out more about what I’m talking about specifically.

Question number one: What is the Sabbath day? I’m going to give you a whole series of verses dealing with this truth. Of course, it was on the Sabbath day that God rested from His work of creation. For six days God created the world. He made different things on those six days. What did He make on the seventh day? He made a day. The only thing He made on the seventh day was the Sabbath. Do we still need everything else God made on those other six days? Then why would we think the only thing He made on the seventh day is no longer needed?

Let’s read it. Genesis chapter 2. The Sabbath goes back to creation. It’s part of God’s perfect plan. There was no sin in the world at this time. “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 Sabbath is this holy sphere of time that dates back to the very beginning. Now you’ll notice in the commandment that it says that on the Sabbath day God rested, He blessed it, and He sanctified it. Man was made in the image of God. God has asked us to follow His pattern of embracing the rest. “Come to me,” Jesus says, “and you’ll have rest.”

He’s blessed this day above every other day. And so many people are missing the blessing because you must capitalize on that by faith. You must claim it. It’s there whether you believe it or not. The seventh day is the Sabbath, whether you’ve ever known it or not. Whether you believe it or not, that doesn’t change it. If you don’t believe the seventh day is the Sabbath, that’s not going to affect that truth. The truth is the truth whether you believe it or not.

He sanctified it; He made it holy. And when God tells us something is holy, it’s still holy. Two institutions in the Garden of Eden—God established marriage, and He established the Sabbath truth, because all love relationships flourish in the dimension of time. Love requires quality time in order for it to be enjoyed, in order for it grow deeper and stronger.

The reason the devil hates the Sabbath truth is, he knows if he can get people so busy with the cares of life that they will not be thinking about that quality time, that appointment we have with God where our relationship with Him is to grow, it’s to be nurtured, it’s to be nourished.

Not only that, people need physical rest. I heard a number of reports from the military. They’ve tried all kinds of tests about what is the endurance of man. They even tried going on a 10-day work week for the troops. They said the ideal schedule is six days of work, one day of rest. God knew what He was talking about.

Then you consider, especially in our age, all of the stress that people grapple with. More than any other time in the history of the world, today people struggle with stress. People are all stressed out. There is some scientific data that I think is worthy of sharing with you.

A Cornell University study of working couples confirms “the detrimental effects that work-related stress has on families. Married couples with children, burdened by long hours of paid work, report the lowest quality of life among working couples. Additionally,” catch this, “43 percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.” I wish I could say that I was totally immune. And “75 percent to 90 percent of all “physician office visits are attributed”—did you catch that?—“75 percent to 90 percent of all physician office visits are attributed to stress-related ailments or complaints,” according to the American Psychological Association.

Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death in the United States. Stress is related to heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, suicide. So many of the drugs that are sold over the counter, everything from sleeping pills to antacids, are related to stress. I wonder if there is a connection between man forgetting that God said “Rest,” and to enjoy the rest that He has told us to enjoy in the Sabbath time.

Every Sabbath day is not only a time for us to let the pressure of stress go away, just to lay your burdens down. Jesus says, “Come to Me. I’ll help you with your burdens. I’ll give you rest.” The Sabbath is a renewing of that relationship every week. It’s also a memorial of creation. Every time you remember the Sabbath day, you remember that in six days God created. It is a constant memorial that God is our Creator.

You can also find that in Ezekiel. It tells us that He gave us the Sabbath day as a sign of redemption. Not only does it remind us that He is our Creator, that He made us, it reminds us that He redeemed us. For instance, you can look in Exodus 31:13 [KJV], “Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” A moment ago I cited Ezekiel 20:20, “hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” Did it stop being a sign that He is our Redeemer and our Creator at some point? Or is that a perpetual sign?

That is why God told us in the commandment, “Remember” to keep the Sabbath day. To keep it what? To keep it holy. Now think about this for a moment, please. If I were to ask you where in the world is the Holy Land, what would you say? Israel. In the Holy Land, where would you say is the Holy City? What city would that be? Jerusalem. If I were to ask you, “Is there a holy mountain in Jerusalem?” what would that be? Mt. Zion, sometimes Mt. Moriah—you’re right. They call it the Holy Mount.

What was built on that Holy Mountain? The Holy Temple was there; that’s correct. In the Holy Temple they had that Holy Place. Are you still with me? And in the Holy Place there was the Holy of Holies. So we have a target. You have the world, and then you have the Holy Land, you have the Holy City, the Holy Mountain, the Holy Temple, the Holy Place, the Holy of Holies. What was the one article of furniture in the Holy of Holies? The Ark of the Covenant. The Holy Ark. And what was in the Holy Ark? The Holy Law. And in the law (you can take your computer and search it), you find the word “holy” one time. Where do you suppose you find it? It’s in the middle of the law, in the Sabbath commandment. So when people try to get rid of that one commandment, they’re taking the one place in the law of God… That is the like the bull’s eye, in the law of God, on the planet.

Why would God make such a big deal about the Sabbath? Because you and I live in something called time. If you have no more time, that is bad news; isn’t that right? We live in time, and the Sabbath is a memorial that God gives us life, that He redeems us, that relationships are built in time. The devil hates it! Because as we spend time with God, we get to know God. As we get to know Him, we love him. As we get to know Him better, we love Him better. And if we love Him, we obey Him. We can’t obey Him if we don’t know Him and we don’t love Him. Does that make sense?

So the devil hates that, because this is where people find the power to live the Christian life. It’s in the relationship with Jesus, and the Sabbath is all about that relationship, that love, that time, the quality time with God.

It is not a Jewish law. My mother was Jewish; I grew up understanding a lot about the religion. But one thing that is really clear to me is, the Bible teaches that the Sabbath is for everybody. What did Jesus say, Mark 2:27? “The Sabbath was made for man.” That would have been an easy place to say the Sabbath was made for Jews or for Hebrews or Israelites. He doesn’t say that. He says the Sabbath was made for man. He is tracing it back to the Garden of Eden, when after God made man on the sixth day, He made time for man with God. The very next thing He made was the Sabbath. Every man needs it. Everybody in the world is related to Adam. If you’re not related to Adam, I’d like to talk to you later. Need to have your DNA checked.

Do you know what else God made for man? Woman. God said it’s not good that man should be alone. So He made a woman. So here is the question: Do we still need women? Do we still need the Sabbath? I always get extra votes when I do it that way.

Let’s read this verse, Isaiah 56:6 [KJV]. The Sabbath is not just for one race. Listen to this. “Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him” (these are strangers, aliens, non-Jews), “and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant….” He’s not even talking about the general sabbath days. He says “the Sabbath.” “Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer.” It’s for everybody.

In the early days of the church, when people converted to Christianity, they embraced the Sabbath along with the other principles of the Bible. It’s a time for corporate worship. We need that; we need to come together to fellowship, to edify and build each other up. The Bible tells us in Exodus 23 that the Sabbath is a holy convocation. That word convocation is where you get the word convention. It means an assembly, a convening, a coming together. Sometimes I meet people, even Sabbath keepers—.

By the way, Seventh-day Adventists don’t have a patent on the Sabbath truth. There are many different churches out there today that have learned the Sabbath truth. As a matter of fact, I got a call two or three weeks ago from a pastor (I won’t say his name; I don’t want to put him on the spot) who lives in Austin, Texas, Pentecostal Church of God pastor, studying our material, watching the programs, accepted the Sabbath truths, presented it to his church, and the majority of his church accepted it. They said, “It’s in the Bible.” This is a truth that is spreading everywhere. We don’t have a patent on this.

It does matter; it is important. It’s one of the Ten Commandments. It says here in Exodus 20:8 and on, to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” You notice God didn’t say “Remember the Sabbath day and start keeping it holy.” He said “keep it holy.” That means it is holy. He’s asking us to keep what He has made holy, holy.

Let me illustrate. If you come to my home and I live in a cold climate, and I say, “Could you just watch the house for a few minutes? I’ve got to run to the store. Can you keep the fire going?”

“No problem, Doug.”

I say, “There’s the wood box. Can you keep the fire going?”

“No problem.”

So I leave and you think, “Well, I’d better check the fire,” and you go over and open up the stove, and there’s no fire, just cold ashes! And you think to yourself, “Why did Doug say ‘keep the fire going’ if there’s no fire?” The very fact that I say “keep the fire going” implies there is a fire—you just keep it going.

God is saying the Sabbath is holy. It did not start being holy with Moses. Some people think that God dreamed it up for the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. They just don’t know their Bibles very well. It goes all the way back to Adam. Proof of that would be, if you go to Exodus 16, when the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt before they ever got to Mount Sinai, it says Moses said to them (remember they rained the bread down from heaven?), “Eat…today [what they’ve gathered], for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field.” They would go out five days a week to gather manna. On the sixth day they would gather twice as much because there would be no manna on the Sabbath day. Yet on the Sabbath day, some still went out looking for manna, and God said, “How long [will] you refuse to keep My commandments?”

Notice, you find the manna story in Exodus 16; you don’t get to Mount Sinai until Exodus 20. God was saying “the Sabbath is one of My laws,” before they ever got to Mount Sinai. It goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. We all need a rest. That’s not just a Jewish need. That’s absurd for people to say that this is a Jewish law. Did God get it wrong at Creation and He had to change it later? It was part of His perfect plan. What about the New Testament would mean there was something wrong with the day? Which brings me to my next question.

You need to pray for me. I’m on question 2 out of 30 questions. No, it’s not quite that many. Half my time is gone. No, it’s not that many; I think I have maybe a dozen.

Which day is the Sabbath? We’ll go quicker now. I’ve already told you, but let’s read it one more time. It says in Genesis 2, “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 [He had done].” The first time in the Bible any number is mentioned three times is in connection with the Sabbath. It says the seventh day, the seventh day, the seventh day.

If you have caveman theology, whenever you hear a number like that, 777, what pops into my mind is, “What’s the mark of the beast?” 666. One of the identifying marks (we just read one of the signs, one of the seals) that you belong to God is the Sabbath. That number, seven, is a sign that you are resting in the Lord, that you are trusting in Him.

Notice, God didn’t say “keep a seventh day.” This is one of the most common arguments. After I start studying with people, it’s interesting to watch people keep changing their positions to avoid the Sabbath truth.

Let me just say something here. I always forget this. I get so worked up over this subject, I forget how it disturbed me when I first heard it. Please forgive me, friends, if I’m not being gracious. I know it can be very disturbing when people hear this. For me, it seems to be such compelling evidence that some people are blown away and they don’t know what to do. Because accepting the Sabbath truth for them can mean losing their friends, their fellowship. They could be put out of their church; they can lose their jobs. It can mean tremendous change in their lives. I’ve also noticed that when people discover the Sabbath truth, they start going through a struggle, because they begin to say, “Can I afford to believe this?”

I’d like to plead with you right now. Don’t think that way. Open your heart, open your mind, and say, “Lord, first let me just ask the honest questions. Is it true?” Be open to the logic of God’s Word. It says, “Come, let us reason together.” Use your head. Ask yourself if it makes sense, if it’s true. Then say, “Lord, I don’t know what I’m going to do about it, but please give me grace and guide me.” God does not send the Sabbath truth to be a burden for you. He sends it to be a blessing. He doesn’t want it to be a problem. It’s a privilege.

So just look at this honestly. Amen? He doesn’t say, “Keep a Sabbath day.” It’s like if I were to say, “Can you bring me a chair?” You could grab any old chair, it doesn’t matter what color it is, and bring it to me. But if I say, “Bring me the chair,” you know I’m talking about a specific chair.”

It doesn’t say, “A seventh day is the Sabbath.” God says, “The seventh day.” Isn’t that what He says? And He means what He says. He’s God.

If you have any doubts, and you think I’m teaching something biased, there is no question about what the seventh day is. It is what we commonly call Saturday. If you don’t believe Pastor Doug, maybe you believe Webster. If you look at Webster’s dictionary, “Saturday: the seventh day of the week.” It’s very simple. And if you’re wondering, “Well, what is Sunday? I thought Sunday was the seventh day.” No, “Sunday: the first day of the week.” You check on me.

Sometimes people juggle calendars a little bit, depending on what country you are in, but it doesn’t change the days of the week. I can set up my computer where it starts on the working days of Monday, but that doesn’t make Monday the first day of the week. People do all kinds of things trying to juggle that. Some people say, “Well, Doug, nobody knows anymore what was the seventh day of Creation, because after all, calendars have been changed many times. Who knows anymore?” Have you heard that argument before?

That is a myth. That is absurd, when you really think about it. Has the calendar been changed? Many times the months and dates on the calendar have been changed. That never has any effect on the days of the week. I’ll show you in just a minute what I’m talking about.

Someone wrote the Naval Observatory years ago with this question, asking if the changes in the calendar in recent years have affected the weekly cycle. They responded from the U.S. Naval Observatory, “There has been no change in the continuity of the weekly cycle since long before the Christian era,” the continuity of the weekly cycle meaning first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh day of the week, and it just keeps cycling.

For instance, there was a change in the calendar. We’re now living under the Gregorian calendar. I think it was 1582 Pope Gregory XIII changed, it was like October 5th. Friday, the next day was Saturday, October 15th. They went from the 5th to the 15th. They added 10 days. It was really an astronomical change they needed to make. There wasn’t any conspiracy. They were doing it for the seasons and for farming.

When he changed the 5th of October to the 15th, he changed the calendar; it did nothing to the days of the week. Friday was followed by Saturday. Do you see what I’m saying? That’s why your birthday might be on a different day of the week every year. Because people look at a calendar and they see the days of the week on the calendar, and they see the month, they think when you change the month, it affects the week. It has nothing to do with the week. So that argument really holds no water at all.

For me, what is one of the very compelling arguments is, in the Bible it tells us what day the seventh day is. You read in Luke 23:54 through 24 [KJV], when Christ died, it says “they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. By the way, this is written by Luke, a Gentile, written 20 years after the cross. It would have been a good place for him to introduce the new Christian Sabbath, if there was one. But he doesn’t.

I think it is interesting that Jesus chose Friday afternoon as the Sabbath was about to begin to say, “It is finished.” He went to sleep; He rested through the Sabbath from His work of saving mankind, and He rose Sunday to continue His work as our High Priest, not to establish a new day of rest. Jesus even kept the Sabbath in His death.

Friday, commonly called Good Friday, was the day He was crucified. It was the preparation day, the Bible says. Jesus rested in the tomb on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was about to begin. After the Sabbath was past, they came to the tomb as the first day began to dawn. That would be called Sunday morning. I have no dispute that Jesus rose Sunday morning. The question is, does that make it a new Sabbath day? Jesus died on Friday. Does that make that a new Sabbath day? The Lord’s Supper was celebrated on a Thursday. Does that make that a new Sabbath day?

Jesus did wonderful things on many different days of the week. But there was nothing wrong with the original Sabbath. Why would He change it? Does that make sense? Somebody please say amen. We know the day between Friday, when He died on the cross, and Sunday, when He rose, is what day? What’s between Friday and Sunday? Quick! Saturday, there you go. It hasn’t changed. As a matter of fact, most Christians that go to church on Sunday have no dispute that Sunday is the first day of the week. They just argue their reasons for keeping it that day. But they still fail to produce a commandment.

Then one of the other, for me, compelling arguments about what day it is, is you have a whole race of people around the world—what did I say last night?—15 million Jews around the world, and they know what their holy day is, and it has not changed ever since at least the Exodus, right? I could see one or two people going into a coma and waking up and forgetting the days of the week. But for the whole nation to forget is not very likely. We know what day the seventh day is. We also know what happened.

As a matter of fact, in 108 languages of the world, the word for what we call Saturday is Sabbath. Does anyone here speak Spanish? Sabado. Sabbath day—it’s seventh day of the week, Saturday. Russian, Subota. And many, many other languages where I’ve been. It’s Sabbath day; they call it the Sabbath. The word for the seventh day is the Sabbath, even though they may go to church on the first day of the week.

Question number three. This is simple. When does the Sabbath begin? Do we start keeping the Sabbath at midnight or 2:00 in the morning when the Daylight Savings Time changes? It tells us clearly in the Bible. Leviticus 23:32, “from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.” It begins at sundown. Again, Mark 1:32, “At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick.” They waited until the Sabbath was over at sundown, and He healed the sick and “and those who were demon-possessed.”

Now the big question is, if we’re Christians, we follow Christ. What day (question four) did Jesus keep as the Sabbath? I want to follow Jesus, don’t you? If you follow Jesus, and you’re a Christian, you can’t go wrong.

It says in Mark 6:2, “And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue.” Jesus had a pattern of teaching in the synagogue. Synagogue means “gathering.” He went to the church on the Sabbath day.

In Luke 4:16, “So 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 to read.” Jesus went to church on the Sabbath day. He read the Scriptures on the Sabbath day. If you follow His pattern… He never told the disciples to do anything otherwise. As a matter of fact, Christ, when talking about the end of the world, said we should pray (Matthew 24:20) “that your flight may not be in winter”—it’s not talking about an airline flight; it’s talking about fleeing for your lives. “Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath [day].” Jesus, looking down in history, prophesied His people would still be keeping the Sabbath and they would pray that they would not have to flee on that day. That tells us something about His recognizing how important it is.

Some people think that Jesus came to do away with the Sabbath because occasionally He would heal people, or do things like that. He would do deeds of goodness on the Sabbath, yes. He came to help take away some of the misconceptions about the Sabbath. He clarified the Sabbath truth because there were a number of man-made laws that had been attached to it. But He did not do away with it. It is still holy; He kept it by His example.

Number five. Did early Christians keep the Sabbath? What was the pattern according to the Bible? It says in Acts 17:1, “They came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.” It tells us that they went into the synagogues, and “then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” And not only did he do it with the Jews, it says then the Gentiles begged that they might have these words preached to them the next Sabbath. Jew, Gentile, they met on the Sabbath day in the New Testament.

As a matter of fact, I understand that you can find over 100 examples, if you add them up, of the disciples keeping the seventh-day Sabbath in the New Testament. You go to Acts 13:44, “On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God,” Jew and Gentile.

Acts 16:13, written by Luke, a Gentile, “And on the Sabbath day we…” Luke could have said, “we were keeping the Jewish Sabbath, the old Jewish Sabbath,” or if there is a new day… They never say anything about that, because they all understood what day it was. “And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there.” All through the Roman Empire they knew that God’s people kept the seventh-day Sabbath.

One of the greatest arguments, I think, about the practice in the New Testament church is in Luke 23:56. When Christ died, and they were not finished embalming His body, with their incredible love for Him, they still would not violate the sacred hours of the Sabbath to embalm His body. So many people would argue today, “Well, the ox is in the ditch; we really ought to finish up what we’re doing.” His disciples, from spending three and a half years with Jesus, knew that He would not be pleased with that. So they waited until Sunday morning to finish. Why? Because they believed it would displease the Lord for them to violate it in that way. Or at least they thought it was a violation. They never got any idea from Jesus that it had been done away with, or why would they do that?

Number six. Are the Ten Commandments still valid today? I believe they are, friends. Jesus said (Luke 16:17), “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.” God’s law is perfect. God’s law does not need to be changed. The purpose of the Gospel is to transform us. We are what needs changing, friends. Yet, so many in the church are trying to change the standards of God to accommodate man’s sinfulness. No, the purpose of the Gospel is to lift man up from his sinfulness to God’s purity. Amen?

Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those” (there’s a blessing in the Sabbath) “who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” God expects His people to keep them.

Again, Hebrews 13:8. God’s law is not changed. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” And again, in Malachi 3:6 [KJV] He says, “I am the Lord, I change not.” That is one reason that we went with this theme of rock for this series. The Word of God is like a rock. Christ is our Rock, and the Ten Commandments are written on a rock. It doesn’t change. God could have used paper. Ceremonial laws were written on some other parchment or leather. But the Ten Commandments God wrote Himself, spoke with His own voice, wrote it in stone. If He was going to change one of them, I don’t know that He would have done it that way, if it was temporary or passing in nature. But it was because of its permanent nature that He did it that way.

Right now we’re living in the time of the new covenant. The old covenant was the law of God written on the stone. The new covenant, He says, I’ll write my law on their hearts. You notice that He doesn’t say a different law. It’s the same law, but it’s written in the heart now. Love is the fulfilling of the law. If you love God, you’ll keep the first four. If you love your fellow man, you’ll keep the last six.

Number seven. Does one commandment matter? As long as you’re doing 90 percent, that’s not so bad, is it? If you’re in elementary school and you get a 90, you feel pretty good! It doesn’t work that way with God’s law. James 2:10 [KJV], “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Those of you who think that 90 percent is okay, that depends on which law it is. I don’t think there are too many here that would think that the seventh commandment, you don’t mind as long as your spouse keeps the other nine, they can break the seventh. You all know what the seventh is—that’s the one about adultery. Ninety percent, would you accept that argument? “I’m keeping 90 percent, dear.” How many of you would accept that argument? You see, because if you love somebody, you wouldn’t even think of offering that as a suggestion. God is saying, “What about your time with Me?” You’re going to tell me that one doesn’t matter? It’s a serious thing.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:19, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of [the least of these] commandments” (specifically, or at least, the 10), “and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Whenever you’re in doubt about what to do, first of all, follow Jesus’ example, and you’re safe. Secondly, do the safe thing. I know that I’m not in trouble come Judgment Day, because I’m keeping the fourth commandment along with the other nine. And it always strikes me as very strange—I’ve preached in many different churches. I’ve preached in Nazarene, Four Square, Assembly of God, Baptist, Church of Christ, Methodist; I’ve lost count. I’ve spoken in many different churches. That’s why I know that there are godly, Spirit-led, lovely people in these different churches. Some have just not heard the truth. Jesus said, I have other sheep that are not of this fold, but they’re going to hear My voice, and they’re going to take a stand in the last days.

But I always think it’s odd. I know these churches, I know what they believe. I could go to most of those churches, and I could say, “Thank you for inviting me to preach today. I’m going to talk about not worshiping other gods,” and I’d get a lot of amens. I could talk about not stealing, I could talk about any of the other nine commandments, and I’d probably get a hearty amen. Of course, there is one church if I talked about idolatry, they’d be uncomfortable. But the others, 90 percent, they’d be very happy with. But if I were to start saying, “Keep the Sabbath day,” they’d actually be okay. But if I said, “on the day that God blessed, the seventh day,” they would fold their arms, they’d sit back in their chairs, and they’d say “Legalism!” “Not under the law.” Doesn’t sound strange? Something is strange on the range, as they say, among Christians that would be nervous and so restless about keeping one of God’s commandments. It’s a serious sin.

One time a man, during the Exodus experience, was caught breaking the Sabbath. Moses wasn’t sure what to do. They brought the case before the Lord, and do you know what God said? Bring him before the people, and stone him to death. Now, we don’t live in that society today. When people would break a number of God’s commandments, it was capital punishment, especially the first four commandments. Capital punishment when God was right in their midst. The Sabbath commandment—how important does God feel about that? Does He feel like it is less of a sin now?

Some of us have just thought, “Well, it’s a little commandment.” What did Jesus say? “Whosoever shall break one of the least of these…” It’s not a little one, trust me, friends. If was so little, the devil wouldn’t hate it so much. You’re usually safe loving what the devil hates. Did you catch that?

Will we keep the Sabbath in eternity? Isaiah 66:22 [KJV]. It says, “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.” He’s talking about the new heavens and the new earth. “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another,” and it goes on to say, “from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh”—did it say all Jews?—“all flesh come to worship before me” in heaven. And who do you think the Preacher will be when we go to church in heaven? Jesus. And will anybody sleep during a sermon at that point? No.

Follow me, please. We already know that God created the Sabbath back in the beginning with Adam. We know that they kept it in the Old Testament. Whenever they forgot about it, the Lord would remind them. We know that Jesus and the apostles kept it. I could show you from history that the early church kept it until the 400 or 500 years—. As a matter of fact, there have been Christians through the ages that have kept the seventh-day Sabbath. Why would we not keep it now and we’re going to keep it in heaven? Why would there be this one brief period of time where God was going to change days or do away with it? It just doesn’t make sense, friends.

People of God have been under attack because the devil is attacking the relationship. In heaven we’ll be keeping the Sabbath day. It will be a time of resting with God. Jesus says, “Come to Me, and I will give you rest,” and I’ll tell you, the ultimate coming to Jesus is when He comes to pick us up and take us back to glory, amen? And we’re going to spend a millennium Sabbath with Him. The first 1,000 years is going to be like a Sabbath, to recuperate from this world.

Number nine. Why do religious leaders ignore the Sabbath truth? You know, this is a prophecy. It’s not original, did not happen recently. Why do the religious leaders ignore it? You can read in Mark 7:9, Jesus said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.” Putting aside a clear commandment, it’s not new for religious leaders to favor traditions of their institution rather than the clear commandments of God’s Word. Again, Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” Again, Ezekiel 22:26, 31 [KJV]. He says, “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 mine indignation upon them.”

When God tells us that the Sabbath is His holy day, it’s the Sabbath of the Lord, and we say it just doesn’t matter, how can we say He has our heart when He doesn’t have our time? Let’s face it. It’s easier for some people to give God their money than their time. Many of us probably had fathers where you could give your kids a trinket or a toy, but didn’t have enough time. Love shows that you care by investing time. People say “Lord, Lord,” but they don’t want to give Him the seventh day.

Number ten. What should I do about the Sabbath truth? How should I respond to these things? Well, Jesus tells us in John 14:15, “If you love Me,” do what? “keep My commandments.” He wants us to show our love for Him by keeping them. And furthermore, the Lord says in John 13:17 [KJV], “If ye know these things, happy”—does He say miserable?—“happy are ye if ye do them.”

Why am I sharing these things with you? To make problems? It doesn’t say there aren’t problems in following the Lord. But ultimately, you will be much happier. I had a person that came to a presentation like this, and they told me afterward, “Pastor Doug, I wish I had never come!” I said, “Why?” He said, “Because what you said makes sense, and now I know, and I don’t want to change. Now I’m miserable!” I said, “I’ll pray for you, that you’ll continue to be miserable until you surrender.”

The Lord didn’t send it to you to make a problem. He sent it to you because He’s trusting you with truth. And when you take a stand for truth, there’s a blessing that will come from that. Think about it. The worst thing that can happen is that you take a stand for the Sabbath truth, and you get killed for it. And if you die standing for Jesus, what is the next thing you are aware of? Your problems are over. It would be the best thing that ever happened to you, right?

We sometimes think that this life is what it’s all about. This life is preparing for the one that really matters. And we forget and think this is it. This is not it. If we haven’t got time to give Jesus one day a week in seven, how are you going to endure eternity with Him? We don’t have enough faith to get to church once a week. How are we going to have enough faith to get to heaven?

Isaiah 58:13. There are promises that go with it. “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day” (the foot in the Bible, stepping on something, meant disrespect), “and call the Sabbath a delight”—it’s a delight, “the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him”—you are not honoring a church or an institution or a pastor; it’s honoring God, “not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord.” What does God associate with keeping the Sabbath? Delight. “And I will cause you to ride on the high [places] of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.” He’ll cause you to ride on the high places of the earth.

When the children of Israel were getting ready to enter into the Promised Land, God said to Moses, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” The very Promised Land was a symbol of that rest that God was going to give them. But the devil doesn’t want you to have that rest. He wants to keep us so busy with the cares of this life that the day of the Lord overtakes us as a thief. Every Sabbath day we put the brakes on and we recalibrate. We get our priorities straight. And the devil doesn’t want us to do that. Even in God’s remnant church we’re getting very sloppy about how we’re keeping the Sabbath.

As a matter of fact, I’m going to go so far as to say, I’ll bet you that if you go a hundred years back, most Sunday keepers were keeping Sunday better than many Sabbath keepers are now keeping the Sabbath. That’s true! I’ve talked with a lot of folks that are cut from the old cloth. They maybe went on the wrong day, but they were very strict about keeping it. And the devil is now doing to God’s church what he’s done to many others. Let’s face it: a lot of folks go to church on Sunday, then they go to the mall, they go to the movies, they go to the football game, mow their lawn. It’s not even a Sabbath for those who say it’s a different day. Let’s get the day right, but let’s not stop there; let’s keep it holy.

Number eleven. Important question. “How did so many people start keeping Sunday, on the first day of the week?” There is so much I could say on this. This is from the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, on the article on Sunday.

“The earliest recognition of the observance of Sunday as the legal duty, is a constitution of Constantine” (this is Constantine the Great) “enacting that all courts of justice and inhabitants of towns, and workshops were to rest on Sunday.” And they called that the Venerable Day of the Sun, “Venerable Day Solace.” It didn’t have anything to do with the Son of God; it had to do with sun worship and Mithra, with the exception of those who were engaged in agricultural labor. He published the Edict of Milan. He established Sunday as a day of worship. Many of the Christians, who were trying to get in with the new, supposed Christian Emperor, began to little by little drift away from the Sabbath of the seventh day. They were having problems with the Jews, and they wanted to create a separation between themselves and the Jews. So they said, “We’re going to keep the more popular Roman Sabbath,” and they began to distance themselves from the Jewish Sabbath, not because of any scripture, but because of political pressure. It was politically correct to do what the emperor was doing.

You can go right to the Convert’s Catechism of the Catholic Church. They are very honest about this. I could give you a whole plethora of information and history on this. I wish I had more time. As a matter of fact, there is a website called,, and will take you to this very important website that has a lot more history on this subject—all the history, and these quotes that I’m sharing and many more. Let’s go back. Let me finish that Catechism quote. I kind of changed gears while I was thinking about it.

This is a Catholic catechism where they taught with a question and answer format. It says,

“Question: Which day is the Sabbath day?

“Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day.”

The next natural question is,

“Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

“Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”

They freely admitted that. It happened back in the early days of the movement there in Rome, where it originated and spread through the Empire. You can go right to the Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 4, page 153,

“The Church, after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath, or the seventh day of the week” (you notice the Church, not the Bible), “then made the third commandment refer to Sunday” (they did away with the second commandment that has to do with idolatry) “as the day to be kept holy as the Lord’s day.”

It is so clear from history. The big question is, why won’t Bible Christians take a stand? So many Christian movements have come out of the Dark Ages, back to the Bible, but they stop with one of God’s commandments, the one that deals with the love relationship and giving God your time and your life.

The Bible foretold in prophecy the beast power would think to change times and laws. There is only one law that is a law and a time. That’s the Sabbath commandment. Am I right?

I don’t have a lot of time for this next question. Maybe we’ll do this during our question time tomorrow, but I’m going to read it to you. “How do I keep the Sabbath day?” What are some practical things that we should do or not do to keep the Sabbath day? I’d better stop right there.

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