The Sabbath, Pt. 1

Scripture: Exodus 20:8-11, John 15:10, Luke 4:16
Most people would agree that it is a good idea to keep the Ten Commandments. But many overlook the fourth commandment which says, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." Which day is the Sabbath day according to the Scriptures?
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts Ministry, as they now open the Bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hello friend, and welcome to Bible Talk. I'm John Bradshaw, with me is Gary Gibbs. And on Bible Talk we talk about the Bible and what the Bible says to us today. Gary, on Bible Talk, we have discussed the Law of God, the Ten Commandments. I think most people are somewhat familiar with the Ten Commandments and most people would agree that to keep the Ten Commandments is a pretty good idea. But there's one of the Ten Commandments that most people are not keeping.

Gary Gibbs: John, it's the Fourth Commandment. In fact it is the Commandment that says in Exodus 20 Verse 8, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." It's the Commandment that God said to remember that we have forgotten for the most part.

John: Now, as you think about the Sabbath, God said in that Commandment, "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God." Now, He spoke that at Mount Sinai thousands of years ago and the Sabbath was... Given the very first Sabbath was kept right about creation. Now, from then to now, there's been an awful lot of water pass under the bridge. How are we, as mere human beings, to know which day is actually the Sabbath day?

Gary: John the Commandment itself actually tells us which day is the Sabbath. It doesn't end with just Verse 8. We often look at the Ten Commandments that somebody might have hanging on their wall and they usually have an abbreviated version of it. Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. But God actually takes the space in the Ten Commandments to define specifically which day is the Sabbath. Verse nine He says, "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God."

John: Yeah, but what day is that? The seventh day could be any day. It depends on where you start counting. It depends where you are, who you are, how you look at it. Surely, it's difficult for us to know which day actually is the seventh day.

Gary: But John, he didn't say six days you'll labor and choose a seventh day to rest on. He says "the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God." So it's not a Sabbath day that we will choose or a seventh day that we choose. It's the seventh day that He has chosen.

John: Well, how do we know which day was the seventh day that God chose?

Gary: Well, if you continue reading here in Verse 11, He says, "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and he rested the seventh day, wherefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." So the seventh day that He's referring to here takes us all the way back to creation. It's the day on which he rested after he created the Earth in six days.

John: So that's 6000 years ago, how much help is that to me? OK, that's the seventh day God rested on. How do I know down here which day of the week is that - it could be a Friday, it could be a Tuesday, it could be a Saturday or Sunday.

Gary: Well, let me ask you a question. Would God command you to do something that he didn't give you enough information for you to do?

John: I don't know. I don't suppose He would.

Gary: No, because that would just be tantalizing us. So, if He says "Remember a specific seventh day and it keep it holy," then He's going to allow us to know which day it is.

John: Well, where to I go to find out just which day that very seventh day is that God was referring to?

Gary: You know, all we need to do is go back to Jesus. Jesus said in John 15:10 "I have kept my Father's commandments and I abide in His love." So Jesus was a commandment keeper.

The Bible says in Luke 4:16 "that on the Sabbath day, Jesus went to the synagogue as His custom was."

John: Well, He was Jew. You know the Jews back then kept their commandments and the Jews went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day. So Jesus would and that was then and this is now.

Gary: Yeah, but John, are you saying that only the Jews should be keeping the Sabbath?

John: Well, if I did say that, Gary, I wouldn't be alone. A lot of people are saying the Sabbath, a lot of people believe it, the Sabbath was for Jews.

Gary: Well, then are all the Ten Commandments only for the Jews?

John: No.

Gary: The Sabbath Commandment is part of the ten. It's number four.

John: So you can't have nine for everybody and one for the Jews. Is that what you're saying?

Gary: That's exactly what I'm saying.

John: How do we know the Sabbath is for everybody?

Gary: Well, you're saying it's only for the Jews and you say you're not alone in that, but you wouldn't be with Jesus because listen to what Jesus said in Mark 2:27. "The Sabbath was made for man." So He doesn't say the Sabbath was made for Jews. He says the Sabbath was made for man. The original Greek language there intends mankind.

John: So it's for everybody according to what the Bible says.

Gary: The Sabbath was made for everyone just like the Ten Commandments are for everyone.

John: Now, back to the question we're really picking up on here and that is, which day is the seventh day Sabbath day? Because you've got people who reckon Friday is the holy day, some who say Saturday, others who say Sunday. Many people say it doesn't matter. Some say I just pick my day and because Wednesday is the day off from the office or whatever, that's the Sabbath day. How do we know from the Bible which day is the seventh day Sabbath?

Gary: There are a number of ways, John, that we can know. But you asked the question specifically, how do we know from the Bible. I think that it's as easy to find the Sabbath day, which is the true Sabbath day, as is it to find cheese on a grilled cheese sandwich. Where do you find cheese, John, on a grilled cheese sandwich?

John: It's been a long time since I've had one. I guess it's [chuckle] . You tell me man you're the expert in grilled cheese sandwiches.

Gary: You find the cheese between two slices of bread.

John: Oh, OK. Is that where you find it?

Gary: That's where you find it.

John: Because... All right, sure.

Gary: Now, watch where you find the Sabbath. Luke 23. Jesus died on which day of the week?

John: Well, we say today Good Friday.

Gary: That's right. And which day did he resurrect on?

John: Easter Sunday.

Gary: On Easter Sunday. Now, watch what happened on Good Friday. He died in Luke 23:54 after it records that "they took the body of Jesus down off the cross," we read that day was the preparation, the day on which He died. "That was the preparation day and the Sabbath drew on." And now we read on verse 55, "that the women and His followers they laid His body in the tomb." And then verse 56 "they rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment." Now, which commandment do you think it's referring to?

John: Surely, that's got to be the commandment that says, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."

Gary: It is. And then on verse one of chapter 24 it says, "Now, upon the first day of the week very early in the morning, the women come back to the tomb to finish the embalming process of Jesus body." They were not anticipating His resurrection at that stage.

John: That was Easter Sunday morning...

Gary: That's Easter Sunday morning. So what you have is the day Jesus died on is called the preparation day.

John: And everybody knows that to be Good Friday.

Gary: That's Good Friday. And then the first day of the week, the day is the day on which he was resurrected.

John: Easter Sunday.

Gary: And then what falls in between?

John: Between Friday and Sunday is Saturday.

Gary: It's Saturday. And the Bible calls that the Sabbath day. So it's as easy as cheese on a grilled cheese sandwich. It's between the two pieces of bread. It's between Friday and Sunday, Saturday is the Sabbath according to the Bible.

John: Well, that's pretty clear in the book of Luke. Do we have any other evidence that would go with that?

Gary: We really do. You can go to astronomy and you can ask the astronomers who really are the official time keepers for the world. They have been asked numerous times which day is the Sabbath or which day is the seventh day of the week. Has there been any breakup in the continuity of the weekly cycle? They will tell you no, that the same weekly cycle we have today was used back in Jesus time and all the way back in antiquity. You can look to a calendar and on most calendars you will find that Sunday is the first day of the week. Saturday is the last day of the week. We call that the weekend.

John: Yeah, but what about this calendar changes that might have been made way back in the Bible. You know, the Sun stayed up in the sky, God kept it there, it didn't set and all these kinds of things. Does that impact the seventh day as we know it today or not?

Gary: No, it really doesn't because a day according to Genesis one is an evening and a morning. It's from the setting of the sun to the setting of the sun. So the day is a little longer in one part of time than another, it doesn't really matter, because the day ends when the sun sets.

John: So the weekly cycle is what we're looking at here? And that's never been interfered with or tampered with or broken at any time?

Gary: No, there's only been one calendar change and that calendar change did not affect the weekly cycle.

John: OK, so Saturday still followed Friday, which followed Thursday and so on.

Gary: That's right. Now, you can also go to the dictionary and if you look up Saturday, it will tell you the definition for Saturday is the seventh day of the week.

John: OK.

Gary: It's very clear in the dictionary. You can go to over 108 languages of the world and you'll discover that in those languages, what they call Saturday, actually are the word Sabbath. For instance, in Spanish it's Sabado, or Sabado I think it is in Spanish, isn't it? In Italian, it's Sabato. I just recently came back from Africa and in Africa, do you know what they call Saturday?

John: No, you tell me.

Gary: Memenada which means "Gods Day." And literally translated it means the "I am that I am's day. The name of God." That's what they call Saturday. They have an interesting tradition in this part of Africa. They actually name the children based on the day of the week upon which they were born. Like Friday is coffee. And so Saturday is Quami. And Quami means "God's child." Quasi, which is for Sunday, means "white man's day." So every child born on Sunday is named Quasi which means "white man's day."

So before the white man missionaries came to Africa and taught them to keep Sunday holy, they already knew, the Africans already knew that Saturday was the "I am that I am's day" and it was enshrined and it still is enshrined in their language today.

John: Well, what you've alluded to here is that somewhere along the line there's been a change in this thing. In the minds of many that change was made by the followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus kept the Sabbath, He was a Jew, you would expect him to do that. Then after he died, everything changed. Now we have a new worship day.

Gary: But that's not true. If you go back and just go through the New Testament, John. You look at the Apostles and see which day of the week they kept. Let me give you a number of texts.

Acts 13:42-44. The Apostle Paul is preaching to the Gentiles on the Sabbath day. They said we want to hear more. He said come back the next Sabbath day and on next Sabbath all the city was gathered.

John: Maybe that's just because they preached in synagogues and their synagogues were open on the Sabbath.

Gary: No, because to got to Acts 16 Verse 13, Paul goes to Philippi where there wasn't a synagogue and it says that he found people out by the riverside. He went to the riverside and there he preached the Gospel to them on the Sabbath day. You go to Acts 17:1-4, Acts 18 Verse 4. You'll find there it says "that Paul kept the Sabbath as his custom was." In fact we have over 80 Sabbaths, 84 Sabbaths, recorded in the book of Acts itself that the Apostle Paul and the others kept.

John: So the Sabbath according to the word of God, the seventh day Sabbath that God asked us to remember and keep, is the day we call Saturday. Someone's sitting here saying, "What's the big deal? Why does it even matter?"

Gary: Well, I believe the reason it matters is because God said, "Remember the Sabbath day." When God says remember something, we should remember it. We can list a host of reasons, the practical reasons, why we should remember the Sabbath day. It's the day that God blessed and there's a blessing in the Sabbath that you won't get in any other day of the week. So as we rest on the day that He commanded one we recognize that He's the Lord. We're going to obey Him. And in recognizing that, obeying Him, we get a special blessing.

John: Now some people will appeal to the Bible and say there are verses in the Bible that indicate that now there is a new worship day that the first day of the week is the Sabbath or the Holy day of the Bible. We'll look at that next time we meet. Don't miss our next study. I'm John Bradshaw. Join me and Gary Gibbs for more next time on Bible Talk. [music]

John: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible Study Guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject, including information you'll want to know. To receive this free informative Bible Study Guide, simply call, write or email and ask for BT107, Don't Be Fooled.

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