Christians and the Sabbath: A Recap

On March 30, thousands around the world watched the informative and engaging discussion between Pastor Doug Batchelor, president of Amazing Facts, and radio host Steve Gregg as the two explored the importance of the seventh-day Sabbath for Christians today. More than 600 people joined the live audience, and several thousand more participated in the live broadcast via social media and AmazingFacts.org. Many ministry friends were thrilled to hear God’s Word and the importance of the Sabbath underscored.

If you missed the presentation, click here to watch it!


The evening began with Gregg building the case that while Sabbath was an integral part of the first covenant God made with the Israelites, the day was nothing more than another part of the feasts and other holy days that God gave to the Israelites; according him, the day was to endure only as long as Israel endured. He then pointed to the New Testament and Christ, who came as the fulfillment of the law. According to Gregg, the work of Christ eliminates the need for a moral law because we answer to Him and to His standard of love to God and love to man. This new standard eliminates the need for a Sabbath of any kind for Christians today.

Pastor Doug responded by presenting the foundation of the Sabbath as established at Creation and followed its history through the Exodus to Mount Sinai. He highlighted the importance of the Sabbath Commandment as the keystone of the Ten Commandments, noting that it unites worship to God with rest for man. He continued by sharing Scriptures such as Isaiah 56:6, 7— which identifies the Sabbath as God’s sign for all people, including the foreigners who chose to be a part of God’s covenant people.

Pastor Doug went on to establish how Jesus and His disciples kept the Sabbath while Jesus was on earth. Indeed, three of the four gospels specifically mention how the women waited until after the Sabbath to finish the burial process for Christ after His death. Throughout the book of Acts, the early Christians continued to faithfully meet for worship on the Sabbath day.

In the book of Revelation, God’s end-time people are identified as commandment keepers: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). The Old Testament prophet Isaiah pointed forward to God’s faithful followers meeting each Sabbath for worship in heaven (Isaiah 66:22, 23). Throughout history, the Sabbath has been a central part of God’s plan for His people.

In addressing the issue of the why the Sabbath is still valid for us today, Pastor Doug pointed to the words of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17, 18). He finished his presentation by sharing the benefits of the Sabbath—for rest, for worship, and for blessing.

Each presenter was given ten minutes to answer objections, and Gregg referred back to his original argument that the Ten Commandments are not part of the New Covenant given by Christ. He went on to identify Sabbath keeping as a symbol of bondage that was done away with under Christ. Pastor Doug responded by pointing to several key points: the self-evident truth of the Sabbath given at Creation for all people (Genesis 2) and the fact that it could not be a shadow or symbol because it was given to man before the sin of Adam and Eve. He also cited the importance of the covenant for Gentiles who are grafted into the stock of Abraham (Romans 11).

The final minutes were reserved for questions from the local and online audience. This gave an opportunity for clarification on several points; it also brought up new issues that had not been discussed in the original presentations.

Both Pastor Doug and Gregg gave a final summary at the end of the evening. Gregg maintained his point that the Sabbath is not meant as a literal day of worship for New Testament Christians, but a spiritual rest that is enjoyed every day. Pastor Doug pointed to the fact that the Sabbath commandment begins with the word “Remember” and that God is consistent throughout time. His law is the foundation of His government and character. It was our transgression of His law that required Jesus to come and die for our sins. In the final days of earth’s history, it is God’s truth that will be on trial.

Pastor Doug shared, “I generally shy away from doing these kind of events because they often descend into two doctrinally entrenched people facing off, creating more heat than light. I've heard Steve Gregg on the radio before and had confidence that he would be cordial and respectful in discussing this issue. The Bible presents ironclad evidence that New Testament Christians should continue to observe the Ten Commandments.”

He adds, “I was impressed that people need to hear both sides of the issue so they can be firm in their convictions for this important Bible truth. Since the debate, we have had several people contact us saying they were studying the Sabbath issue and are now convinced because of love for Christ they should keep all Ten Commandments.”

All of us at Amazing Facts pray that this event will bring people closer to Jesus, inspire them to study more in God’s Word, and encourage them to make God’s holy day a priority in their lives. If you would like materials to follow up on this presentation, here are some free resources that are available from Amazing Facts:

Answers about the Sabbath
Sabbath and Feast Days
Sabbath and the Covenant
Does the Day Matter
Sabbath and the Seal of God

Comments

NOTE: If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.