Should Christians keep Sabbath on Saturday

Rule 4: Sabbath Keeping

Posted by danieljkoren on September 16, 2011 in Devotional |

Many believers are asking, “Should Christians keep Sabbath on Saturday?” The answer is simple. Here’s a verse used to promote Saturday Sabbath-keeping:

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)

What God meant by the rule

The people of Israel were not to earn an income or spend time on trivial jobs on Saturdays. They were to take the day off and worship the Lord. Beginning at sun-down on Friday, they had a special meal and worshipped the Lord. During the Sabbath day, they would meet for prayer and discussion of the Torah. This sacred day ended at sun-down.

Sabbath-keepers are wrong

Some Christians think they are approaching spiritual nirvana by keeping the Law of Moses. Since the Ten Commandments say to observe the Sabbath, they think they are getting closer to God by reserving Saturday as the day to have church.

The first flaw with this thinking is the assumption that the Law of Moses was for everyone. Only Israel was required to keep this covenant. Through the prophets, God made it clear that He worked with other countries differently. In the new covenant, OT Law, circumcision, and the keeping of Sabbaths amount to nothing (Colossians 2:16-17). In fact, these religious traditions prevent people from finding the fullness of Christ. Throughout the New Testament, Christ and Moses are contrasted against each other, not as pursuing the same goal (John 1:17). Moses’s legality drove Israel to the mercy of Christ’s cross (Galatians 3:24-25).

The second error here is thinking that we know which day is the Sabbath. Although Saturday was the original Sabbath, we do not know we have the exact record of this day on our calendars. When Israel went into exile, they had to live by the calendar of countries with who did not follow God’s calendar. In fact, a group of Jews attacked another sect of Jews in the first century and won because of this confusion. One group kept Saturday as Sabbath, the other kept Friday as Sabbath because they claimed to have the right day by their chronology. Since a Jew could not fight on a Sabbath, the Saturday-keepers defeated the helpless Friday-keepers.

Third, you simply cannot keep the Sabbath. You have to do work of some sort. Jewish farmers still had to milk the goat and feed the donkey on Saturdays. Any Sabbath-keeping religion eventually goes legalistic with what can and cannot be done on a Saturday (or Sunday). Some say you cannot work on the Sabbath, but if your job requires you to come in to work on that day, make sure you put the full day’s paycheck in the church offering.

Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Even though He kept Sabbath as a Law-abiding Jew (the only person ever to keep the whole Law and so fulfill every letter of it), He did not let the legalists guilt Him out of breathing on the holy day.

Sunday is not the Sabbath

Knowing that Christians should not have to keep Saturday as Sabbath, some demand that Sunday be a day of rest and worship. They may think they get this from the Bible. However, they borrow it from Catholic decrees. God did not make Sunday the Sabbath, the Roman Catholic Church did. Generation-old “blue laws” enforced this cultural tradition.

Yes, the first believers did meet on the first day of the week to celebrate the resurrection. However, Jews always met on the Saturday Sabbath. Paul and other apostles used this to their advantage in evangelizing the Jews on their holy day without conflicting with the church’s own schedule of worship. No apostle or church member, however, thought of Sunday as the Sabbath. They were not trying to keep Sabbaths or any other Jewish holiday.

Non-Sabbath-keepers are wrong, too

So, we see that Christians should not keep Sunday or Saturday Sabbath. Some believers say we should not keep Sabbath at all. This is wrong, too. God wants us to keep Sabbath, but is far different and better than just a “day” of rest.

God wants us to enter His rest (Isaiah 28:11-12; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4). The rest He now offers is life in the fullness of His Spirit. It is not a rest from physical labor, but from slavery to the Law. We cannot work out our own righteousness. We enter His righteousness by His blood, His name on our lives through baptism, and the heavenly gift of His Spirit in us.

It is important to let your body rest one day of the week. It is important to set aside a day for worship and reflection on God’s goodness. It is far more important to live every day in the abundance of His Rest as He flows in your life with righteousness, peace, and joy.


Many believers are asking, “Should Christians keep Sabbath on Saturday?” The answer is simple. Here’s a verse used to promote Saturday Sabbath-keeping:

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  • In Christ says:

    We are God’s people and he speaks to us through the Bible so that will understand his love for us. He created on the first six days and then before their were people he sanctified the seventh day. How can you tell your children:
    I’ll take my day of rest on sunday and you take it any other day of the week. If you have plans on my day of rest I’ll just “change” my day of rest to monday for my convenience or vice versa.

    Just like the Bible, God will not let the Moral Law parish, so His day of rest will not be done away with. Jesus said, “I can guarantee this truth: Until the earth and the heavens disappear, neither a period nor a comma will disappear from Moses’ Teachings before everything has come true.” Matthew 5:18 Has earth and heaven passed away? Has Jesus come back for us, yet? No, but we know that one day he will.

    Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, “The laws of the Jews are commonly divided into moral, ceremonial, and judicial. The moral laws are such as grow out of the nature of things, and which cannot, therefore, be changed – such as the duty of loving God and his creatures. These cannot be abolished, as it can never be made right to hate God, or to hate our fellow-men. Of this kind are the ten commandments, and these our Saviour has neither abolished nor superseded. The ceremonial laws are such as are appointed to meet certain states of society, or to regulate the religious rites and ceremonies of a people. These can be changed when circumstances are changed, and yet the moral law be untouched. A general in an army may command his soldiers to appear sometimes in a red coat and sometimes in blue or in yellow. This would be a ceremonial law, and might be changed as he pleased. The duty of obeying him, and of being faithful to his country, could not be changed.”
    Peace be with you!

    • danieljkoren says:

      I do not take a day off out of religious reasons but because my body needs to recoup. I live in the Rest promised from creation. Study Isaiah 28:11-12 and Hebrews 3:7-4:11. The Rest was not a day (Sabbath) or a place (Promised Land). This Rest is life in His presence–we can partake of this by the gift of His Spirit now and then forever in eternity. To keep Sabbath you must live in His Spirit.
      On the idea of dissecting the Law of Moses into what you want to follow for your culture, that sounds hypocritical. Mr. Barnes failed to mention that the Law of Moses is not categorical at all. In the same passage it can refer to laws about incest and animal sacrifice or adultery and not wearing linen with wool. If you keep the moral law and not the whole law are you not guilty of breaking it all? To break one rule is to break it all. I am thankful Jesus did not let one dot or dash of the Law fall to the ground. He fulfilled it all–and then nailed that handwriting of ordinances to the cross.
      The law of the Sabbath says you are not to kindle a fire on Saturday. Is this cultural or moral? Pity the folks in Alaska.
      Thank you for responding and promoting healthy discussion.

  • In Christ says:

    Correction: Before there was the nation of Isreal people, He blessed and sanctified the seventh day…

    • danieljkoren says:

      Yes, He did. But it was not until Moses that a law came that a person could not work on that day.

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