This article presents Jesus’ attitude towards the seventh-day Sabbath, the rest day established by God since Creation:
- Jesus Is The Author of the Seventh-day Sabbath
- Jesus Is The Lord of the Sabbath
- Jesus Kept The First Sabbath
- Jesus Gave The Sabbath to Mankind
- Jesus’ Custom Is To Keep The Sabbath Holy
- Jesus Formally Introduced His Earthly Ministry On A Sabbath Day
- Jesus Magnified The Sabbath Instead of Abolishing It
- Jesus Obeyed The Resting on the Sabbath Even In Death
- Jesus Knew That Even After His Ascension His Followers Will Still Keep The Sabbath
- God Declared That The Sabbath Is His Mark To His Faithful Ones Both From Old Testament To New Testament
- Saints Will Worship Jesus From Sabbath To Sabbath In the New Heavens And New Earth
- God’s Sabbath and Jesus’ Sabbath
Jesus Is The Author of the Seventh-day Sabbath
John 1:3 “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” (ESV)
Colossians 1:16-17 “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (ESV)
The Second Person of the Godhead, Jesus, was the active Agent in the Creation. Thus, it was Jesus who instituted the seventh-day Sabbath right from the beginning. It was He who sanctified, blessed, and made the seventh-day holy.
Genesis 2:2-3 “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” (ESV)
Jesus Is The Lord of the Sabbath
As Jesus is the Author of the seventh-day Sabbath, and so He is the Lord of the Sabbath.
Mark 2:27-28 “And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” (ESV)
The word “made” in that verse is ‘ginomai’ (Gk. γίνομαι), which means “to become or to emerge” which reminds us of the Creation week when Jesus instituted the seventh-day Sabbath. When Jesus set aside that day to be holy and for a good purpose He has humanity in mind–not only the Israelites.
It would be pointless to institute a holy day, a day that is a blessing, and yet will be beneficial to its recipient only after 2,000 years when Israelites came into existence.
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Jesus Kept The First Sabbath
Genesis 2:2-3 “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” (ESV)
Jesus Gave The Sabbath to Mankind
Mark 2:27 “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” KJV
Mark 2:27 “And Jesus concluded, “The Sabbath was made for the good of human beings; they were not made for the Sabbath.” Good News Bible
Mark 2:27 “Jesus finished by saying, “People were not made for the good of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for the good of people.” CEV
The Lord of the Sabbath, the One who instituted it, clearly declared that the Sabbath is made for man (“anthropos” – human being).
Jesus’ Custom Is To Keep The Sabbath Holy
Luke 4:16 “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.”
Jesus’ custom on the Sabbath day is not to do an ordinary carpentry’s work. No, instead He gave us an example, i.e., to study God’s Word and share God’s love to others.
Jesus Formally Introduced His Earthly Ministry On A Sabbath Day
Luke 4:16-30 “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. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Luke 4:20 “And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” KJV
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Jesus Magnified The Sabbath Instead of Abolishing It
Isaiah 42:21 “The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” KJV
That is one of the many prophecies the prophet Isaiah wrote for the Messiah. And Jesus confirmed this in Matthew 5 and all throughout His ministry on earth.
Matthew 5:17-19 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, 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.” KJV
Indeed, ‘abolishing the Sabbath’ (as what false teachers/pastors preach) is not consistent with ‘making the Sabbath honorable’.
In order to protect the sanctity of the Sabbath, men began to formulate ordinances that they think will help people in keeping the Sabbath holy. These added rules are now known as rabbinical laws. As years passed, these rules made the Sabbath-keeping a burden. They misunderstood God’s command in Exodus 20:8-12 and taught that all manners of works, whether good or bad works, should not be done on the Sabbath day. But as a common sense, how can a loving God command us to stop doing good works in a certain day? Definitely, that is not God’s teaching. It was already laid out even in the Old Testament what works are not allowed on the Sabbath day.
Isaiah 58:13-14 “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” KJV
And so one of Jesus’ mission is to clear that misunderstanding of the “do not do any work”, and put us back to the right manner of keeping the Sabbath.
Matthew 12:12 “Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” ESV
Preaching, healing, visiting the needy, and all manners of good works which give God the glory are lawful to do on the Sabbath day. This is consistent with God’s real purpose for the Sabbath. This is Jesus’ example, and that’s what we ought to follow.
Jesus Obeyed The Resting on the Sabbath Even In Death
Luke 23:53-56 “He took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in fine cloth. Then he put it in a tomb that had been cut out of solid rock and had never been used. It was Friday, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and watched how Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb. Then they went to prepare some sweet-smelling spices for his burial. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”
Jesus Knew That Even After His Ascension His Followers Will Still Keep The Sabbath
Matthew 24:16 “Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Jesus was fully aware that even after His ascension to heaven His followers will still keep the Sabbath. And thus He hoped that their fleeing from Judea may not be on a Sabbath day as it will be easier for the Roman soldiers to capture them since they were just in one place worshiping God in the temple on that day. (Note: The destruction of Jerusalem happened in 70 A.D.– many years passed since Christ’s ascension to heaven).
Almost 20 years after the ascension of Jesus, it was still Paul’s “custom” to attend a synagogue to worship God on the seventh-day Sabbath.
Acts 17:2 “So as usual, Paul went there to worship, and on three Sabbaths he spoke to the people. He used the Scriptures to show them that the Messiah had to suffer, but that he would rise from death. Paul also told them that Jesus is the Messiah he was preaching about.” CEV
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God Declared That The Sabbath Is His Mark To His Faithful Ones Both From Old Testament To New Testament
Ezekiel 20:12 “Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them.” ESV
Exodus 31:17 “It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” ESV
The name “Israel” is not only referred to Jacob, but also to his descendants—who became Israel. And Paul made it clear that Christians who are “grafted” are now part of Abraham’s seed–the spiritual Israel.
Galatians 3:29 “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” KJV (See Exodus 19:6).
This mark will be sealed on the faithful’s forehead (Revelation 7:1-3, Hebrew 10:16) through the working of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). Click here for more information on the Mark of the Beast vs. God’s Seal.
And so God’s faithful ones both from Old and New Testament era receive His mark of authority in their lives, and that can be seen outwardly by faithfully keeping God’s holy day.
Saints Will Worship Jesus From Sabbath To Sabbath In the New Heavens And New Earth
Isaiah 66:23 “And it will be, that from new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh will come to give worship before me, says the Lord.”
“New moon to new moon” is a Jewish expression which means “month to month” since they are using a lunar calendar. In the new heavens and new earth, God proclaimed that His saints will worship Him every Sabbath.
God’s Sabbath and Jesus’ Sabbath
Hebrew 4:9-10 “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.”
Those who are experiencing the “Sabbath in Christ” are also being urged to “rest as God did from His”. And so, what is that rest that God did according to the context of the verse?
Hebrew 4:4 “For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.”” ESV
Friends, the rest that Jesus is offering and the seventh-day Sabbath that God made from the very beginning go hand-in-hand. They are in harmony. If it is from God, then it is for our welfare. Once we experience the rest of our souls through Jesus Christ our Lord, the Holy Spirit will convince us to be obedient in all God’s laws and that includes the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath as holy.
“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:11.