Sabbath Question


Should New Testament Christians keep the Sabbath?

This question continues to be asked.  It was answered a long time ago. The scriptures deal very plainly with this question.  The bible is always pure and easy to understand when you don’t have a religious heresy to defend.  I have seen some very long articles about the Sabbath.  It requires a long explanation when you want people to do what you want them to do instead of what God wants them to do.  Preachers and teachers must use very long explanations to teach a heresy.  The basic rule of thumb is “The bigger the error, the longer the explanation.”  I will keep my comments to a minimum because the bible speaks for itself and is easy to understand.

Acts 15:1-6
1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.

4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.


Command Them to Keep the Law of Moses

You notice in verse 5 the Pharisees said “to command them to keep the law of Moses.”  It was not just circumcision, but the law of Moses that they wanted the New Testament Christians to keep. Verse 6 says “the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.” What “matter” were they talking about? The “matter” was the question if New Testament Christians should be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. The law of Moses would obviously have included circumcision, the keeping of the Sabbath and Passover and many other things.


Acts 15: 6-11
6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.


In the verses above Peter being very practical says, God put no difference between us (the circumcised Sabbath keepers) and the Gentiles (the uncircumcised Sabbath breakers) when He gave them the Holy Ghost. In other words Peter says, “Would God have given the Gentiles the Holy Ghost if He thought they were unclean and needed circumcision or the Sabbath or other parts of the Jewish religion.”


Parts of the Jewish religion taught righteousness which is still valid and will never pass away.  But much of the religion was ceremonial like the keeping of certain days which are not valid today.

Acts 15: 12-21
12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.


Matter is Concluded
The “matter” is concluded in verses 19-21.  Out of the whole Jewish religion, they write just a few things the Gentiles must observe and the Sabbath is not mentioned.  James then says in verse 21, “of old time the law of Moses is read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.” In other words, If the Gentiles had wanted to keep the law of Moses they could have been doing so from long ago.


Is the Sabbath Optional?
I have heard the Sabbath taught in a way like obedience was optional.  You could obey and make God happy or not obey and God would overlook it.  This is not the way the Kingdom of Heaven works.  You do not have an option to obey or not to obey God’s commandments.  God expects obedience of everyone. 


Complete in Christ Without the Sabbath
In Colossians chapter 2 the Apostle Paul describes how the New Testament Christian is complete in Christ without keeping the Jewish religion.  In verse 16 (written below) he specifically mentions the eating of certain foods, circumcision, and holy days like Passover and the Sabbath saying, “Let no man judge you” meaning don’t let anyone make you think you are doing something wrong for not eating a certain way or not observing Passover or the weekly Sabbath.  Can the bible get any plainer than this?


Colossians 2:16-17
16. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 

17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.



The Ten Commandments
Some people get confused about the Sabbath because it is one of the Ten Commandments.  God spoke the Ten Commandments in public to all the people and God spoke many other commandments in private to Moses.  If some of God’s commandments (the priesthood, animal sacrifices, circumcision, the eating of certain foods and so on) spoken in private to Moses are no longer in effect as the bible plainly teaches, then why would it seem so incredible that one of the Ten Commandments (spoken in public) is no longer in effect. Commandments spoken in private are of the same authority as commandments spoken in public.  If what God spoke in private could be changed then why couldn’t the commandments given in public be changed.  Remember Jesus added two commandments and put them at the top of the list for New Testament Christians.  In other words, Jesus made changes to the Ten Commandments.


Read The Ten Minus One Plus Two Equals Eleven Commandments


Note: Eating of blood is strictly forbidden.


Note: The Jewish Religion has passed away (at least for now), but not Old Testament righteousness. Old Testament righteousness has not passed away but will endure forever. Jesus even said, “Your righteousness must exceed that taught in the Old Testament.” (Matthew 5:20)


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