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Is Keeping the Sabbath Still Necessary?


The ceremonial laws of Moses that specified various practices of sacrifice and cleansing were not nailed to the cross. These laws were written by a man, as dictated by God, and were proven to be inadequate for salvation because they had no power to forgive sins - but they did have power to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and establish good relationships between people. The Ten Commandments are still in effect - all of them. So what was nailed to the cross in Colossians 2:14?


The Ten Commandments were written by the finger of God. Moses wrote down the Mosaic (ceremonial) law as dictated by God.


The Ten Commandments were made to be kept by those who believe in God. The Fourth Commandment is one of those commandments. Isaiah chapter 56 shows that this is not just for the Jews, but is something for any who seek the truth and consider themselves followers of God.

Everyone knows that it is a sin to murder or steal, but some imply by the way they way they live their lives that it is OK to do so because, "if we repent, Jesus will cover our sins." I agree, in general. However, if we murder or steal, confess, then go out and do it again and again, are we still OK? I suggest that once we repent, we no longer want to break the law, and that is how we respect God. That doesn't mean that we think the law will save us, it just places a line for us to follow.

Not nailed

For those who say the law was "nailed to the cross", I assume that they refer to Colossians 2:14. If you read the translation of the Greek, you find that the deserved curse of our sins, recorded against us because of our sins, has been nailed to the cross - not the law itself which defines the sin. If we accept the sacrifice of Christ and follow him, then the curse no longer applies to us. To look at it the other way, that Christ did away with the law, this makes Him a liar - since He said he had not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it.

"Fulfill" means what?

Of course, some say that to fulfill something means to finish it or do away with it. If you make brakes for a car with that in mind, the second time you need them - they are not there! They fulfill their purpose every time they are used. If you look further at this doing away with the law, what about those who have not met Christ? They still need the law to identify sin, so they know what not to do to provoke the curse.

Now, let's take another step and look at things from the point of view that Christ did do away with the law. If it is now OK to no longer necessary to keep the Sabbath, or even the new Sunday "sabbath", because the law no longer applies to us, then is it OK to break any of the other nine commandments? If so, which ones? You say this is silly, but what is the difference? If you refer to the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT translations, you cannot find one place in the Bible where it says that believers are not expected to keep the Sabbath. You definitely cannot find any places where it says that the Sabbath was discarded and replaced by Sunday worship!

Jesus broke the Pharisaical idea of the Sabbath

I had one fellow tell me that Jesus Himself was breaking the Sabbath, and that's why the Jewish leaders were trying to dispose of him. However, when you read the entire text, you find that Jesus was doing the work of God - healing and teaching the will of God. He was breaking the Pharisaical concept of the Sabbath, but Jesus told them they were doing the same themselves when they showed compassion on their own animals on the Sabbath. He also said that He was doing only what He saw God the Father doing. One who is doing the will of the Father cannot be breaking the will of the Father. Otherwise, breaking the will of the Father in regard to the Sabbath means that God lied when he said that the Sabbath would be a covenant with the people of God forever, or that Jesus was a sinner. Neither of these can happen - so...

The "new" idea of the Sabbath

My wife has learned of an author of Christian books with a Jewish understanding of the Bible. He is a Jewish rabbi by the name of Jonathan Cahn who runs a program called Hope Of The World. He has his own church, called Beth Israel, and records his preaching services. You would think that his focus would be on the Jewish-Christian aspects of the Bible, which it is. You might also think that he would pass that to his congretation, but that does not seem to be the case. He keeps the Sabbath, and pretty much follows the Bible, but does not pass that understanding to his Gentile congregation. While I have not discussed this with him personally, we have asked some of his congregation members if they keep the Sabbath day. They do not. Here is how they explained it to us in an email:

In answer to your question about the Sabbath, in our congregation, Beth Israel, we have service on Friday night, which is the beginning of the Biblical Sabbath. The Biblical Sabbath begins on Friday night and ends Saturday at sundown. We also have services on Sunday mornings.

We must do all things in freedom. In the New Covenant we are free to do or not do. We are to have the Sabbath in our hearts every day. We must be free to worship God at all times, on all days. The Lord looks beyond the outward things to the heart, more than for the right day. We must always center our focus on the central focus of the Bible, which was not the Sabbath of the Lord, but the Lord of the Sabbath.

For those who keep the Sabbath, it is to be done in freedom and as a joy centered on God, in Messiah. For those who don't, we must not judge, but trust that Messiah, Lord of the Sabbath, is the Sabbath peace of their lives. "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." (Col. 2:16-17)

"One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. [6] He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord." (Ro. 14:5-6a)

May the Lord bless you, keep you always, and continue to fill you with His shalom, as you look to Him in all things.

Not even the meaning of the verses?

Attending Friday night services does not entail keeping the Sabbath as God commanded.They know when it starts and ends, but that comment says they don't have to keep it if they don't want to. I don't remember that part of the fourth commandment.

Colossians 2:16 is speaking of the things that all followers of Christ were actually doing, as well as the Jews. Paul was telling them to stick to their guns and follow the ways of God regardless of your being persecuted for doing so. He wasn't telling the Gentiles that it was OK to continue to worship Thor or Ashtoreth (Easter) as the pagans were doing.

And Romans 14 is speaking of "disputable matters" (verse 1, same chapter) which has never included the Sabbath - the fourth commandment. I mean, how can you tell God that you are convinced in your own mind not to follow one of His commandments? Also, if you say that those commandments were only given to the Israelites, then I guess you can go ahead and worship Thor and Ashtoreth, violating the first commandment. Come to think of it, many "Christians" do worship Easter. Go ahead, but I'll wait over here out of the way.

Another point on this Sunday matter. Some say that since the Bible says that Jesus broke the Sabbath, it means He broke the Sabbath, and therefore does not mean that He only broke the "extra" laws of the Pharisees. You claim that to say otherwise is to make things up. If you take that stand, explain why people keep Sunday. The closest you can get is to say that even though the Apostles kept Sabbath, as was their custom and in direct obedience to God, the fact that Jesus rose on Sunday means that we should keep Sunday - but without any hint from God to do so. I use your own stand - nowhere does the Bible say that, so you are making things up.

Just where are we told to keep Sunday?

The first day of the week is mentioned for only eight events in the new testament. Five of those are descriptions of the discovery of the empty tomb. No mention of a new day of rest happens here. Two of the others are descriptive of times when the apostles were gathered and worshipping on the first day of the week. I am sure glad there was no mention of them gathering on Wednesday or we would have a whole new series of churches. In fact, I am certain that they worshipped on every day of the week. One even mentions that Paul was speaking on the first day of the week because he was planning to leave the next day. I don't remember him saying that, from now on, you will no longer worship on Sabbath because he was speaking on "the first day of the week". However, none of this has anything to do with changing the day of rest called the Sabbath. Now, count the number of times the Sabbath is mentioned in the New Testament.

The first of the sabbaths...

Now, let's address the phrase "the first day of the week". The phrase in the new testament is actually "the first day of the weeks". The time of the resurrection was after the Passover celebration, the beginning of a period of 7 weeks plus one day culminating in the Pentecost (the fiftieth day). The people of the time referred to the period as "the weeks". The day the empty tomb was discovered? The first day of the weeks. This is not a day that occurs once a week but once a year. Now, if this was the new day of worship, then we only have to worship one day a year - the first day of the period between the Sunday after Passover and Pentecost.

But, you say, what about the reference to the phrase "the Day of the Lord" or the "Lord's Day"? In every case, when you see this phrase in the Bible, Old Testament or New, it is talking about the future - specifically the Day of God's Wrath. The context is never speaking with reference to a weekly day of worship. The Lord's Day is the day or period of time when He comes back and takes charge, much to the chagrin of those who would not listen.

So, is keeping the Sabbath necessary? God, in a direct commandment, said do it, so it must be good for us to do so.

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Sabbath Discussions::

Nailed to the Cross?
Which Day is the Sabbath?
Is Sabbath Keeping Necessary?
Early Christians and Sunday



Sabbath - Opposing View

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