Seven Reasons Why I Keep the Seventh-Day Sabbath

By Frank Brown

 

It seems that almost the entire world keeps Sunday. At least, almost the whole Christian world does. So why would someone in this "enlightened" New Covenant age, who claims to be following the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, the Savior of the World, the One revealed in the Bible, keep the so-called "Jewish" Sabbath?

But first, a word about names. The Savior's Name is "Yahshua" in Hebrew, the same as Joshua, the successor to Moses. The term we are familiar with, "Jesus," is a Latinized and erroneous transliteration of the Greek "Iesous" ("I" is pronounced "Y" in Greek), or "Yesou." He never heard Himself called "Jesus" simply because there was no "J" sound in either the Hebrew or Greek languages. So, for the sake of accuracy, we will use "Yahshua" (meaning Yahís Salvation) for the Saviorís Name, and "Yahweh" for the name of the Heavenly Father. This Name, YHWH (pronounced Yahweh, according to the Jewish Encyclopedia), was used in the original Hebrew Old Testament approximately seven thousand times. He gave this Name to Himself (Exodus 3:13-16). It was later changed to "the LORD" by superstitious Jews who misunderstood the Third Commandment, and Leviticus 24:16. So each time you read "the LORD" in the Old Testament, it was originally written, "Yahweh."

Now, back to the subject. In Genesis 2:2, God (Heb. "Elohim") ended His work and rested on the Seventh day. Not because He was tired (Isaiah 40:28), but to set this special day apart for man, as we shall presently see. Verse 3 says He blessed THE SEVENTH DAY, and sanctified it. To "sanctify" something means to set it apart for a holy use. Man does not have the authority to transfer, do away with, or in any way change ANYTHING that Yahweh has made holy.

Many people reason that the Sabbath was given only to the Jews, as part of the Old Covenant at Mount Sinai, and therefore is of no effect in the New Covenant. But it was given at creation, as we have just seen. The Israelites were reminded of it again, in Exodus 16:25, well before they came to Mount Sinai where the Ten Commandments were given in codified form (Exodus 20:8 and Deuteronomy 5:12). Also, Yahshua our Savior, in Mark 2:27-28, said it was made for man, not just the Jews. It is to be kept in the New Testament age (Matthew 24:20), and will be kept during the one thousand year reign (Isaiah 66:23).

The Sabbath Day is a sign between Yahweh and His people, His True Worshippers. In the New Covenant, that means all who have truly repented of their sins, accepted the Saviorís sacrifice to pay for those sins, and are striving to obey Him (Acts 5:29-32). In Exodus 31:12-17, we find Yahweh Himself speaking, telling Moses, "Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am Yahweh that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for IT IS HOLY UNTO YOU; everyone that defiles it shall surely be put to death..." In verse 16, He calls it a perpetual covenant. Verse 17 reveals it is a sign FOREVER. In verse 18, we see that it was given BY Moses, but written "WITH THE FINGER OF GOD," and given TO Moses. See also Ezekiel 20, verses 12 and 20, where the Sabbath is again shown to be a sign between Yahweh and His people.

In Leviticus 23:32, we find that it is to be kept from "even to even." Deuteronomy 16:6 and Mark 1:21-32 show that "even" begins at sunset. The Jews thought that Yahshua would not heal on the Sabbath, so they waited until sunset, the end of the Sabbath, to come to Him. The Sabbath begins at sunset Friday evening, and lasts until after sunset the following evening.

Now that we know when and what day the Sabbath is, what do we do on that day, to "keep it holy?" Leviticus 23 reveals that it is a day for a "holy convocation," or religious meeting; a day to assemble for worship and fellowship (Luke 4:16 and Hebrews 10:25). Some of the things we should not be doing are revealed in Nehemiah 13:15-22. Please read it for yourself. Basically it is a prohibition against buying or selling on the Sabbath. Some people who think they are keeping the Sabbath think nothing of eating out in a restaurant, or of running down to the gas station to fill the tank before driving to services. This ought not be, and is a direct violation of these Scriptures. The sixth day of the week, Friday, is called the preparation day, and we are to prepare for the Sabbath on that day, as the name implies (Exodus 16:5 and Mark 15:42).

We are also to refrain from any kind of work or worldly entertainment, and devote the day to Him. The Sabbath is NOT a burden, as some suppose, but a time of refreshing, when we are able to put aside our own thoughts and problems, and concentrate on the One who made us and cares for us. Isaiah 58:13 is quoting Yahweh directly. He says that we are not to pursue our business (translated "pleasure" here), or do our own ways, or speak our own words, but remove our foot from polluting (trampling on) His Sabbath, and call it a delight, the "holy of Yahweh," and honorable. He says in the next verse that blessings from Him will be the result of our obedience.

Yahshua said in Mark 2:27-28, that the Sabbath was made for man, "and not man for the Sabbath: therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath." Note that He is Lord of the Sabbath, not Sunday; therefore, the Sabbath is the "Lord's Day," NOT the first day, Sunday. It was His custom to keep the Sabbath by attending worship services on that day (Luke 4:16).

"But," some will argue, "that was before the New Covenant went into effect. All that changed at the death and resurrection of Yahshua." Well, did it? Let's see. In Acts 13:14, we find Paul and his friends in Antioch, YEARS after the resurrection and ascension of the Savior; YEARS after any changes should have long-since been made, going into a synagogue on the Sabbath day. Paul preached them a strong sermon concerning Yahshua the Messiah (vss. 15-41). Note in verse 42, he was teaching both Jews and Gentiles (Greeks), and they, the Gentiles, asked him to come back the NEXT SABBATH and teach them some more. Now, if Paul wanted to teach Sunday observance, here was his golden opportunity. All he had to do was tell them it was not necessary to wait a whole week, they could meet the very next day on "the Lord's day." But he did not do that. Verse 44 reveals that "and the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of Yahweh."

There are other examples of New Testament Sabbath keeping. A few are: Acts 16:13; Acts 17:2 (Paul spent three Sabbaths there); and Acts 18:4-11, where he spent a year and a half in Corinth teaching both Jews and Gentiles. The fourth chapter of the book of Hebrews is talking about Sabbath observance. Note verse 9, which states "there remaineth therefore a rest to the people of Yahweh." The word translated "rest" is "Sabbatismos" in Greek, which means "a keeping of Sabbaths." Check this in your concordance or Bible dictionary.

In the famous Olivet prophecy, recorded in Matthew 24, Yahshua warned His followers to pray that their flight from the prophesied coming destruction of Jerusalem be "not in the winter, NEITHER ON THE SABBATH DAY:--" (verse 20). This clearly shows that He knew full well that the Sabbath was not to be "done away" or changed to some other day. Jerusalem was not destroyed until 69-70 CE, about 39 years AFTER He had been resurrected and had ascended to heaven. Certainly everything that was going to be changed after His death, had long since gone into effect. And it is just as certain that a change of the Sabbath was not one of them.

A prophecy in Isaiah 66:23 reveals that during the 1,000 year reign of the Messiah here on earth, the Sabbath will still be the proper day to meet and worship Yahweh. "---and from one Sabbath to another, shall ALL FLESH come to worship before me," saith Yahweh.

WHEREFORE SUNDAY, THEN?

Then where did Sunday come from, and how did it gain such a foothold? Briefly (there are literally reams of information on this subject), Sunday had been observed for thousands of years by pagans as the day upon which they worshipped their gods, chief of which was the sun. Thus its name, Sun-Day. When the Roman empire was expanding and conquering these pagan lands, they for the most part let the pagans keep their religious customs. The Romans themselves were pagan, and worshipped, among a host of others, their emperor as a god. However, after the Roman church became larger and more influential, eventually the Roman Empire adopted a form of Christianity. The emperor Constantine (a sun-worshipper himself before his supposed conversion to Christianity) at the Council of Nicea in 325 CE decreed that henceforth there would be no more "Judaizing." The people were commanded to work on Saturday and observe "the day of the Invincible Sun," Sunday, as the day for religious worship. Most did. But thousands, who realized that the truth was being suppressed, continued to meet secretly on the Sabbath.

And so gradually, over a period of several centuries, Sunday came to be accepted by the masses as the proper day for worship. And, since their religion is supposed to be based on the Bible, Sunday-keeping denominations have naturally tried to justify its observance from the Scriptures. Let's examine the three chief Scriptures that most quote.

Of course, the word "Sunday" does not appear in the Bible, but "first day of the week" does - a total of eight times. The first six are in Mat. 28:1, Mark 16:2 and 9, Luke 24:1, John 20:1 and 19. All of these deal with the events just after the resurrection of Yahshua.

The other two occurrences, the ones used to "prove" that the Sabbath has been changed to Sunday, are found in Acts 20:7, and 1 Cor. 16:2. They also quote from Revelation 1:10, where John said "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day---." Let's take these Scriptures in context, and see just what they DO prove:

Acts 20:7, and upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight."

If you will read verses 1-6, you will see that Paul was on one of his missionary journeys, and had come to Troas, where he had spent the past seven days. Remember that Biblical days begin and end in the evening. This was a Saturday night meeting. Paul was leaving in the morning, so they met to eat a meal together and hear Paul speak one final time before he left. That is why he spoke until midnight. If this had been a Sunday morning service, Paul's sermon would have been at least 13 or 14 hours long. It is ridiculous to suppose that Paul would have spoken for such a long time. Also, the expression "break bread" simply means to eat a meal - NOT take communion, as some suppose.

1 Corinthians 16:2, "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as Yahweh hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."

This verse is used by the Sunday churches not only to justify Sunday worship, but also as a command to take up an offering every Sunday morning. Often it is printed on the back of the little offering envelopes that are passed around every Sunday morning in many churches. But we need to get the context here. In verse one, Paul said, "Now concerning the COLLECTION FOR THE SAINTS, as I have given order to the Assemblies of Galatia, even so do ye." In Acts 11:27-30, we find that a famine had struck in Judea, and many of the SAINTS who dwelt in and around Jerusalem were in desperate need - of food, not money. It was a relief effort (vss 29-30). First Cor. 16:3 shows clearly that their offerings were to go to Jerusalem, and that it would take several men to carry it. You see, it was not money they were collecting.

Turn to Romans 15:22-28. In verse 25, Paul said he was going to Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. Verse 26 shows what he was taking - a contribution that had been made by the Assemblies of Macedonia and Achaia - and verse 28 shows that it was FRUIT! Food! Produce!

They were to go out into the fields and orchards and gather produce to be sent to the Assembly members at Jerusalem. This would be work! Far from commanding them to gather for a worship service, Paul was asking them to prepare a relief shipment of food on a work-day, Sunday. And why? "So there be no gatherings when I come." Paul wanted to be able to visit and spend the time with them.

Revelation 1:10, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,---"

You will note that neither Sunday nor the first day of the week are mentioned here. Yet, Sunday-keepers are nearly unanimous in declaring that "the Lord's day" refers to Sunday, without one shred of proof. What, then, does it mean? What was the Apostle John saying?

The Book of Revelation is just that - a revealing. It details prophecies that are to occur in our time, and culminate with the return of the Messiah to set up His kingdom here on earth. But just before His return, there is to be a short interval of time called in the King James Bible "The Day of the LORD" (the Day of Yahweh), "that great and terrible day of Yahweh," "Day of Christ (Messiah)," etc. This "day" is spoken of at least 39 times in both the Old and New Testaments, and is the "day" that John was referring to. John simply meant that he was carried forward in vision to that period of time when these things will take place.

Yahshua instructed him to write down and describe the catastrophic events that are to befall a rebellious and self indulgent world on this "day" and which will culminate in the return of the Messiah, Himself. And that is what John was referring to - not a day of the week at all, neither Sabbath nor Sunday, but the time of the end, the GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY OF YAHWEH (Joel 2, Isaiah 13:9, Acts 2:20, 1 Thes. 5:2, II Peter 3:10).

There are simply dozens of Scriptures throughout the Bible that refer to the Sabbath; to its importance in our lives, how it is a pleasure and a benefit for all mankind, how to observe it, benefits to be derived from observance, penalties for breaking it, etc. There is no justification whatever for the idea that somehow the Sabbath got "done away" or changed to Sunday, based on these three Scriptures (and others sometimes used by well-meaning but mistaken Sunday keepers), and to ignore all the other Scriptures that plainly say otherwise.

Then why do people do it? Most people are sincere in their beliefs. But most people are not serious Bible students. There is a vast difference between being sincere, and being right. You can be sincere, and still be dead wrong. It is easier to go along with the crowd and accept what you have always been taught, than to dig into your own Bible and prove things for yourself. Satan has deceived the whole world (Rev. 12:9). Yahweh has allowed the vast majority to slumber. Most are blinded to the truth (Romans 11:7-8).

SUMMARY

So, let us sum up what we have learned. My seven reasons for observing the Seventh Day Sabbath are:

1. It was given at creation by the Creator Himself, and thus long predates the ceremonial "Law of Moses".

2. It is a sign between Him and His people.

3. The Savior Himself kept it, and said that He is "Lord" of it (Mark 2:27-28). He is our Example.

4. Paul and the Apostles kept it, and taught Jews and Gentiles alike to do likewise.

5. It was kept for hundreds of years by Christians, and was officially changed in 325 CE by a Roman emperor, Constantine, a sun worshipper.

6. True Believers have always kept it, often at the risk of their very lives.

7. It will be kept in the Kingdom when that Kingdom is set up here on earth, and Yahshua will reign with His saints for a thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6 with Rev. 5:10 and Isa. 66:22-23).

We do not have to be deceived any longer. We do not have to go along with the world and its customs. There is only one true religion, only one plan of salvation. That is the one our Creator sent His Son, our Savior, to earth to reveal through the pages of your Bible. He does not allow us to decide for ourselves how or when we will worship Him. He tells us HOW, and He tells us WHEN. Our only choice is WHETHER we will do it His way, or whether we insist that we know better.

It is written in Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25, There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. The question is asked in Ezekiel 33:11, Say unto them, As I live, saith Adonai Yahweh, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for WHY WILL YE DIE, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL?

How will you answer your Maker? May He give us the grace and strength to answer rightly.

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