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The Sabbath Day
By Ron Harmon
Sabbath—one word that has caused countless wars and controversy throughout time—the impasse that has ended countless lives throughout the ages. The average churchgoing person on the street may not be aware, but the word “Sabbath” is probably the most misunderstood doctrine in the whole Bible and is God’s immutable law. It is also the law that directly leads a person to God and identifies that person as one of God’s own. It is the core doctrine of Christ’s church, it’s the beginning of all knowledge and it leads one to greater biblical understanding. It is the guiding principle for God’s people and the beginning of everyone’s journey to find God. Doctrines may change, but God’s law never does, it’s written in stone for a reason. It tests the loyalty of God’s chosen people, whether they will obey him, or not.
‘What a statement,’ you might be saying to yourself right about now, and you may ask, ‘Can he prove it?’ In going forward with that singular question in mind, it could be the beginning of a journey you may not be able to turn back from. It is a doctrine that can literally change your life. Worshiping on the Sabbath has the ability to change the way you think, act and go forward with your future—but it has to be revealed to a person through Scripture, and that person has to accept the gift of knowledge the Sabbath offers before the truth of this day can truly be unveiled.
The first consideration I ask, do we call ourselves God’s people and worship God on Sunday? Or do we call ourselves God’s people and worship on the 7th day (Sabbath)? One might believe it’s easy to prove that Sunday is the correct day on which Christians are supposed to worship God—that is the most common assumption by believing Christians. Then why is there so much controversy over this easy-to-prove doctrine? Why is there so much dislike over one day or the other? Why do people scorn those that worship on Saturday, and demonize them by calling them hateful names and excluding them from functions and events, even to the point of persecution?
Has it ever dawned on you that somewhere down the line there may be a problem with the core beliefs of Christianity, at least regarding the day of worship? Are you ever curious as to why some folks go to church on Saturday? Regardless of the reason, you picked up this booklet for research, curiosity, or maybe you were just bored and didn’t have anything else to read. You’re reading it now, however, so let’s move forward and see if we can make sense any of this.
In the beginning of Genesis, God created all things in six days. On day one, God created light and made night and day. On day two, God separated the firmament and made the sky and oceans. On day three, God made dry land appear and created plants on the earth. Day four in the Bible says that God created two great lights—one to rule the day and the other to rule the night. It also says that He created stars. On day five, God created water animals (fish) and air animals (birds). On day six, God created all land animals, including Adam and Eve. On day seven, God’s creation was done, and so He created a special day as a memorial for all of eternity so that we will remember His week of creation, calling it the “Sabbath.” God rested on this day, and blessed this specific day above all others. Why? Because God was tired from all the work and needed rest? God had just created a universe! Does He ever need to rest? Or was it something else? Could it have been an example that God wanted all humankind to follow?
The SABBATH was the only day God named throughout all his wondrous 7-day process of creation. One might think that if God wanted the first six days to have names, He might have taken a minute out of his busy schedule and give them to Adam so they would be memorialized throughout time, but God didn’t do that. He would have done us a great favor had He done so. He didn’t because they were days meant for work—not rest, not worship, and they are certainly not holy (set apart). The seventh day, the Sabbath day (the one day God gave a name to) are all of these things and more. Man gave names to months and days, not God. Man created the clock as well, not God. Man’s clock begins at midnight, God’s begins at sundown each day. Days of the week are all named after pagan deities or rituals.
Monday: The name Monday comes from the Old English “Monandæg,” meaning “day of the moon.”
Tuesday: Tuesday comes from the Old English “Tiwesdæg” meaning “Tyr’s day.” Tyr was the Norse god of combat. In countries without a Norse influence, it is the “Day of Mars” (the Roman war god). In French, this translates to “Mardi,” and in Spanish to “Martes.”
Wednesday: This name comes from the Old English “Wodnesdæg” meaning the day of the Woden or Odin, the father of the Gods. It is based on Latin dies Mercurii, “Day of Mercury”; in French to “Mercredi” and in Spanish to “Miércoles.” Germans have renamed this day as “Mittwoch,” which simply means the middle of the week.
Thursday: The original meaning of Thursday comes from the Old English “Þunresdæg,” or “Thor’s day.” Thor was the Germanic and Norse god of thunder. In Germany, the same route leads to “Donnerstag.” Donner can be directly translated to mean thunder. In Latin countries, Thursday was the “Day of Jupiter”; which becomes the French word “Jeudi” and in Spanish to “Jueves.”
Friday: The name “Friday” celebrates the Norse goddess of beauty, Frigg. In Latin, the “Day of Venus” (also the goddess of beauty) leads to “Vendredi” and in Spanish to “Viernes.”
Saturday: Saturday is the only English day of the week to retain its Roman origin as the “Day of Saturn.” In southern Europe, the Catholic Church remembers the Jewish Sabbath in the French name “Samedi” and the Spanish “Sa′bado.” Sunday: The name is quite literally the “Sun’s day.” Attempts by the church to replace this remnant of pagan worship with “the Lord’s Day” failed in northern Europe, but succeeded in southern Europe where “Dimanche” (French) and “Domingo” (Spanish) have their routes in Latin’s “dies Dominica,” which literally translates to “the Lord’s Day.”
The etymology of day names gives us insight into the political and social history of our nations. Europeans in both the North and South have different conventions for naming days of the week, due to the differing influences of the Romans, Saxon and Norsemen, and later, Catholic and Protestant churches. This is where the names of days come from, but you don’t see Sabbath mentioned anywhere in this list. Why is that? Because of traditions, or because we don’t want to look anything like Jewish folks? Look at what God says about the Sabbath in Leviticus 23:1: “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.’ ”
God starts the conversation by telling the world who the Sabbaths belongs to…Him, and He leaves absolutely no question as to its authorship. You can call them Hebrew, Jewish, weird, funny (and anything else you can think of) but in the end and without question, they all belong to God. Just so you’ll have correct information, God’s holy days throughout the year are Sabbaths as well. They’re called Sabbaths and are treated as holy, (set apart). There are preparation days like the weekly Sabbath occurring the day prior to holy days, or “high days” as some like to refer to them. The author continues in Leviticus by listing all of the Sabbaths beginning with the weekly Sabbath. Surprise! It’s the first one God gave to man! Why wouldn’t it be the first one on the list? Of course, it is, and it means more to God than just rest.
Continuing in Leviticus 23 : 3 ‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.
Once again, the author elaborates about who the Sabbath belongs—and once again, it isn’t the Jews. These days were created by God for instruction to man, and they show God’s plan for man. As you go through the year and worship God on each of the holy days, God’s plan and what He is accomplishing here on earth is revealed to you. The Sabbath doesn’t belong to everyone, that’s true. The Sabbath belongs primarily to His people—not only Jews, Americans, English, Africans or any other nations except God’s people. I hope I’ve made that very clear by now, because that is very important to understand. God’s people go beyond a physical nationality. Sure, it was given to a physical Israel fist, but they rejected it, just as Christians today reject it. Today, God has a people that cross all the boundaries of worldly nationalism and extending to the spiritual realm.
In Exodus 31:12, we see: “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’”
You may say, ‘I’m not an Israelite, it doesn’t pertain to me.’ You’re right. If you’re not one of God’s children, you’re not an Israelite. You would be 100% correct, we should want to belong to God, shouldn’t we? Isn’t the whole reason for religion, is to belong to God? To join God in His kingdom after this life is over? Aren’t these the lessons we receive from churches all over this world?
From Romans 2:28: “ A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
Saying one isn’t an Israelite and wanting to belong to God is an option, because it’s a name He put on His people. God’s name on us comes with a recognition that certain things must be adhered to. We are a people bonded by spirit and the blood of Christ in the form of a covenant. This is what makes us Israelites— not because we were born into a physical family with a certain lineage. It also states in Romans 9:6: “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[b] 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.”
Who are the children of promise, those with circumcised hearts and those who will follow God and do His bidding? You, if you’re willing and can put aside old traditions and beliefs to follow God. Put aside those teachings that say Christians aren’t like the Jews or Israelites and they needn’t follow God’s word. The book of Romans has one more lesson on this matter. Romans 8:9 reads: “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
What a great promise, how did we miss this during all the years we spent in Sunday school? You see, we do belong to God and we can be one of His people. We can become part of Israel, but we need His mark upon us and that means we must observe the seventh day Sabbath.
Jesus Christ obeyed the Sabbath and kept it faithfully…the holy days as well. Are we any better than Christ, the creator of this world, the entire universe? I think not! You say “Paul changed the day we worship on according to Acts 20:7: “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting.”
First off, who is Paul that his word should be supersede the word of the Messiah’s? I have a boss, but the people that work alongside me don’t call me and ask what they should do, they call our boss. It should be the same with Christians. They should never take the word of a man, they should verify their beliefs with Scripture. Was Paul really changing the date of worship? Let’s take a look at Scripture once more to see what took place. It says that on the first day of the week, they came together “to break bread.” Fair enough. What does it mean to break bread? Everywhere in Scripture that it says to break bread, it means to have a meal. There are those that want to say the passage in Acts 20:7 is the only place where that phrase means something totally different. Again, I would ask, “Why?”
It also says ‘the first day of the week they came together,’ but when does the first day of the week start? We have clocks that provide us with what time it is, and as a culture, we have determined that days begin and end at midnight, but it wasn’t like that before the invention of the clock. The days in Christ’s and Paul’s time started and ended at sunset. So, as soon as the Sabbath (seventh day) ended, the first day of the week began at sunset. Paul most likely taught all day the Sabbath day into the evening, which was the beginning of the first day of the week—stopping only to eat. The last thing that gives us a clue as to the reason Paul was teaching on the first day of the week is the following statement: “Because he intended to leave the next day.” Paul was on a schedule, and as such was going to share as much time with the people as possible—answering all their questions and concerns as best he could in the short amount of time he had. This is something that is done all the time in the corporate world and the private sector as well. CEOs and others with information will spend time outside of normal meeting parameters to fill in any possible blanks and get as much information disseminated throughout the company as possible. Why on earth would it be any different in the case of a religious leader two 2,000 years ago? The short answer is that it wouldn’t be any different, and Paul probably left on the first day of the week at daylight. Paul most likely would have taught on any day of the week if asked—just like a preacher would today—but would they change the day they worship on because they taught on a different day than Sunday? I think not. It seems to be just another ploy to convince folks that the day had been changed.
Some like to say that Sunday was enacted because Christ rose on the first day of the week, therefore, we all should now worship on Sunday. To my friends who want to call Sunday “the Sabbath,” take note here as well…you claim that Christ rose on the first day of the week (and claim that was a Sunday), yet! Scripture plainly says that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. You can’t have it both ways.
Regardless of what day you call it, follow the scriptures for proof: Matthew 28:1, Luke 24:1-11, John 20:1-10 and Mark 16:1-8. There is no dispute that these verses are about the occurrences on the first day of the week, as they plainly state as much. Let’s take a look at one verse to see what else they do or don’t say.
John 20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
Now let’s look at Luke’s account in Luke 24:1. On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
The last account we‘ll use is Mark 16:1. When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” 8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.[a]
The common theme throughout the verses mentioned above is in bold print. “When the Sabbath was over” is shown in Mark. When was that? Was it midnight? We’ve already talked about days starting and ending during the time of Paul, and established that they ended at sunset… so this could only be at sunset on Saturday (seventh day), or after. It was early on the first day of the week. As it says in John, “While it was still dark,” the sun hadn’t yet risen, or it had just set? Which was it? Either way, they came to the tomb and guess what? No Jesus the Christ! When did he rise? Did anyone see him rise up? No! They never saw Christ rise from the tomb, they simply assumed, once again. When they arrived, the tomb was empty. It simply states, “He has risen.” It does say in Mark 16:9: Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week—which would be after the sun had already rose but had set on the Sabbath the evening before—He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. The word here that is confusing to folks is, “was”. The word was is past tense, meaning he was already risen, but when? The question is this: when did the first day of the week begin? It any time after sunset of Saturday (seventh day)? Combining verses 1, after the Sabbath was over with verse 9, when He rose early on the first day of the week, we can only come to one conclusion. Jesus Christ rose just as the sun set on the seventh day and the first day was beginning. It is the only logical conclusion one can come to. There is absolutely no written account of any eyewitness seeing Jesus Christ rise, and it certainly had already happened before sunrise on the first day of the week.
Last but not least is 1 Corinthians 16:1: Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. 3 And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. 4 But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me. This is somehow supposed to show proof that Paul changed worship from the seventh day to the first day of the week, but once more, who is Paul to change times and laws? Is he an Anti-Christ as it states in Daniel 7:25 by saying: He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute[d] the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time. Does an apostle have any right to supercede Jesus Christ and the Ten Commandments? I say no. The mainstream world of religion today certainly believes that he did. Why else would it throw out ridiculous passages as proof text for unfounded doctrine? The reason he told them to lay something aside on the first day was because it was a work day. They could harvest on that day, but they could not on the Sabbath. They would do the customary work needed to gather these items, they would have refrained from such exercises on the Sabbath, as a Jew, Paul would likely not have traveled on that day.
Jesus Christ stated in Luke 6:1, “Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first[a] that He went through the grain fields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands. 2 And some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” 3 But Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to those with him, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?” 5 And He said to them, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” Does this mean that Jesus somehow advocated disobeying the Sabbath? It certainly did not! What Jesus was conveying was the fact that He was the creator of the Sabbath. Read John 1:1-18, 1 Corinthians 10: 5-20 and Hebrews 1:1-3 and you’ll get a pretty good idea as to who Jesus really was. He was the creator who breathed life into the nostrils of Adam and Eve, he was the God that gave Moses the Ten Commandments (including the fourth commandment in Exodus 20:8: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. He was the creator God who was in a pillar of fire by night and a column of smoke by day, leading Israel into the Promised Land. Here he makes the statement, “I am the master and lord of the Sabbath,” and He saw absolutely nothing wrong with what his disciples were doing. Picking a handful of grain and eating it on the Sabbath was a far cry from harvesting an entire field of grain, but the Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t understand who they were dealing with—conspiring to kill Jesus Christ because he dared correct them in their ill-conceded traditions.
Unfortunately, we have the same situation today. We have a Pharisaical attitude among many churchgoing Christians who unwittingly think they are doing God a favor by persecuting those that keep the Sabbath and God’s laws. The Sabbath is a thorn that has always been a pain in the side of those that advocate Sunday worship, and they can’t seem to shake loose of its shadow. That is because Jesus Christ created the Sabbath and it’s here to stay. It will be the day of worship in God’s kingdom and it will be holy, but Sunday will be no more. It will pass away into obscurity and become just another day… always the first day of the week, and the Sabbath will always be the seventh day—a day of rest and a day to be holy.
The Sabbath day, a time that has been controversial for the past two thousand years. Will it ever change? The answer to that question is, “Yes”. When Christ returns time will once more be set to Christ’s own clock. His days will begin and end at sunset each day. Days will have only numbers, except the 7th day, the Sabbath.
Was the Sabbath purely Jewish or Hebrew at the time of Christ? “Yes.” So what changed? Nothing changed, it was always meant to be this way. Christ and the Father want to save the whole world, not just the Jews. The Sabbath was a commandment for all not just a few, we must obey God, not rejecting His commandments.
Just to add one more thing about the Sabbath at this juncture of the booklet. I felt it was necessary to pass on this thought about this all important subject. “God’s laws are most certainly immutable, unchangeable decrees by Christ Himself. The Sabbath Commandment is Law, they cannot change, nor will it ever.
The questions we have to ask ourselves in the divine light of Scripture, do Christ words remove the mystery of the Sabbath day for you? Or, are you at a crossroad and aren’t sure which way to proceed?
The Sabbath is a wonderful day, filled with fellowship and joy. It’s not a day filled just with cans and cant’s as some portray it. It’s a day set aside (made holy) for rest, also to worship our creator, King, teacher, and brother, and to come together with God’s people in fellowship. It’s a day to learn Christ ways, His family’s ways, so we can be a part of that family one day in the future.
The Sabbath is more than can be descried in just a few sentences. It represents the millennial reign of Christ and His bride after six thousands years of work and toil by man. You can read more on that subject in the booklet, (Mystery of the Bride and Bridegroom, by Ron Harmon). It’s called the millennial Sabbath, because those that are Christ today, both dead and alive, at that time will spend a thousand years together with Christ on this earth ruling the remnants of mankind.
Reject the Sabbath and you reject more than just a day, you reject your creator. You ignore so much that has to do with your spiritual future and your relationship with Christ. Reject the gift from God and you will never no its joy or love.
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