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The Sabbath in the New Testament


The Sabbath and the Cross


What day immediately precedes the first day of the week?


“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to took at the tomb.” Matthew 28:1.


Note – According to the New Testament, therefore, the Sabbath passed when the first day of the week began.


After the crucifixion, what day did the women who followed Jesus keep?


“Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” Luke 23:56.


What day of the week is the Sabbath, “according to the commandment?”


But the seventh day is the Sabbath to the Lord your God.” Exodus 20:10.


Jesus and the Sabbath


What was Christ’s custom respecting the Sabbath?


‘He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.” Luke 4:16.


In what instruction to His disciples did Christ recognize the existence of the Sabbath long after His ascension?


“Pray that your flight will not take place in the winter or on the Sabbath.” Matthew 24:20.


Note – The flight of the Christians took place late in October, A.D. 66, three and one-half years before the fall of Jerusalem.


Paul and the Sabbath


On what day did Paul and Barnabas preach at Antioch?


“From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. Acts 13:14.


When did the Gentiles ask Paul to repeat his sermon?


“As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.” Verse 42.


On what day did Paul preach to the women at Philippi?


“On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.” Acts 16:13.


On what day did Paul preach to the Jews at Thessalonica?


“When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As the custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them.” Acts 17:1,2.


How did the apostle spend the working days of the week when at Corinth, and what did he do on the Sabbath?


“And because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.” Acts 18:3. “Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.”  Acts 18:4.


Note – Paul continued there a year and a half teaching the word of God among them. Verse 11. These texts do not definitely prove that the apostle held seventy-eight Sabbath meetings in Corinth, but they show conclusively that it was his custom to observe the Sabbath day by devoting it to religious purposes. The careful student will note that his reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath applies only to the comparatively brief time during which he was permitted the use of the synagogue. But the history of the apostle’s work in the book of Acts fully warrants us in believing that wherever he was, Paul utilized to the full every opportunity to pursue his gospel work on the Sabbath. The same is true, not only of the apostles, but of most Christians during the first three centuries.


John and the Lord’s Day


On what day was John in the Spirit?


On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit.” Revelation 1:10. [Lord’s Day – Sabbath Day]


Who is the Lord of the Sabbath?


“So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:28.


What, through Isaiah, does the Lord call Sabbath?


“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s day honorable and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words.” Isaiah 58:13.


Why does the Lord call the Sabbath His day?


“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.” Exodus 20:11.


Through whom did God create the world?


“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” Hebrews 1:1,2.


Note – The Bible recognizes but one weekly Sabbath – the day upon which God rested in the beginning; which was made known to Israel at Sinai (Nehemiah 9:13, 14); was observed by Christ and His apostles; and is to be kept by the redeemed in the new earth (Isaiah 66:22,23).

The terms Sabbath, Sabbaths and Sabbath days occur sixty times in the New Testament and in every case but one refer to the seventh day. In Colossians 2:16,17, reference is made to the annual Sabbaths connected with the three annual feasts observed by Israel before the first coming of Christ.

The sacred name of the seventh day is Sabbath. This fact is too clear to require argument. The truth is stated in precise terms: ‘The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.’ This utterance is repeated in Exodus 16:26, 23:12, 31:15, 35:2, Leviticus 23:3, and Deuteronomy 5:14. On this point the plain teaching of the word has been admitted in all ages. Except to certain special Sabbaths appointed in Levitical law, and these invariably governed by the month rather than the week, the Bible in all its utterances never, no, not once, applies the name Sabbath to any other day.

The first day of the week is mentioned but eight times in the New Testament, six of which are found in the Four Gospels, and refer to the day on which Christ arose from the dead. (See Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1,19.) The other two (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2) refer to the only religious meeting held on the first day of the week after the ascension, in apostolic times, recorded in the New Testament, and to a systematic accounting and laying by in store at home on that day for the poor saints in Judea and Jerusalem.

It is evident, therefore, that the Sabbath of the New Testament is the same as the Sabbath of the Old Testament, and that there is nothing in the New Testament setting aside the seventh-day Sabbath and putting the first day of the week in its place.     






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