The weekly day for rest and worship – which should be yours?
Nobody has any doubt that man needs a weekly day for rest and worship. In human history the concept of such a day is first stated in Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
Here 6 days are mentioned, in which the earth and its contents were created. On the 7th day nothing was created, but set apart by God as a day of rest. “On the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day…God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it” (Gen. 2:2-3). The concept of worship and holiness is attributed to this day because God blessed (set apart for holy purpose) and sanctified it.
Actually the weekly count of 7 days has no basis in any astronomical phenomena like rotation or revolution of the earth or moon, other than this primeval statement in the 1st book of the Bible. In other words, if this 7th day was not mentioned in Genesis, our week would have been made up of 6 days or something else.
THE ONGOING DEBATE
The question is, which day should be this weekly day of rest and worship. Whether it should be Sunday, the first day of the week? Or it should be the original Sabbath day mentioned in the Bible, the seventh day of the week, the present Saturday?
Another debate going on is – which is the Lord’s Day. The same claims are out there for this day also. The exact phrase “Lord’s Day” is only once used in the Bible – Revelation 1:10, where John writes “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day…”
Did the first coming of Yahushua change the day?
This is a very relevant question. Whether Christ’s first advent introduced a radical change in keeping of the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, a practice among God’s people for thousands of years. There is no biblical evidence or basis for such a change in the Bible or in the early 200 years of Christianity, roughly. So one thing we can infer – this change occurred later.
Did Yahushua belittle Sabbath’s importance
Some people believe that Yahushua belittled the observance of the seventh day Sabbath, by performing some miraculous healings on the Sabbath day (Luke 13:10-16,14:1-5, John 5:1-9, Mark 3:1-6, John 9:1-16) and by criticizing Pharisees who accused Him and His disciples of breaking the Sabbath.
Was this the real objective of Yahushua – to reduce the importance of Sabbath keeping? If Sabbath is to lose its importance by His first advent, He would have surely told His disciples about it, and thus changed the Third Commandment of God. This would have been recorded in the Bible for future generations.
What was Yahushua ‘ real intention?
Actually Yahushua ‘ contention was not about which day to be kept as Sabbath, but the way in which Sabbath is to be kept. He was concerned about the numerous oral laws (Mishnah) which crept into the Jewish society, in the name of Sabbath. That is why we see His classical question “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” (Mark 3:4).
In Yahushua’ day, the Sabbath keeping had become so perverted that its observance did not reflect the real nature of the law of God. Instead it became set of numerous minute “do not” rules, which made keeping God’s Commandment a burden, instead of “a delight” (Isa. 58:13), spending time with our Creator Father and fellow beings.
What was the custom of Yahushua ?
Let us look at the habit or custom of Yahushua . What day of the week did He specifically go to the place of worship? For Jews, the synagogues played a crucial role in their religious lives. A synagogue could be built wherever there were at least 10 Jewish families. “As His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day” (Luke 4:16). This was His first return to His hometown, and on Sabbath you can find Him in the synagogue.
Declaration of Messianic claim of Yahushua
The most surprising thing is that the declaration and affirmation of Yahushua’ Messianic claim happened on a Sabbath – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19, Isa. 61:1-2).
As Yahushua said “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (v 21). What is your personal response to this claim of Yahushua, in your life? Will you miss out this point if you don’t worship on Sabbath?
Luke, a gentile, writing about Sabbath
It is interesting to note here that Luke is a gentile (non-Jew), who primarily wrote his Gospel for the gentiles. Still he frequently refers to the Sabbath, which some Christians think is a Jewish thing. Of the 54 times, Gospels and Acts refers to the Sabbath, the majority 17 are in Luke. Therefore we can infer that Luke certainly believed that the seventh-day Sabbath is for all the mankind, Jews as well as the Gentiles. That is why he specifically talks about what Yahushua did on Sabbaths.
Yahushua – our greatest example
We all know that Yahushua should be our greatest model. It is very crucial that we follow Christ in each and everything. Another place it is written that Yahushua “went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives” (Luke 22:39) to pray. Both these customs of Yahushua , going to the Synagogue on seventh day Sabbath and going to Olives, were related to worship and prayer. It is high time that we think, on which weekly day we should come together to worship and pray – Sunday or Saturday, first day or seventh day.
Is it legalism or source of blessing?
Some people accuse those who keep Sabbath of legalism, and in bondage to the ancient “Jewish” law. They do not remember that God has promised lot of blessings to those who keep that day holy (Isa. 56:2). This is the day on which God sanctifies us (Exodus 31:13).
The true meaning of Sabbath
The Sabbath is a day of rest, rest in Christ (Heb. 4:1-4); the Sabbath is a symbol of freedom, of liberation, the freedom and liberation we have in Christ (Rom. 6:6-7); the Sabbath reveals not only God’s creation but the promise of re-creation in Christ as well (2 Cor. 5:17,1 Cor. 15:51-53). It’s no coincidence, either, that Yahushua chose the Sabbath day to do many of His healings, to free those who had been oppressed and imprisoned by sickness (Luke 13:10-16,14:1-5, John 5:1-9, Mark 3:1-6, John 9:1-16).
Sabbath made for man
What does it mean – “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27)? Here the Creator God made the Sabbath after the creation of man, for his welfare. This Sabbath keeping was to safeguard man from evil. It will be a day for worshipping God as the creator. Any man going through this God’s blessed day will be specially blessed and sanctified.
The Lord of the Sabbath
Yahushua claims that He is the Lord of the Sabbath, because He is the creator who set apart the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. He can decide on “how to keep the Sabbath” unlike the lack of authority of the Pharisees.
The Lord’s Day
Now you decide which day most probably will be Lord’s Day. Whether it is the seventh day of the week, which the Creator Christ personally blessed after setting apart another 24 hours, when the 6th day of creation has passed or the first day of the week. Don’t forget that on seventh day of the week, He rested after creation and rested after redemption (death on the cross). There is no doubt that this seventh day is Lord’s personal day, which He tried to clean of its observance related impurities, just like His temple He tried to clean of the unholy practices