THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS HATED JESUS

Throughout the gospel accounts of Jesus Christ's life and  ministry, we continually see the hatred and animosity that the  Jewish leaders  had  for Jesus. But why did they hate  Jesus  when  they admitted that they knew he was sent from God?  They  hated him because he told them the truth about their religion, which was Judaism. Even though they professed to observe all of God's law and did observe the Sabbath  and  the annual festivals, they had rejected God by teaching and living by  their own  rules  and traditions instead of God's laws.  By  devising their  own rules and traditions of worship, they  violated  God's instructions concerning tampering with the purity of his law:

"You  shall  not add to the word which I commanded  you,  neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the  commandments of the Lord your God which I command you" (Deut.4:2 Para.).

Jesus  said,  "This people honors me with their  lips  but  their heart is far from me.  Howbeit in vain do they worship me  teaching  for  doctrines  the commandments of men . . .  full  well you reject the commandment of God that you may keep your own  tradition" (Mk.7:6-7,9 KJV).

For  centuries, most people have assumed that the Jews of  Jesus' time were keeping the law of God as they should have, but this is not  true!   They were more concerned with preserving  their  own religious  traditions than they were with loving and  obeying  God.  As unbelievable as it may sound, they did not believe Moses, nor did they observe the law of Moses as God intended.

They  had convinced themselves that all of their  man-made  rules and  traditions  were in harmony with God's Word and the  law  of Moses.  In most cases, however, their traditions had become  more important  than God's Word. It became more important for them  to wash  their hands in a ceremonially religious ritual before  each meal  than it was to honor their fathers and mothers (See Matt.15; Mk.7).

Jesus said,  "But I know you, that you have not  the love of  God in  you  . . .Do  not  think that I will  accuse  you  to  the Father: there  is  one that is accusing you, even  Moses in whom you trust. For had you believed Moses,   you would  have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if you  believe not his writings, how shall you believe my words?"  (Jn.5:42-47 Para.).

Jesus made it very clear that they not only disbelieved Moses but also disobeyed the law as Moses originally gave it:

"Did  not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you  keep   the law?" (Jn.7:19 Para.).

The  gospel  of  John shows that Jesus  revealed Judaism's  perversion  of God's way of truth. Although  the  Jews thought they were obeying God's law, they were actually  violating most of it.

This is exactly the same problem inherent in most of Judaism and Christianity today.   Millions of people have Bibles  in their homes, and millions read and study  God's  Word, but  how  many  truly follow and live by the word of  God?   What Jesus said then, still applies today!

Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love  me:  for  I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I  of  myself, but he sent me. Why do you not understand my speech?   Even because  you  cannot  hear my word. You are of  your  Father  the Devil,   and the  lusts of your father you will do.  He  was  a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth,  because there  is  no  truth in him.  When he is speaking a  lie,  he  is speaking  of his own:  for he is a liar, and the father  of  it"  (Jn.8:42-44 Para.).

HATED WITHOUT CAUSE

The Jews hated Jesus for this indictment:

"If  I had  not come and spoken unto them, they had not had  sin:  but now they have no cloak [excuse] for their sin. He that  hates me  hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which  none  other man did, they had not had sin:  but  now  have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this comes to pass,  that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law. [They knew better, they had the law of God].  They hated  me without a cause" (Jn.15:22-25 Para.).    

This  is one of the reasons why Jesus preached as he  did,  especially in relation to the Sabbath.  He showed by healing, casting out  demons, and preaching on the Sabbath that the Sabbath was  a time for rejoicing, healing, redemption, and for  preaching  the Truth of God!

Neither God the Father nor Jesus Christ are honored by the traditions  and religious precepts of men, whether or not they are  Jewish,  Catholic, Protestant,  Hindu,  Buddhist, or any  other  religion outside of the  worship that is revealed in the Bible.

The  Jews of Jesus' day had perverted the original intent of  the Sabbath and made it their Sabbath by adding a multitude of rules concerning  its  observance. These rules  and  Jewish  traditions turned the Sabbath into a day of rigorous bondage (Matt.23:4).

This  is why Jesus revealed that he was the Lord of the Sabbath,  not of  Jewish tradition. Jesus revealed and removed the  bondage  of Jewish tradition; he never abrogated the laws of God (Matt.5:17).

The laws and commandments of God and his Sabbath days were  never bondage;   they  are  called The  Perfect   Law  of   Liberty (Jms.1:25). Jesus Christ came to release God's way of truth from the bondage of Judaism!

JESUS AND THE SABBATH

"And  he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up:  and,  as his  custom was, he went into the synagogue on the  Sabbath  day, and stood up for to read" (Lk.4:16 KJV).

Most people who profess that Jesus Christ is their Savior will agree that he is the example  that one should follow in one's pursuit of righteousness.

Notice that it was Jesus' custom to participate in a formal  worship  service at the synagogue on the Sabbath. His custom was  to observe the Sabbath the same day the Jews of his time did.

Note:

The English phrase 'on the Sabbath day' would more accurately be translated from the Greek text as 'on the day of Sabbaths', which seems to indicate that this day may have also been the Feast of Weeks. Although there are no scriptures to support this assumption, it is a possibility, considering how the sacred calendar is structured and the Calendar Court's authority to administer it.

Made For Mankind

"And  Jesus concluded, The Sabbath was made for the  good of  man,  man was not made for the Sabbath" (Mk.2:27  GNB).

Jesus  said  that humanity was not meant to  serve  the  Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made to give them a break from their labors and as a time for coming together to worship God. However,  the Sadducees and the Pharisees had made so  many  restrictive  rules concerning Sabbath observance that its  observance became a burden instead of a pleasure as God had originally intended.

"So the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath" (Mk.2:28  KJV).

Here,  we see that Jesus claims authority over the  Sabbath,  and rightly  so,  because he had created it  (Jn.1:1-26;  1.Cor.8:6; Heb.1:1-3)  and  pronounced the laws by which it was to  be  observed. Nowhere in the scriptures do we see the Creator  God who became Jesus Christ or God the Father declaring the Sabbath an unnecessary observance.

DID JESUS BREAK THE SABBATH?

Many believe that what is written in John 5:18 is proof that  the Sabbath commandment has been abolished:

"Therefore  the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he  not only  had  broken the Sabbath, but said also that  God  was  his Father, making himself equal with God" (KJV).

Did  Jesus indeed "break the Sabbath?"  Or is there an  error  in the King James translation of this verse?

Before we go into the reason that the Jews thought Jesus broke the Sabbath, the question of whether or not Jesus could sin and still be our Savior should be answered.

Did Jesus Sin?

Many  theologians believe that Jesus did transgress the  Sabbath.  They  also assume that the fourth commandment was merely the  Law of  Moses; therefore, they ignore the fact that  Jesus  was  the Creator God who spoke the Ten Commandments from the top of  Mount Sinai (Jn.1:1-18).

A  little  logic is a useful thing.  This is especially  true  in dealing  with the Word and Truth of God. God is a logical  being and the Bible is a very logical book.  While he  was a human being, could Jesus have broken the law and still have qualified to be our Savior?

What is Sin?

What is the Biblical definition of sin? The apostle John said,"Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law" (1.Jn.3:4 KJV). But, of what law is John speaking about?

In his letter to the Romans (Rom.7:7), the apostle Paul said  that he  would not have known what sin was if it were not for the existence of the law.   He goes  on  to  show that the law he is speaking  of contains  the commandment,  "You shall not covet,"  which is a part of the  Ten Commandments. Therefore, one aspect of  sin is the transgression of the Ten Commandments.

Paul explains that "The law is holy, and  the  commandment holy,  and  just, and good" (Rom.7:12). Then, in  verse  14,  he states, "The law is  spiritual," which means that this  law is also eternal. The principles contained within the Ten Commandments are spiritual principles and will never be done away with.  Therefore, this is the law that results in sin if it is broken. And we know that the  Sabbath  is  the fourth point of the law  within  these  commandments. Therefore if one does not keep the  Sabbath holy to God, one is  guilty of sin according to the law.

It  is important to remember that God is not pleased  with  those who  refuse  to obey him once they understand  what  he  requires of them (Jn.9:31; Ezk.chp.20), and that continued disobedience will result in eternal death (Rom.6:23).

James says the same thing concerning the Sabbath: "For  whosoever shall  keep  the whole law, and yet offend in one  point,  he  is guilty of all" (Jms.2:10 KJV). James  points out that  violating any one point of the law causes one to break the entire law.  Why is this so? It is because the law of God is  a  perfect body of law, and each point of the law is intertwined with and inseparable  from the other. Therefore, the violation of one  point  violates  the perfection of the whole, which brings to bear  the entire weight of the law upon the law breaker.

Jesus And The Religious Leaders

During  the life of Christ, there were many different schools  of thought  among the Jews, and teachers of the law concerning  what was  right and wrong to God. Some allowed certain things and not others,  while some forbade something, and others permitted it.  If Jesus  had been merely another teacher with opinions  of his own, it would not have bothered the Jews.  What did disturb them  was his assumption of real authority  (Matt.7:29;  Mk.1:22) based  on his claim that God was his Father (See  Jn.10:24-26,30-33). They imagined that he was  out to steal away their followers and their prestige, which made them extremely jealous.

Perfect Obedience

We know that the Creator God became the man Jesus Christ  who was  made under the law (Gal.4:4-5)  for the purpose of  becoming our  Savior.  And we know that sin is transgression of the law (1.Jn.3:4).  The New  Testament also tells us that the wages  of sin  is death  (Rom.6:23).  If Jesus  broke the law that he  was obligated to keep as a man and an Israelite, he sinned!  And if he sinned, he died for his own sins, not ours!  And if he did not die for our sins, we have no Savior and no hope.

Jesus   did   not sin! Therefore, he kept all  the  law, which includes  the  Sabbath.   The death of Jesus   did  not  abolish, break, or rescind the law of God. Jesus gave his sinless life  in place of our sinful lives and paid the penalty that was ours  for violating the law of God.  

DID JESUS BREAK THE SABBATH?

Does John 5:18 say that Jesus broke the Sabbath?

"Therefore  the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he  not only  had  broken  the Sabbath, but said also that  God  was  his Father,  making  himself equal with God" (KJV).

The  event  that precipitated this accusation by the Jews was Jesus' compassion in healing a crippled man on the Sabbath (a man who had suffered in this condition for thirty-eight years), and then commanding  him  to roll  up  his pallet and carry it out of a crowded  public  place (Jn.5:5-11).

Laboring on the Sabbath was not Jesus' normal practice.  This was one act of mercy (Jn.7:21) for which Jesus was accused of  breaking  the  Sabbath.  The Jerusalem Jews were still  talking  about this event for months after it occurred, and  it was for this one act that they were seeking to kill him (Jn.7:1-2,10).                                      

Were  special acts of mercy permissible on the  Sabbath?   Notice what  John records about another special healing.  After he  had made clay and applied it to the eyes  of a blind man, Jesus  gave the congenitally blind man sight (Jn.9:14-32):

"Therefore some of the Pharisees said, This man [Jesus] is not of God, because he keeps not the Sabbath day  [Notice whose opinion it was that Jesus had broken the Sabbath].  Others said, How can a  man that is a sinner do such miracles?  And there was a  division among them" (Jn.9:16 Para.).

If  Jesus broke the Sabbath, he was a sinner.  But did  he  break the Sabbath?  This was a very difficult question for the legalistic  Jews who argued the point among themselves. They  even questioned the blind man whom Jesus had healed, but he only added to their dilemma by saying that Christ was not a sinner: "He has opened my eyes.  Now  we know that God hears not sinners" (Jn.9:30-31).

PHARISAIC HYPOCRISY

When  Jesus is accused of violating the Sabbath because  he  had healed  a person on the Sabbath, he replies,   "If a man  on  the Sabbath  day receive circumcision, that the law of  Moses should not be  broken; are you angry at me, because I have made  a  man every whit whole on the Sabbath day? Judge not according to  the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (Jn.7:23-24 Para.).

It would seem that those super-religious self-appointed  teachers among the Jews did not regard the act of healing as coming  under the  same law of exceptions as circumcision or the law  of emergencies (Lk.14:5; Ex.23:5; Deut.22:4). However, Jesus and his Father in heaven see it otherwise.

MERCY AND COMPASSION

"And,  behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of  infirmity eighteen years. . . and could in no way lift up herself. And  when Jesus saw her, he called. . .  and said to her, Woman,  you are loosed from your infirmity.  And he laid his hands on  her:  and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. Then the ruler of the synagogue angrily turned on the people and commanded them not to come any more to be healed on the  Sabbath.  The Lord [Jesus] then answered him, and said, You hypocrite, does not  each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the  stall, and lead him away to watering?  And ought not this woman,  being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound, lo, these  eighteen  years, be loosed from this bond on  the  Sabbath day?" (Lk.13:11-16 Para.).

Jesus says that healing is an act of mercy and  compassion,  that constitutes a valid expression of God's love for  his people. To do good is definitely legal on the Sabbath.  It  falls into  the same spiritual category as having mercy and  compassion on the helpless and needy.  Certainly this woman was more important than an animal, which the Jews would not hesitate to rescue from  harm on the Sabbath day:

"And  when  he had said these things, all  his  adversaries  were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious  things that were done by him" (Lk.13:17 Para.).    

Later, and perhaps on the same Sabbath day (Lk.14:1-14), as  Jesus was about to heal another person, he challenged the lawyers  and Pharisees  themselves  to give an answer to  their  own question about whether or not it was lawful to heal on the  Sabbath  day. However, they could not or would not answer him,  so Jesus went on to  heal another person:

"And [Jesus] answered them, saying,  Which of you shall have an  ass or  an ox which has fallen into a pit and will  not  straightaway pull  him out on the Sabbath day?  And they could not answer  him again to these things" (Lk.14:5-6 Para.).

In  every case, Jesus was performing merciful  and  compassionate acts  that  were exceptions to the interpretations that  the  Jewish religious leaders put on the scriptures, but they were definitely not exceptions to the way God meant for the Sabbath to be kept.  

To do good and show acts of mercy, compassion, and love on the Sabbath is a part of the Sabbath: These kinds  of acts do not pollute or violate the Sabbath.  Jesus certainly  was not transgressing the Sabbath.  Perhaps, this particular  Sabbath was made even more holy because of Jesus' acts of mercy,  compassion, and love on this special day.  Certainly Jesus  was not setting an example of ignoring the Sabbath.

As  Jesus  healed people on the Sabbath, he continually  put  the question of doing good on the Sabbath to his adversaries:

"And  he [Jesus] entered again into the synagogue; and there was  a  man there  which had a withered hand.  And they watched him,  whether he  would  heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might  accuse him  . . .  And he said to them, Is it lawful to do  good   on  the Sabbath day . . .?  to save life . . .?  But they held their  peace.  And  when  he had looked around about on them with anger,  being grieved  for  the hardness of their hearts, he  healed  the  man" (Mk.3:1-5; Lk.6:6-10 Para.).

In  Matthew 12:11-12,  Jesus  cites the  principal  of the  "sheep in the pit,"  and  then  he declares, "It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day." We should keep in mind that Jesus Christ is the Creator of the Sabbath and it is he who originally established what can  and cannot be done on the Sabbath (Gen.2:2-3; Jn.1:1-5; Eph.3:19).

JESUS IS THE LORD OF THE SABBATH

It  is  significant that the last mentioned  Sabbath  healing  is immediately  preceded in all three of the synoptic gospels  (Matthew, Mark and Luke) by another aspect of the  Sabbath-exceptions question. While walking through some grain fields, Jesus' disciples were hungry and began to eat kernels of the standing  grain with Christ's approval.  But why?  

The  Pharisees had already declared, "it is not lawful!"  But  Jesus  proclaimed  that  a  higher law (in these  exceptional,  occasional cases)  transcended  the  law they  zealously  misunderstood  and misapplied   (Deut.23:25).  It was the law of mercy, compassion,  and doing good deeds.  Did not God himself declare that  he was  interested  in mercy and compassion rather  than  sacrifices (Hos.6:6).  It was this same broad principle that made it  lawful and  necessary for an animal's owner to loose it from  the  stall and lead it to water on the Sabbath (Lk.13:15) or lift it out of a pit that it had fallen into (Lk.14:5).  This law made it permissible for  David and his hungry men to eat the showbread.  Jesus  cited the  precedent for doing this in Matthew 12:1-4. Jesus  explained that to do good deeds, the priests could labor in the temple  on  the Sabbath and they would be blameless (Matt.12:5).

It is merciful to give thirsty animals water to drink on the Sabbath and it was lawful and merciful for hungry  men in need of nourishment to be given the holy showbread to eat.  It was merciful for ailing persons who had endured their  infirmities  for  years to be healed  on the Sabbath.  But  these acts of  mercy  and compassion do not abolish  or  rescind  the Sabbath. The principle is clear that, doing merciful and compassionate deeds  is not forbidden in the spirit and  intent of the Sabbath command.

In  one respect, Mark's account makes this matter more clear  than either Matthew's or Luke's, because Mark includes an imperative statement in his account.

"And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the  Sabbath" (Mk.2:27 Para.). The Sabbath was made for the purpose  of being  a blessing and a benefit for humans.   It was made to draw us closer to God and keep us mindful of  his  great purpose and love for us. The Sabbath was not made to be a burden;  it was made to be a blessing.

MY FATHER WORKS UNTIL NOW

In order to understand  what  is truly said in John 5:18, we must first understand what is meant by 'work' in verse 17: "But Jesus answered them [in regard to their condemnation of his Sabbath act], My Father works hitherto, and I work."   There is probably  no statement that Jesus made concerning  the Sabbath that is more misunderstood than this one.

What was Jesus saying?  Did he say that he and the Father labored incessantly  on  every Sabbath? Did he say that they  had  never  observed the Sabbath?  Of course not!   That  would deny  the scripture that said God had ceased to work on the  seventh day of creation (Gen.2:2-3; Ex.20:11).

The word 'work', as  used in verse 17,  does not refer to continuous laboring, it refers  to the  special and  individual acts, deeds, or performances of miraculous  healings.   In  reality,  the work being done was  in  the  spiritual sense.  It was the spiritual work of God  and had nothing to  do with the prohibition of performing work by which one earns  their living or accumulates wealth.

We are told that we  are  his  workmanship,  created  in  Christ  Jesus  to  good works (Eph.2:10). Therefore, one  aspect of this spiritual work of the Father and Christ  concerns the children of God. This spiritual work of God is going on seven days a week through the power of the Father's spirit within his  children. Furthermore, it took the Father's spirit power  to do the miraculous works that Jesus performed.               

Jesus  said, "I  can do  nothing of my own self."  (Jn.5:30 Para.);   "Many  good  works [deeds] have I shown you  from  my  Father" (Jn.10:32 Para.); "The  Father that dwells in me, he is doing  the works [the miraculous deeds]" (Jn.14:10 Para.).

With  this  in  mind, it is clear that, in John  5:17,   Jesus  was saying  that his  Father is the one they were actually  accusing for  what  he  did on the Sabbath.  Because it was  only  by  the Father's  will and through his power that Jesus was able to  perform  every good deed.

"Then  answered  Jesus and said to them, Truly, truly, I  say  to you,  The  Son can do nothing of himself, but what he  sees  the Father  do: for whatever things he does, these also  does  the Son likewise" (Jn.5:19 Para.).

In his observance of the Sabbath, and the making of it  especially honorable (Isa.42:21),  Christ was following the express  will of  the Father.  They together were not rescinding  the  Sabbath; they were revealing its true purpose.

Verses 20 and 21 of John 5, and the rest of the chapter continue the discourse on the  relationship between the Father  and the Son.  John returns  again and again to this subject in John 6:26-65  and in most  of chapters 7 through 18. This is  the  dominant theme of the gospel of John.

WHAT A GREEK WORD REVEALS

The  one thing Jesus did that directly contradicted  the  assumed authority  of the Pharisees concerning the Sabbath was his  performance  of miraculous deeds. He was actually keeping the Sabbath in its fullest intent and purpose (for mankind). Additionally, his teachings  contradicted the overly strict and added  do's  and do not's that were man-made traditions by which these  religious leaders made the Sabbath a yoke of bondage.

Jesus loosed these needless restrictions.  He did not "break" the Sabbath.  But he did loose or relax the regulations that men  had made concerning the Sabbath.  

This  is  exactly what John wrote in the original Greek  of  John 5:18:

"Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was  his Father, making himself equal with God" (KJV).

The  English word 'break' that is used in verse 18 is  translated from  the  Greek  verb 'luo', which is normally  translated  'to loose.'   It does not mean 'break', 'abolish' or 'rescind'   nor does it have great legal force to it as has been alleged.  Notice the following example in which this same Greek word is used:

"Whoever  therefore shall break [more properly, loose]  one  of these  least  commandments, and shall teach men so, he  shall  be called  the least in the kingdom of heaven:  but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the  kingdom of heaven" (Matt.5:19 Para.).

This  was Jesus' own evaluation of the law of God. It was  sinful even  to 'loose' much less to 'break' any of  the  commandments, including  the  Sabbath  command.  But  the  added  commandments, traditions, and dogmas of men were a far different matter!

Additional Sabbath Rules

After  the death of Ezra and Nehemiah, Jewish  religious  leaders began to enforce the Sabbath with more zeal in order to avoid the mistakes of the past that resulted in their national captivity.

Without  any authority from God, the Jews began to add their  own list  of  rules  to Sabbath observance. Because  of  these  added rules,   Sabbath observance became very complex and a burden to the people that drove them away from God  instead of drawing them closer.

During  Christ's time, the Scribes and the Pharisees who  sat  in Moses' seat' (Matt.23:2) used their authority to enforce  these self imposed Sabbath rules instead of administering the just  and holy laws concerning the Sabbath that God had  given  to  their ancestors. These additional man-made laws are what Jesus rescinded  and loosed. He certainly had not abolished or  rescinded  the Sabbath day as a result of performing acts of mercy and  healing people on it!

Surely  it ought to be plain by now that Jesus 'loosed' the  Sabbath.   Those  who say that Jesus did away with the  Sabbath  are actually  taking  a firm stand with the Pharisees  against  Jesus Christ by saying the same thing they said.

Anyone who believes that Jesus broke the Sabbath  is actually denying  that Jesus Christ is our Savior by accusing him of  sin! Most who do not wish to observe the Sabbath today use the  excuse that Christ broke the Sabbath or that the need to keep the  Sabbath was abolished at his death. This is how they attempt to excuse their own  violation of the Sabbath.

Using  John  5:18-19 as the basis for abolishing the  Sabbath  is mere wishful thinking that does not rest on a deep  understanding of the Greek language,  the scriptural context, or special  insight into the minds of John and Christ.  Instead,  it rests on pretexts, misunderstandings, bold extrapolations, broad stretching  of  the evidence, and narrow biased  use  of  lexical statements. These  arguments are mere attempts at justification  by people who are afraid that they themselves should be keeping the Sabbath.

Jesus And The Law

Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or  the prophets: I am not come  to destroy, but to fulfill"   (Matt.5:17 KJV).

Jesus  did not come to weaken or destroy the law  as  many people think; he came  to  keep it perfectly, reveal  its  goodness, and magnify it by revealing the love and spiritual  principles upon which it was founded. See also Isa.42:21; Matt.5:18-20.

THE EARLY CHURCH AND THE SABBATH

Below is a short review of some of the evidence of Sabbath  keeping by the apostles and the early church.

In  Acts 13:14-15, we see Paul and Barnabas arriving  in  Antioch and going into the synagogue on the Sabbath day where, after  the formal reading of the law and the prophets, they began to  preach to those in attendance:

"And  when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the  Gentiles besought  that  these words might be preached to  them  the  next Sabbath" (Acts 13:42 Para.).

After  the Jews had left the Sabbath services, the Gentiles  asked Paul and Barnabas to preach to them on the next Sabbath:

"Now  when the congregation was broken up, many of the  Jews  and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them,  persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.   And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear  the word of God" (Acts 13:43-44 Para.).

Notice that the Gentiles asked Paul to preach to them on the next Sabbath.  Why didn't they just ask him to come to Sunday services the  next day, if that was the day that should be observed?   They did not  do this because Paul observed the  Sabbath.   He knew  it  was the day sanctified by God and he taught  others  to observe it as well:

"And  Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three  Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures" (Acts 17:2 Para.).

It  was  the practice of the apostle Paul as well  as  the  other leaders  of the early church to observe the Sabbath  by  teaching the word of God in the formal setting of a worship service. These events recorded in Acts 13 and 17 took place in 45 and  49  A.D., which was long after the early church began.

In Acts 18:1-4,  we see Paul in Corinth: "And he reasoned in  the synagogue  every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the  Greeks" (v4). This was about 51 A.D., which was over 20 years after the death and resurrection of Christ.

In these three accounts, we find Paul observing the Sabbath  many years  after the death and resurrection of Christ. Remember  that Paul  was taught personally by Jesus (Gal.1:10-12).  Surely Paul would have known of any change in the observance of the  Sabbath or a change of the day on which it should be observed. Remember also that Paul says, "Be you followers of me, even as  I also am of Christ" (1.Cor.11:1).

Keeping Of The Sabbath

Notice the following statement in the book of Hebrews that  was written  about  thirty years after Christ's  resurrection:

"There remains therefore a rest to the people of God" (Heb.4:9 Para.).

Most Bible marginal references have the correct Greek translation of the word 'rest' as 'keeping of the Sabbath.'  The word  'rest' comes  from the Greek word 'sabbatismos,' which means  'Sabbath.' Therefore, verse 9 should read, "There remains therefore a  keeping of the Sabbath to the people of God."

The New International Version of the Bible translates Hebrews 4:9 as follows:

"There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God."

Yes, God intended his people to rest on the Sabbath and  draw close  to  him in worship and fellowship on the day that  he  set apart at creation for this purpose.

It  is indisputable that both the Bible and secular  history  record that the apostles and the early church observed  the  seventh-day Sabbath. Therefore, we must conclude that, as a child  of God today, we must also observe this day as instructed by the word of God.

By B. L. Cocherell, file b5w3