By Cynthia A.A Mahoney
The mission of salvation goes hand in hand with the keeping of the Sabbath holy. (Isaiah 56:)
Throughout the Holy Bible, the Sabbath is central to our worship of God. It is given as a Sign to identify the real people of God, which is why it was set aside for assembly and worship as a memorial between God and man.
Over time, it has been a controversial issue that Saturday Sabbath lies at the very foundation of divine worship, teaching the greatest truth for all to understand. However, three distinctive divine acts established the Sabbath.
Scripture tells us that God rested on the Sabbath, He blessed the Sabbath and He sanctified the Sabbath. God specifically placed the Sabbath command at the centre of the Decalogue otherwise called the Ten Commandments, as stated hereafter.… ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shall thou labour and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it, you shall do no work; nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your man servant, nor your maid servant, nor your cattle nor your strangers who are within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath and hallowed it.'(Ex.20:8-11).
Although all the commandments are vital, yet God distinguished the Sabbath command from all the others. The word ‘Remember’ is a command alerting humanity to the danger of forgetting its importance. God intended that all of humanity observe the Sabbath as a memorial of His creation and laid particular emphasis on the time for rest and worship. This particular commandment functions as a seal and a sign of His power and authority.
When we think about the significance of the cross, the Sabbath rest, stands out as a special symbol of redemption. The greatest burden man carries is the guilt of disobedience. The Sabbath rest, points back to Christ’s rest in the tomb, the rest of victory over sin, it offers to the Christian, a tangible opportunity to accept and experience Christ’s forgiveness, peace and rest.
As Adam and Eve’s loyalty was tested by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the middle of the Garden of Eden, likewise, every human being’s loyalty to God will be tested by the fourth commandment otherwise known as ‘The Test Command’. A commandment that will be of paramount importance as predicted in the Holy Books. Scripture clearly states that before the second coming of Christ, the whole world will be divided into two groups; those who are loyal and keep the commandments of God and the those who worship the Beast and his image.
God did not establish the seven day weekly cycle for His benefit but for Adam and Eve and all of humanity. He cared so much for the two beings He had created that He had planned that every seventh day throughout their lives and generations that followed, the day would be dedicated for three reasons…. 1. To seek His presence 2.. for physical rest 3 ..for spiritual refreshment.
Jesus highlighted the importance of the Sabbath even at his death. Jesus declared ‘it is finished’, meaning, His work on earth and his death on the cross as a substitute for the human race was complete, the great work of redemption, accomplished.
The fourth commandment known as the test commandment has been a controversial issue over a long period of time, because it is the only commandment which was altered in the book of Daniel 7:25, by a political /religious entity , from Saturday Sabbath to Sunday by the Roman Catholic Papacy, during the Middle Ages. This He did because at the time, he was the vicegerent of the world and Saturday worship interfered with the customs, social activities and the day to day running of the nation’s affairs.
God created the Sabbath to rest and to catch a glimpse of the wonders He created for His children, but the devil knew that Saturday was of great importance to the Creator. He used his subtlety to deceive the whole world by replacing and confusing the day to worship God.
Paul of the New Testament commonly known as Paul of the Gentiles, never worshipped on Sundays. We are told that it was his manner and custom to work weekdays and keep the Sabbath. Every Saturday he went to the synagogue to worship, preaching Christ and the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Greeks and Jews but they were offended and were not persuaded. Consequently, Paul left them and preached to the Gentiles instead.(Acts 18 verse 11) This I think is enough evidence about God’s true day of worship. Paul encouraged gentile coverts to follow him as he followed Christ.
There is nowhere in the bible where it is stated that Christians should worship on Sundays. In fact, Jesus Christ said in John 15, ‘I am the vine, ye are the branches’ we must abide in Him less we can do nothing. A grape branch cannot produce grapes unless joined to the vine’. We cannot claim to fellowship with Christ, and walk in darkness…..that is disobeying his commands… which means, we lie and do not speak the truth. But if we walk in the light, that is by the way of the bible, obeying his commands, as a way of life. Then we become hearers of the Word and are obedient to His laws.
Does that mean that our weekly service is in vain, because it is not of Christ? Are we worshipping GOD according to the dictates of our conscience? That is contrary to worshipping God in spirit and in truth.
His truth is to worship Him the day that He set apart to be worshipped by all. This is what the Bible says.. ‘How be it in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition’.(Mark 7:7-9)
Sunday worship is nothing but the tradition of men and a pagan tradition. We reject the commandment of God, disobeying God’s Sabbath commandment is tantamount to committing sin and Sunday worship is utterly in vain. Jesus said so….
The Sabbath was not made for Jews as is the usual argument. Jesus says. ‘The Sabbath was made for man. That is for all mankind.
The word ‘Remember’ what does it imply? It simply means it was made when man was made Adam. There were no Jewish people then. God does not have one standard for Jewish people and another for gentiles. No gentile can truly become a Christian until he becomes an Israelite, ..read Ephesians2:11-22. Galatians 3:28-29. We must be careful when we use the word salvation … All promises were given to Israel ..Why? When the whole world rejected God , practicing pagan religions false gods etc.. God had to raise up from the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a special nation to be a light in the non-believing gentiles. We are told God gave this called out nation His right ways of life to which he added the promises which included salvation. Of course salvation is also given to everyone that believes in living faith through Christ Jesus.
The Jews first because they are the chosen nation although they have been cut off from the promises of God and God’s salvation.
We must strive to be led by the Holy Spirit as worthy sons and daughters of God. As it is written Christ in you, the hope of salvation. May we experience the life imparting spirit that emanates from the Person of the Father, and of Christ love, power, faith, life and mind of the ever-living Christ.