Why Do We Meet on Saturday?
It is not often that you find a Christian church that regularly meets on Saturday, but there is a very good, Biblical reason why we do at Rock Valley Christian Church. While Christians can and should worship God every day of the week, there is one day that God set apart and made holy. Before there were Christians, Jews or any other kind of religion on earth, God made the heavens and earth and then He rested on the seventh day and made it holy (Genesis 1:1-2:3).
We live in a day and age where God’s Word is not highly regarded and where the commandments of God are often exchanged for the commandments and traditions of men. However, we believe that God’s Word is the source for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness that we may each be complete, ready for every good work (II Timothy 3:16-17). The key question to be answered in this Bible Study is: Should Christians keep the Sabbath?
As you go through the Bible Study below, we encourage you to read each of the verses from your own Bible and even write them down, if you like. It is so important to know what the Word of God says and we encourage you to believe what you read from the Bible as opposed to what tradition tells us.
What is the history of the seventh-day Sabbath? Where did it originate and who created it?
Genesis 1:1- In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 2:3- Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
Colossians 1:16 tells us that all things seen and unseen were made by Him [the Word who became Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14)]. The knowledge of the seven day week, which mankind still uses today, and the knowledge of the seventh-day Sabbath are only revealed by the Word of God. There is no physical, identifying sign that separates the seventh-day, it is something only revealed to man by revelation from God.
Points to Ponder: Who does the Bible say made the seventh day holy? Was this a day made by the Jews or by God? Do you believe the God sanctified the seventh day just as much as you believe He made the heavens and earth and all that is in them?
Who did Jesus say the Sabbath was made for? Mark 2:27-28- And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
Points to Ponder: How do you acknowledge and enjoy what God made for you? Who is Lord or Master of the Sabbath? How did God reveal that there was a seventh-day Sabbath to mankind?
Review Exodus 16:1-36
Points to Ponder: Whose law was God revealing, man’s or his own? What did God want the people to do on the Sabbath day? For how many years did God “prove” there was a seventh-day Sabbath to the Israelites by raining bread for sixth days with none on the seventh?
What is God’s command regarding keeping the Sabbath day?
Exodus 20:8-11- “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 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. For in six days theLord 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.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15- ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 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 ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
Points to Ponder: Why do you think God said, “Remember” the Sabbath Day? Was the Sabbath a new creation with the giving of the law or did God confirm it originated at creation, before there was Jew and Gentile? Why do you think God wanted them to remember that He made the heavens and the earth, as well as the Sabbath? Why do you think God wanted them to remember the freedom from slavery He gave to them? In what ways have you been freed by God?
What did God command to be done on the Sabbath?
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.
Notes: A holy convocation is a meeting or gathering of people, generally to worship God or hear His Word taught.
Points to Ponder: How have you made the Sabbath a day of rest? How have you had holy convocations on the Sabbath?
Did Jesus keep the Sabbath Day by having holy convocations?
Mark 1:21- Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.
Luke 4:16- So 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 to read.
Luke 4:31- Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths.
Luke 6:6- Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered.
Luke 13:10- Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
Points to Ponder: In regard to whether or not we should keep the Sabbath, what would Jesus do? What did he do? What was one activity that took place when He gathered with others on the Sabbath?
Note: Some suggest that Jesus came to do away with His commandments, of which the Sabbath is one. However, note that there are many places in the New Testament where Christians are told to keep the commandments. Confirm this for yourself in the Bible by reading Matthew 19:16-17, John 14:15-21, John 15:10, I Corinthians 7:19, I John 2:3-6, I John 3:22-24, I John 5:2-3, Revelation 12:17, Revelation 14:12, Revelation 22:14.
Did Jesus’ disciples, even the Apostle Paul, keep the Sabbath after His resurrection?
Acts 13:14- But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down.
Acts 16:13- And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there.
Acts 17:2- Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
Acts 18:4- And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
Points to Ponder: Was the Sabbath day still a day being recognized by the disciples and recorded as the Sabbath after the resurrection of Jesus? Did Paul keep the same custom as Jesus did regarding the Sabbath (see Luke 4:16, 31)?
Did Gentiles keep the Sabbath as well as Jews?
Acts 13:42-44- So when the Jews went out of the synagogue,[a] the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.
Acts 18:4- And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
Notes: Antioch was a city in Asia Minor and Corinth was a city in Greece. Notice that on the Sabbath day in Corinth, Paul was in the synagogue persuading both Jews and Greeks. The modern day notion that only Jews, and not Gentiles were keeping the Sabbath does not match the Scripture.
Points to Ponder: According to the Bible, were Gentiles meeting on the Sabbath day as well as Jews? Was it the Jews or the Gentiles in Antioch (Acts 13:42) that asked Paul to preach to them again next Sabbath?
Summary of Keeping the Sabbath
God reveals that He is the One True Creator of the heavens and the earth. He also revealed that He made the seventh day holy after creating all the things which are seen. While this day cannot be perceived to be different than any other day through the five senses, God has revealed it to us through His Word. Therefore, God made the Sabbath a sign between Him and those who would believe that He is the One True Creator (for if you believe that He made all things seen in heaven and earth, you would also believe that He made the unseen Sabbath).
God revealed the Sabbath to Israel after choosing them to be His own people, giving them His law and showing for 40 years that He would not give them manna on that day. He commanded that we remember the Sabbath, and not forget it, in the Commandments. Jesus showed that He kept the Sabbath Day when He was on the earth and we see by example that His disciples continued to recognize and keep the Sabbath after His death and resurrection.
Jesus declared that He was Lord of the Sabbath and He prophesied that His disciples would be keeping the Sabbath before the Great Tribulation, a still future event. Finally, God speaks of a time of the New Heavens and New Earth when all will come to worship God on the Sabbath.
Nowhere in the Bible is a Christian told to stop keeping the Sabbath or that the Sabbath was done away. In fact, you have to look at post-Biblical sources to discover how the Sabbath was disregarded and changed from Saturday to Sunday over 300 years after Jesus’ lived on the earth. You will also discover how current mainstream Christianity ultimately came to disregard any observance of the Sabbath, a concept that is virtually non-existent through the first 1800 years of Christianity.