(This article was originally written on 4/29/2011)
In recent months I have been thinking a lot about the Sabbath. I have studied the issue intently and it is through the knowledge gained in that study, that I have recently made a change in my life. I want to share the results of that study here, with those that follow my articles. This is the first in what will be a short series of articles that will discuss the Sabbath and the issues surrounding it. To be clear, the scope of this article is limited to the Sabbath day of the week, not any of the other Holy days which are sometimes called the Sabbath, such as the Passover.
My first thought when deciding to write this article was that I would simply define the Sabbath. In my ignorance I assumed that most sources would agree on exactly what the Sabbath is. I was terribly wrong.
dictionary.com defines the Sabbath as:
Sab.bath-noun 1.the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as the day of rest and religious observance among Jews and some Christians. Ex. 20:8-11. 2. the first day of the week, Sunday, similarly observed by most Christians in commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ.3. any special day of prayer or rest resembling the Sabbath: Friday is the Muslim Sabbath.
wictionary.org defines it as:
Proper noun Sabbath 1. The Biblical seventh day of the week, observed as a day of rest in Judaism, Seventh-day Adventism, or Seventh Day Baptism, starting at sundown on Friday till sundown on Saturday. 2. Sunday, observed throughout the majority of Christianity as a day of rest. 3. Friday, observed in Islam as a day of rest. 4. A meeting of witches at midnight.
The Catholic Church defines the Sabbath as:
I. The Sabbath Day 2168 The third commandment of the Decalogue recalls the holiness of the sabbath: "The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD."92 2169 In speaking of the sabbath Scripture recalls creation: "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it."93 2170 Scripture also reveals in the Lord's day a memorial of Israel's liberation from bondage in Egypt: "You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out thence with mighty hand and outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day."94 2171 God entrusted the sabbath to Israel to keep as a sign of the irrevocable covenant.95 The sabbath is for the Lord, holy and set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on behalf of Israel. 2172 God's action is the model for human action. If God "rested and was refreshed" on the seventh day, man too ought to "rest" and should let others, especially the poor, "be refreshed."96 The sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.97 2173 The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day.98 He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath."99 With compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing.100 The sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God.101 "The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."102
This was copied from the Vatican website: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P7N.HTM on 4/29/2011
This website then goes on to say that they keep Sunday instead of the Sabbath. I didn't see anywhere that they contradicted themselves in saying that Sunday was the Sabbath. They simply say Saturday is the Sabbath, but that they keep Sunday instead.
I checked a few other web sites from other denominations looking for a definition for the Sabbath, but did not find a straightforward definition on any of them. The question has been asked in the "Frequently asked questions" on some of those sites, but the answers were in every case convoluted and vague. I sent emails to a few sites asking for clarification. If I get those responses before this series of articles is complete, I will include those responses. (Update: It has been over three years and I have never received a response from any of them.) It seems that this definition should be of the utmost importance to anyone who wants to know the truth, and who wants to obey God. Whether we think we are required to keep the Sabbath or not, we should know what the Sabbath is. I applaud dictionary.com, wictionary.org and the Vatican for at least giving thought to this all important question, and for clearly and concisely communicating their opinion. I say opinion because that is what we are talking about; the opinion of a definition of the word Sabbath. It must be opinion because we have three different answers, from three different sources, with varying degrees of contradiction. This tells me that there is some confusion among the world on what the Sabbath is. I would like to attempt to clear that confusion up by consulting the creator of the Sabbath. Surely the creator of the Sabbath will know what the Sabbath is. We have a portal that we can look through to witness the very day the Sabbath was created. That portal is the Bible. Let us take a look in the Bible at the very day the Sabbath was created.
Gen 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
This is the day the Sabbath was created but in the English translation there is no mention of the Sabbath. For the sake of clarity, let's go to the first point in the Bible where the Sabbath is defined.
Exo 16:26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
This is the first time in the Bible that the word Sabbath is defined. It is defined as the seventh day. I am not saying the Sabbath did not exist before this. I am simply saying that it is the first time that the word "Sabbath" is defined in the Bible. Now we have a definition from the Creator of the Sabbath which very clearly states that the Sabbath is the seventh day. This tells me that dictionary.com and wictionary.com are wrong in their definitions. The Vatican web site is correct. The Sabbath is the seventh day. Many will tell us that the New Testament changes the "Sabbath" to the first or eighth day of the week. The truth is that there is no such verse. Remember, we are not talking about which day we worship on yet. We are simply defining the Sabbath. There is no verse in the Bible, that states the Sabbath day is on any day other than the seventh day. There is no verse in the Old Testament that states the Sabbath day is any day other than the seventh day. There is no verse in the New Testament that states the Sabbath day is any day other than the seventh day. The belief that the Bible says the Sabbath is any day other than the seventh day is a myth. I don't know how to be more clear on this simple fact, yet many who read this will reject this basic fact. We can read the Bible from front to back or from back to front and we will never find the Sabbath day defined as anything other than the seventh day. The word Sabbath is mentioned 77 times in the Old Testament. None of those 77 times, changes the definition of the Sabbath day. The word Sabbath is mentioned 60 times in the New Testament. None of those 60 times, changes the definition of the Sabbath day either. That is 137 times that the Sabbath is mentioned in the Bible and the definition of the Sabbath day is never changed by God. God is consistent. The word is consistent. The truth is consistent. If the Sabbath day has been changed, it was changed by man, not God. Over the centuries there have been many people who offered great sums of money for anyone who could show in the Bible where the Sabbath was changed from the seventh day to any other day. No one has ever collected on one of those offers because the definition of the Sabbath day has never been changed. Whether we worship on the Sabbath or another day, we must admit that the Sabbath day is the seventh day. Anything else is contrary to the Bible and the word of God.
Sabbath- the seventh day.
Source: God The Creator
The Definition of the Sabbath
The Biblical definition of the Sabbath.
The Christian Sabbath
By Robby Lockeby