Keeping the Sabbath


Many religions observe one day out of the week as a special time in which they go to “church”, “synagogue” or “mosque”. The idea of one day being much better than any other starts from creation and continues until today. However, no one can agree on which day. Thus, we have to see what the scriptures say and go from there.


Everything in the scriptures has a beginning. In the case of the Sabbath, it is almost as old as man has been on the earth.

Genesis 2:1-3

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day Elohim ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which Elohim created and made.

Discussion Questions:

  1. This passage mentions nothing about man not working on the Sabbath or anything like that. How does this compare to the keeping of the Sabbath today?

  2. This is the only time that the Sabbath is mentioned until the middle of the book of Exodus. Do you think that anyone “kept the Sabbath” before the time of the Exodus?

The Original Commandments

Well, since the creation, the Sabbath has always been in existence. However, if had fallen into disuse or been forgotten. Thus, Yahweh had to remind the people of this day and set it apart once more.

Exodus 16:11-30

Exodus 20:8-11

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of Yahweh thy Elohim: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Yahweh blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Exodus 31:13-17

13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am Yahweh that doth sanctify you.
14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to Yahweh: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Yahweh used the manna as a marker to help the Israelites know when the Sabbath was to be kept. Since we don't receive manna today, how do we know we keep the Sabbath on the correct day?

  2. Based on what is said in Exodus 20, if you owned your own business and had employees who could work on Saturday, would you keep the business open while you went to church, but the employees kept on working for you?

  3. What does it mean in Exodus 31 that the Sabbath is a “sign”? And are we children of Israel today?

Did YAHSHUA Keep It?

Some say that Yahshua did away with the law and that included keeping the Sabbath. Did Yahshua keep the Sabbath or, as everyone else says, did he tell us to stop keeping it?

Luke 4:16

16 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.

Mark 3:1-6

1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

Mark 6:2

2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?

Luke 13:10-17

Discussion Questions:

  1. Did any of the above examples state that the Sabbath should not be kept?

  2. Did Yahshua break the commandments of the Sabbath in any of these passages? If not, why did the Pharisees say he did?

So What Does It Mean Now?

Even though there is no example of Yahshua removing the requirement to keep the Sabbath, people persist in saying that the law was no longer valid once he died and was resurrected. If this were so, then we would find examples of the apostles no longer keeping the Sabbath...

Acts 13:13-15, 42, 44

13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.
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.
15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of Elohim.

Acts 17:1-3

1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3 Opening and alleging, that Messiah must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Yahshua, whom I preach unto you, is Messiah.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How might some people explain why the apostles were in the synagogues on the Sabbath and say they were not “keeping the Sabbath”?

  2. Since the Sabbath appears to have been kept by the apostles, when do you think that Yahweh commanded that it be changed to Sunday?






Lesson One – What is the Sabbath? Copyright ©2003-2017 – Congregation of YHWH (