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Published on February 8th, 2017 | by Discussion Questions

Should we still observe the Sabbath today?

JONATHAN WRITES: I’m reading Exodus right now, and this morning I read chapter 20 (the Ten Commandments) and I was wondering if resting on Sunday is still applicable today. Especially since we live in a world where Saturday and Sunday are often the only times to clean, organize, and generally get ready for the week.

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  • Okie Gal

    Well, biblically meeting with the body of believers is super important and you wont want to miss that.

    But if we’re talking like just a day of rest then no and yes. We’re not under the law but under grace, which means you aren’t sinning to work on that day. But I think the principal is helpful, and it definitely shows that God values rest.

    For me, I usually do laundry and clean a bit on Sunday after church, but it’s pretty restful since I don’t study as much (or at all) and sometimes just read or sleep instead.

    • Jonathan Staebell

      Yes, I do think that church is a very important part of Sunday.

  • Lydia Graham

    If you mean the Sabbath as in Sunday, then I would say YES. It is very important to be going to a strong biblical church. It is way to learn, and be instructed in the gospel. Although if you mean the Sabbath as in Saturday, I tend to think that Saturday is in preparation for Sunday. You are doing all the household chores and preparing for a day of rest. I always tend to thing of the protestant on Saturday, and how they observed it. They had to make all of the food ahead of time, and on Sunday they did not do any thing besides go to church, read the bible, or rest. And the only toy the children were allowed to play with was a little arc with Noah and his animals. Hope this helps. Interesting question. Just curios, but are you reading your bible through in a year? I am, and I am about where you are.

    • Jonathan Staebell

      Yes, I am. It’s a great idea to understand at least basically how all the stories of the Bible relate to each other as teens.

      • Lydia Graham

        I agree

  • KatelynS

    Okay, it seems like you are not asking about going to church but about resting. For me, that one is difficult because my Sunday’s consist of church, eating with family and/or friends, going to Student Leadership Team meeting, youth group, and I finish off with small group! Although I’m keeping my day holy, I’m not resting much!

    The thing is, we wouldn’t question any of the other commandments; “you shall not murder” – no question there! But now in the 21st century when it would be so much easier for us to not take the commandment literally, I think it still holds up, just like the other 9. Those are just my 2 cents! 😉

  • Okie Gal

    Jesus gives a lot of light on this in Matthew 12, if you want to study it more.

  • ZeePt3

    Okay, so cool question. I know a couple people who rest in certain ways on Sunday. For instance, I know that some take a break from electronic devices, TV, video games, etc. Although, some people just don’t do that in general, and that’s totally awesome. For some, electronics is all they do for work, and Sunday is a break from all that. TheRebelution takes a break on Sunday! My dad is the director of operations at a software company, and I know he HATES talking on the phone because of it. It can be a nice relief from all the screens and stress, so they take the opportunity. I’m sure it also helps when you’re trying not to forget what was spoken at church that day, and to help keep your mind clear.

  • Nicole

    I am a Seventh-Day Adventist. I believe that God wants us to rest on the seventh day Sabbath. The bible says “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you shall work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath day of the Lord your God.”

  • Nicole

    (to whoever is reading this) Why do you keep Sunday as the Sabbath?

    • Okie Gal

      Personally I don’t think it matters what day this happens. The command seemso to read more like “do this once a week” rather than “on this day”. Sunday is just the tradition in my culture, so I do it then. I’ve heard Christians in some other countries do Friday since they have the day off.

    • Rachel M.

      We keep Sunday as the Sabbath because it is the day that Jesus rose from the grave.

      • Nicole

        I am not arguing, I just want to understand your perspective. :) Where in the Bible does it say to keep Sunday as the Sabbath because of the day Christ rose from the grave?
        Just a random thought as well: When Jesus lay in the tomb, he even rested on the Sabbath (saturday) and didn’t rise till Sunday.

        • Rachel M.

          Hi Nicole!

          The Bible doesn’t specifically say, “Keep Sunday as the Sabbath because Jesus rose on that day.” However, in the Bible you read in Acts 20:7, which says, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” and 1 Corinthians 16:2, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

          These verses both say that the first day of the week is when the early Christians gathered to worship and rest. What is the first day of the week in our culture? Sunday. That is why Sunday is our day of rest, according to God’s Word.

          Hopefully I answered your question! God Bless!

          P.S. Having a day of rest doesn’t mean not doing anything, so Jesus rising from the grave on Sunday doesn’t mean it was an act of work. Hope that makes sense! XD

  • Howard Parks

    The Sabbath is the 7th day of the week (starting at sunset Friday, ending at sunset on Saturday). The Lord’s Day is the first day of the week, observed as Sunday in modern times. This distinction is never confused in the Bible. There are other Sabbaths other than the weekly one. The first day of the Feast of Unleavened bread is one that comes immediately to mind.
    Jesus’ practice was to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath, and at some point, the early church moved to gathering on the Lord’s Day. In Acts, it is recorded that there were gatherings on the Lord’s Day, but no where does it say “replace the Sabbath with the Lord’s Day.”
    Jesus did say if we loved Him, we’d keep His commandments. Most Christians have somehow decided that He didn’t mean keeping the Sabbath, even though they would never believe He decided it was now okay to commit adultery, yet both commandments appear in the same passage of Scripture.
    There are various arguments about verses that can be construed to mean an end to Sabbath keeping, but none of them are explicit. When I see how seriously God took the topic, I think it is only reasonable to expect that, if He wanted us to stop, He would have said so explicitly.
    This is not a salvation issue. We are saved by grace through faith, not by obedience to the Torah. I do think it demonstrates a weakness in church practice, where we do so many things without question, sometimes in conflict with what the Bible says.

    • Okie Gal

      Hmm, I think it has a lot to do with your views on the new covenant.

  • I believe that we must follow all 10 commandments so we have to see what Exodus 20:8 says ““Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
    I believe the Sabbath is on Saturday. I also believe that we should not work on it or go shopping (making others work) as the Bible says above. I believe great resting options include family time, hiking, Bible study, Christian fellowship, nature time. It’s a great day to truly REST with God.

    • Christian Country Girl

      I agree with you! I also believe that Saturday is meant to be kept holy and I look at it as a special day that God has given me!

  • Regan Seba

    I will be honest and say that I do not observe the Sabbath. It isn’t because I don’t think it is important(the Ten Commandants are kind of a big deal for a reason), but more because my family has not ever observed the Sabbath strictly. It should also be noted that my family has a very difficult time to just rest (hi Brett. Yes, we’ve talked about this. :D). That being said, I look at the Sabbath and think, Hmm. A whole day of rest. Every week. That sounds amazing.

    Yet my family is guilty of what so many others are, where we are so busy we have no time to rest. While I am usually home on Sunday afternoons, there was a period of time during last semester where I was not. Sunday did not ever feel restful, even if I didn’t work(perhaps noting how just because you are not working does not mean you’re resting…). To give you a picture, I would get up early, drive the half hour to church usually by myself so I could be at church at 8:50 to get the run-down on the sixth grade small group I lead, lead it, finish 1st service, sit in worship for 2nd service with my peer group, and occasionally have a meeting after church about serving(I’m also on the worship band). I would then go to my grandparents house(because driving back and forth to my house was a waste of time, not to mention gas money) and spend the afternoon there before going to small groups at night. I would then drive home.

    I will be honest, I did not feel terribly rested after all of that. This semester I actually decided to cut my small groups, which is a long story, but the short of it is that I didn’t ever feel rested or prepared for my week when Monday rolled around, and I was already overcommitted, so I cut it.

    My point in all of that is to say this: There are two ways of looking at this. The first is from the view that, of course, we should obey the ten commandments and obviously Jesus adhered to the Sabbath, so shouldn’t we? I don’t disagree. Jesus is clearly our ultimate example, and so clearly we SHOULD take time to rest and spend time with Him on the sabbath.

    The other point of view is this: Romans says we are no longer under the law, that we are free from it. There is an entire passage in Galatians that talks about how we are free from the law, not to mention most of Romans and Hebrews. Is it, then, a huge problem if we do not adhere to the Sabbath? Are we still bound to that part of the Law?

    I don’t know which view I agree with. I lean towards agreeing with the Sabbath, but I also take into account how difficult it is for people to follow it. This is no excuse, I know. Busyness never in any circumstance excuses ignoring Scripture. But have we looked at it both ways? Have we considered everything? Are we bound by the Law still, or is it an act of obedience in following Christ’s example? I don’t have any answers, but I hope, if you have by some miracle managed to read this far, you have at least had some food for thought.

    • Lydia Graham

      Hi Regan, I can relate with Sunday being a busy day. Our Sundays are usually Morning service, afternoon service in squatter camp, and then evening service.

  • Andrew Barnes

    God knows every situation; if it’s out of your hands, it’s comforting to know that it’s better to do good than to do evil on the Sabbath (Mark 3:4), whether it’s Saturday (the OG), or Sunday. I definitely think if you can take a break from routine, do it. It’s a way to honor God with the first -or last- of your week,
    Most of all, whatever the circumstance, honor God. Love him and serve him, and love others.

  • Wow! This is really incredible because yesterday’s sermon at our church was on the fourth commandment! We’re working through all 10 before Easter.

    Let me type out some of my notes on the sermon. Again, these are just my notes from the sermon. These are NOT my words!

    “Sabbath” is of Hebrew origin meaning “cease” or “stop working”.

    The idea of the sabbath has been modeled since the beginning when God rested on the 7th day.

    The word “sabbath” is first mentioned in Exodus 16:21-26. This passage is talking about when God was providing manna daily for the Israelites and He told them to gather double before the Sabbath and He would make sure it stayed fresh for the next day.
    ^^In other words, the word sabbath was associated with trust in that context.

    Sometimes we refuse to rest and take a sabbath because we lack trust. We fear the work won’t get done if we don’t do it NOW; but we need to trust God’s sovereignty in providing us with a day of rest and not try to overwork ourselves.

    God designed us for rest. If we don’t rest, we are consequently claiming an affinity with God we can’t claim. As humans, we HAVE to rest and when we try to act as if we don’t need it, we are claiming an equality with God we cannot claim.
    Some reasons why we refuse to rest:

    -lack of trust (as already mentioned)
    -We enjoy being busy and subconsciously feel arrogantly taht the world can’t go on without us.

    -People pleasing

    The Sabbath is a time when we should *remove all distractions from God* (<I LOVE that!!)

    Four Aspects of Sabbath:
    1) Stopping work (paid or unpaid)- if it distracts us from God, we need to stop.

    2) Resting- doing activities that feel restful for us

    3) Practicing Delight- do something we enjoy
    4) Contemplating God- intentionally spending a great amount of time with the Lord and dedicating the day to Him.

    Sabbath is God's way of slowing us down so we can spend time with Him and those we love.

    It shouldn't be legalistic! A parent still has to help their child. Someone still has to cook. Emergencies happen. We can't be to stringent.

    A couple verses: Mark 2:27 and Matthew 11:28-30

    • Jesse

      I know this is probably out of context with what you said and not sure if I used that word wrong but I always thought that the Sabbath day was something that we were expected to always keep holy remember that it is a special day but I don’t really know a lot about it other than that. another thing is that one of the commandments says that we have 6 days of labor and we must use the Sabbath day of no labor and notice the fact that it is the seventh day is the day that god rested from making the heavens the seas and the universe basically in 6 days. which brings me to another fact that the Sabbath day is forgotten a lot not by adults but by young Christians, because if I were to go to my youth group and ask some of the kids about the Sabbath day they would either ignore me or they would shrug and walk away which makes me confused because shouldn’t all Christians know about the Sabbath day? also you said we should remove all distractions on this day does that mean when I am playing video games or texting or watching movies or hanging out with my friends I am not honoring the Sabbath day? thanks for taking the time to ready this Megan I would have made my own comment but I kind of wanted some light shun on this cause I am very uninformed about this and to be honest your the only person I actually have talked to directly ( other then the discussion writers) since ive been on the rebelution. which I know I have not been on for a long time. thanks again. sincerely Jesse 😀

      • Rachel M.

        In my family, Sunday is a busy day with getting ready for church and driving to and from church. That doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t rest. For us, homework and chores are not an option on Sundays. Those things can be done on Saturday. We personally will sit in the afternoons and watch TV or nap. That is how we honor the Sabbath by resting. I don’t think that being on electronics is not resting, so long as you are using them for something other than work. Hope this answers your question!

        • Jesse

          it does answer my question thanks for explaining

        • Nicole

          I totally agree with you! Except I believe Saturday is the Sabbath. The Bible says “6 days thou shalt work, but the 7th day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.”

          • Jesse

            that is true the Sabbath is on Saturday but on the original Hebrew calendar so it looks like Sunday is actually the 7th but actually is the beginning of the week “shhhhh don’t tell my mom or she’ll start making me do school on Sunday 0_0 :(

    • Nicole

      Do you keep the 7th day as the Sabbath? :)

  • Christian Country Girl

    Hey everyone!

    I believe that the Sabbath is something God meant for us to observe always. No where in the Bible does it say that God told us not to keep it anymore.

    As for cleaning and such, as long as you are striving to follow God and keeps His commandments, I’m sure He will make known to you a way to get your work done without breaking the Sabbath.

    Don’t look at it as a burden! It’s a privilege! God actually gave us a day to rest and spend time with Him and each other. I can’t imagine not having that.

    Something to consider: God said to rest on the 7th day, right? I keep the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday) and would encourage you to study out the Bible for what day the Sabbath is and why we still keep it.

    Here are a few verses that have helped me:
    1) Exodus 20:8-11
    2) Genesis 2:3
    3) Matthew 5:17-19

    Hope this helped!

  • Okie Gal

    While we’re trying to understand and obey God’s word, let me just mention that the Sabbath isn’t a central in scripture and it’s not worth causing a ton of division over.

    • Nicole

      The Sabbath is central just as “Thou shalt not kill is central”. It is the 4th of the 10 commandments after all…

      • Okie Gal

        Yeah, but scripture isn’t *mainly* about things we should and shouldn’t do. It’s about God being glorified through saving sinners. (Romans, especially the first part of chapter 8 explains this.)

        I just meant that we shouldn’t let ourselves get distracted from the bigger picture.

  • Because this world is so crazy and fast-paced, I think it’s even more important to respect and protect the Sabbath day as a day of rest. There’s really no rest in this world, and I think that’s partly why God gave us the commandment to honor Sundays as days of worship and rest and down-time. :)
    Now, “resting” doesn’t have to mean napping for 5 hours–although if you can nap for 5 hours, go you!!– I think rest means concentrating more on family and on God. Go to your Sunday worship services, read the Scriptures (or any other form of God’s word), write in your journal, listen to uplifting music, refrain from too much screen time, spend time with family. Just wholesome, recreational activities. I find that when I separate the Sabbath from the other days of the week, and leave my homework alone, leave other worldly things alone for just 24 hours, I’m often more refreshed than when I don’t.
    There’s not exactly a strict rule on Sabbath day observance, just as long as you can feel the Spirit and are resting from your normal, day-to-day activities.

  • I believe we should, but because of society now, it is physically impossible for a human to not do any kind of work on any day of the week, unless they are really hurt. I think it is sad that they have turned the Sabbath into a day of working. I pretty much work the most on Sundays, getting ready for school, whatever music thing I have going on, etc.. So yes, we should, we just can’t.

    • Nicole

      Truthfully with proper scheduling, it is VERY easy not to work on The Sabbath.

      • With proper scheduling yes.

  • Nicole

    I believe resting on the Sabbath is also critical for physical and mental health. During the French revolution there was a great reform and the government decided to make a 10 day week. (They were trying to disconnect EVERYTHING from God) It didn’t last because people were physically and mentally drained.

  • Riley Dirckx

    Absolutely, not only is it one of the Ten Commandments, scientists have proven that one day of rest per week is important to a persons health!

  • Hi everyone,

    When Paul is talking about stylistic differences in the church, my reading of scripture is that this is one example. It really depends on one’s heart: are you working for selfish gain, or to advance God’s kingdom? I cannot remember a Sunday I took “off”; God has given me an indescribably large zeal for serving Him in a particular way and there are simply not enough hours in the day to even do it all — so I make use of every minute that’s available as best I can.

    Some verses to consider that provide the scriptural basis for my worldview:

    (1) Colossians 2:16: “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a new moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”

    Lesson: whether we formally celebrate the sabbath or not is irrelevant — our identity is in Jesus and obeying Him.

    (2) John 5:16-17: “So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, “My father never stops working, so why should I?”

    Lesson: pretty self evident.

    (3) Luke 6:1-3: “One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?”

    Lesson: if what you’re doing is to honor God (and barring some convoluted story that’s inconsistent with scripture), then great. We should not allow man-made laws get in the way of genuine obedience.

    (4) Hebrews 4:4-10: “As for those who didn’t believe, God said, ‘In my anger I made a vow: they will never enter my place of rest’ even though his place of rest has been ready since he made the world. We know it is ready because the Scriptures mention the seventh day, saying, “on the seventh day God rested from all his work. But in the other passage God said, ‘They will never enter my place of rest. So God’s rest is there for people to enter. But those who formerly heard the Good News failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his place of rest, and that time is today… So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who enter into God’s rest will find rest from their labors, just as God rested after creating the world.”

    Lesson: Jesus is our rest given the sacrifice He made.

    The “studies” about the “health benefits” of resting are not nearly as unambiguous as some have characterized them as (and feel free to provide links if you’d like to share). Obviously we should get at least 7 hours of sleep per day and eat enough since we have physical constraints, but the remainder is really up to us and how much we put in God’s hands versus trying to have control on our own end. While I work all the time, there’s never a point where I feel stressed because in the Lord there is no stress.

    That said, if for anyone here you feel that a day completely set aside is one of the ways you honor God, keep that up because God wants our hearts — not our sacrifices — so lets just be sure everything we do is an authentic worship to the one who deserves our praise, rather than a formula we follow.

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