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How Should We Observe the Sabbath Day?

A Study Outline


I. God wants us to observe the Sabbath Day as a “holy convocation”, but what does this really mean? Can we rely on the traditions passed down to modern society through the Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish groups as a proper guide to keeping the day holy?

A. Luke 6:1-5. Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath, so we should look to Him for guidance on how to best keep the day.

II. Some basic scriptures related to the keeping of the Sabbath day:

A. The weekly Sabbath is a holy convocation. We are to congregate with God’s brethren. Leviticus 23:3.

holy (Strong 6944) = quodesh, “a sacred place or thing, rarely (abst.) sanctity.”

convocation (Strong 4744) = migra, “something called out, i.e. a public meeting (the act, the persons, or the place).”

Even though Exodus 16:29 says, “… let no man go out of his place on the seventh day”, this command is in reference to not collecting manna, not to avoid meeting with brethren for a Sabbath holy convocation.

B. We are not to perform our usual “servile”, or money-making work, nor is anyone in our household. It is a day of physical, mental, and spiritual rest, a Sabbath. Exodus 16:30; 20:9-10; Leviticus 23:3; Deuteronomy 5:14; Isaiah 58:13 (“turn away your foot”, or don’t walk very far); Hebrews 4:4,9.

Sabbath (Strong 7676) = shabbath, “intermission, i.e. (spec.) the Sabbath,” from Strong 7673 = shabath, “to repose, i.e. desist from exertion.”

C. One is to not do one’s own “pleasure”, but is to do God’s pleasure. Isaiah 58:13.

pleasure (Strong 2656) = chephets, “pleasure, hence (abst.) desire; concr. a valuable thing; hence (by extens.) a matter (as something in mind).”

D. We are to speak God’s words on this day. Isaiah 58:13.

E. The day is to be honorable. Isaiah 58:13.

honorable (Strong 3513) = kabad = to be heavy, i.e. in a had sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable); causat. to make weighty (in the same two senses).”

F. We are to observe it with joy and delight. Isaiah 58:13-14.

delight (Strong 6027) = oneg, “luxury”; from Strong 6026 = anag, “to be soft or pliable, ie. (fig.) effeminate or luxurious.” Nehemiah 8:9. People were told by Nehemiah to “… mourn not, nor weep …” on the Sabbath day.

G. The Sabbath is a day to commemorate the recreation of the earth and of Eden, and coming out of bondage (sin) in Egypt. Exodus 20:11; Deuteronomy 5:15.

[We may also say that the day pictures the future recreation of the earth as an Eden in the Kingdom, and the world’s entire society coming out of sin.]

H. During this day we are to serve one another with the gifts God has given us … although this command is for every day of the week as well. I Corinthians 14:26-40; I Peter 4:8-11.

I. It is a day to do good. Matthew 12:11: pull a sheep out of a pit; Luke 13:15: water one’s livestock; Matthew 12:12: it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day; Matthew 12:13; Luke 6:6-10; 13:10-13; healing is proper for the Sabbath.

III. In a very real sense we ought to be living our life on the Sabbath Day as if we were already in the literal Kingdom of God on earth.

l 6,000 years of man’s reign on the earth followed by 1,000 years of God’s reign —-> six days of the week lived in man’s world followed by the seventh day lived in God’s world. II Peter 8:8; Psalm 90:4.