Since Christ gave the Sabbath to man (Mark 2:27) it follows therefore that it is not to be ignored. To do so would be to disregard the Creator who made it and gave it to the human race. God says, “Them that honour Me I will honour.” 1 Samuel 2:30.
1. When does the Sabbath begin and end?
Read Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 14-19, 23, 31. Here it is evident that each full day began with the dark part and ended with the light part. Reason would indicate that the seventh day began at the going down of the sun and it ended twenty-four hours later at the end of the light part when the sun went down.
NOTE: The even begins at sunset according to Mark 1:32. “Even” and “sunset” are used interchangeably in the Bible. Read Deuteronomy 16:6; 23:11; 1 Kings 22:35, 36; 2 Chronicles 18:34. A full twenty-four hour day consists of dark and light. In the Bible the dark part precedes the light part. Sunset is the great natural sign God gave for marking the division of time into days.
2. On which day is special preparation to be made to keep the Sabbath holy?
“That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.” Luke 23:54. Read Exodus 16:22, 23.
NOTE: If no preparation is made ahead of time the Sabbath will generally not be kept properly. Preparation allows more time for entering into the spiritual and physical rest. On God’s day.
3. What about working on the Sabbath?
“In it you shall do no work.” Exodus 20:10
NOTE: This refers to labour by which we make our living and any other labour not in keeping with proper Sabbath observance.
4. Is the Sabbath day for our own pleasure and our own words?
“If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honourable, and shall honour Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 58:13, 14
5. What does God say about buying and selling on the Sabbath day?
Read Nehemiah 13:15-21; 10:31
6. Is the Sabbath to be a day of public worship?
“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.” Leviticus 23:3.
NOTE: “Convocation” means a calling together, and when used in the Bible refers to meetings of a religious character. On the Sabbath it was Christ’s custom to go to the synagogue. Read Luke 4:16. We are admonished, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some.” Hebrews 10:25.
7. What can one do on the Sabbath?
“Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:12
NOTE: On the Sabbath day Jesus healed the man with the withered hand (Luke 6:6-11). On the Sabbath Jesus healed the man who had been sick for 38 years (John 5:1-9). Jesus showed that acts of mercy performed to relieve suffering to His creatures were according to true Sabbath observance. A general guideline would be that whatever would deepen our love and appreciation of God, whatever would deepen the bond of union between God and believer would be proper to do on the Sabbath.
Isaiah had prophesied that Christ would “magnify the law and make it honourable.” Isaiah 42:21. The Jews had placed thousands of traditional regulations on the Sabbath to be a burden. For the most part these restrictions were man-made and caused the Sabbath to be a burden. Christ took all these away restoring the Sabbath to its proper place as a day of worship, a day of meditation upon God, a day for doing good. One of the most prominent features of Christ’s ministry was His work of Sabbath reform. He did not change the Sabbath but He did reject all of the traditions surrounding it. The blessing of Sabbath keeping can only be realised by those who lay “hold on it; Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” Isaiah 56:2. Read Isaiah 56:1-7.