Understanding The Sabbath (1)

by Tayo Fasuan

“So, you attend Seventh Day Adventist?” I was asked for the umpteenth time. And as always, I replied, “No, I don’t. I am simply a Christian that observed the Sabbath and worship every Saturday.”

Since I’ve started attending church on Saturday, I have been questioned numerous times like this about my belief, and I have even been interrogated for the beliefs of others who are observing Sabbath as well. Some of the questions were asked with a sincere and open mind; some asked with the intent to castigate; while some asked for curiosity sake.

Whatever the intention of the questioner is, I have always take the pain to answer as honestly as the Bible permits, taking my points wholly from the Bible, and connecting the dots with simple reasoning and common sense.

However, I have not always met with success. For as long as I could remember, Sabbath keepers have always been referred to as cultists. They have been called the antichrists. They have been called the twisters of the words of God. They have been accused of turning Christianity upside down.

But are all these accusations and insinuations true? Is it true that your next-door neighbour who happens to be a Sabbath keeper is indeed an antichrist, who is twisting the word of God to turn Christianity on its head?

These series of articles are not written to answer these questions directly, but to allow the individuals reading them to come up with a reasonable verdict on the Sabbath issue, and to convince yourself that Sabbath might actually be the appointed day by God himself for Him to be worshipped.

When I was growing up, I have consistently wondered while reading the Bible why Christians do go to church on Sundays, when it was explicitly written that the children of God throughout the Bible worshipped the Lord on the seventh day. Not the first day or any other day, but on the seventh day: Saturday.

After God created man and the animals on the sixth day, it was written that He rested on the seventh day as written in Genesis 2:2-3, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Subsequently, He instructed the children of Israel to remember that day and keep it holy as contained in the Ten Commandment.

People have, over the years, been using the point above to attack Sabbath keepers, declaring that the instruction given was in the Old Testament, and that New-Age Christianity only observe the New Testament. In fact, some have ignorantly or argumentatively said that Monday is the first day of the week, that’s why Sunday is the seventh day.

While the latter argument is bordering on arrogant stupidity, the former needed some clarification. The argument about the testaments of bible is very invalid because the Bible, whether Old or New Testament, is one and written under inspiration of God, it is important to point out here that the New Testament never opposes the Sabbath as the Sabbath antagonists have suggested.

The New Testament talks about the lives and preaching of Christ and his disciples/followers, and not once was it mentioned in this testament that the day of worship was or should be changed. Christ himself, from whose name the term Christianity was coined, was an ardent keeper of Sabbath when he was on earth. Didn’t Christ say that he was sent to enforce the laws, Sabbath keeping inclusive, and not to break them? Didn’t he say that the Sabbath was created for man? Or was there a place in the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John where he was quoted to have negated the Sabbath day?

If Christ early disciples, whose books and letters filled the entire New Testament, didn’t say anything contrary to worshipping of God on the seventh day, why are we, his present-day disciples and followers, acting otherwise? As emulators of Christ, aren’t we supposed to be following all his teachings and practices, and not selectively do what we want or what we think is right?

People should not make this particular mistake about Sabbath keeping: we can worship God any day we want and wish because He alone deserves it. We were made to worship Him. The church I attend still runs a Sunday service at the early hour of the day. We hold prayer meeting and bible study on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

But God himself has selected a day for us: the Seventh day, which is known now as Saturday, as the day He is at rest to be worshipped. He has also sanctified this day to listen to us as His creations. So, which day would you rather worship the Lord? A man-made day or a day that God made Himself? The answer is ultimately yours to answer.