Sabbath: Did it Change in the New Testament?

saturday sabbath

Last week looked into the origins of Sabbath, and what it means.

So this week, we’ll take another step into Understanding Sabbath and its role in the New Testament chapters of the Bible, after Jesus came to earth.

1. When Jesus was here, did He keep the commandments?
John 15:10
Yes He did. Jesus kept all of God’s commandments, and demonstrated that as a human just as we are, it is possible.

2. Did He observe the seventh-day Sabbath?
Luke 4:16, 31; Exodus 20:8-11
Yes Jesus did. The bible even makes clear reference to the Sabbath being on the seventh day. The day blessed and sanctified, set apart from the other days.

3. Does Jesus expect us to follow His example in all things?
1 Peter 2:21, 1 John 2:6
Yes, He came to show us how we can walk in God’s way in all aspects of life, including keeping the commandments, overcoming temptations and staying in communion with God. Jesus kept the Sabbath and we too should do as He did and keep the Sabbath.

4. Does the New Testament refer to the seventh-day when it speaks of the Sabbath?
Luke 23:522-56; 24:1; Mark 15:42-47; 16:1-2.
Yes it does, the various examples describe events or activities which happened on the first day of the week and give reference to that day being after Sabbath, which we can conclude is the seventh. Sunday as a day of worship did not exist until centuries later.

5. Is the Sabbath of the commandments and the Sabbath of the New Testament the same?
Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2
Yes it is.  The day just before the first day of the week, which is illustrated by the calendar week, is the seventh and last day of the week – all referenced to in the Bible as the Sabbath.

6. Did the early Christian churches observe the Sabbath?
Acts 13:14, 44 – Antioch
Acts 16:12, 13 – Philippi
Acts 17:1, 2, 4 – Thessalonica
Acts 18:1-4 – Corinth
Yes they did. The excerpts describe specifically where the disciples  – specifically Paul – had kept the Sabbath and held meetings on Sabbaths where he preached to the crowds, sharing what Jesus did for the world.

7. Is there any commandment in the New Testament to observe the first day of the week?
Matthew 28:1, Luke 24:1, Mark 16:2, 9; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2
No there isn’t. There are 84 biblical references to meetings and gatherings held on Sabbath, and only one occurred on the first day of the week. But there is no reference in scripture to the first day of the week being hallowed, holy or the first day of the week being the new Sabbath. No other day of the week than the seventh day is referred to as the Sabbath.

8. Where do we find the New Testament record of the only meeting held on the first day of the week?
Acts 20:5-12
This was a religious meeting that took place on a Saturday Night. In accordance with the Biblical time, the first day of the week began at sundown, consequently, the meeting held by Paul on Saturday evening was in the early/dark part of the first day of the week.

12. Which day of the week is the “Lord’s day”?
Luke 6:5-11; Revelation 1:10
The Lord is the Lord of the Sabbath, and the Lord’s Sabbath has never changed. It remains the same today as it did in the beginning, in the New Testament after Jesus.


4 thoughts on “Sabbath: Did it Change in the New Testament?”

  1. First I would just say that the Sabbath stood for something. Remember the Sabbath day ..for I brought you out of Egypt…And then he promised that he would give them the land and give them rest on every side. Heb. 4 says linking the Sabbath Day with the rest Joshua had given them when they entered the land.3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world.4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”7 God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
    So we see here that we who believe enter that rest and we don’t just enter the rest once but we continue that rest. When? Today. Col. 2:16-17 call the OT Sabbath a shadow of things to come the reality if found in Christ. So we don’t live in a land of promise we live in Christ by his Spirit. There are lots of object lessons in OT Sabbath Keeping but when we are born of the Spirit and walk if faith is when we are resting. The Day to rest is today.

  2. I’m not sure if I understood the comment above correctly but to some extent I agree. In the NT Jesus’ observance of the Sabbath supports and is enough reason for us to keep the Sabbath day also, for He is our example (1Peter 2:21)
    Living in Christ daily requires those to rest daily I agree, living a different life to those who have no hope; living without fear, without worry and without anxiety because of the trust held in Him and His promises. So just as God calls us to live in Christ, the Sabbath is a special day not just for rest, but also for worship, fellowship and revival.

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