In this study we will examine the Scriptures, which show that Yahushua and the disciples did indeed observe and keep the Sabbath day.
Yahushua Messiah kept the Sabbath
Many say that Yahushua defended Himself and His disciples for breaking the Sabbath.
Think about this for a moment…If Yahushua broke the Sabbath then He did not keep the 4th commandment!
Certainly our perfect Messiah kept the Sabbath and kept it perfectly. The issue was in how the Sabbath was to be kept.
The scribes and Pharisees had added over one thousand laws to Sabbath observance such as not carrying your bed or healing on the Sabbath.
John 5:8- Yahushua said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”
9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed , and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.
10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry [your] bed .”
11 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, `Take up your bed and walk.’ “
12 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, `Take up your bed and walk’?”
13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Yahushua had withdrawn, a multitude being in [that] place.
14 Afterward Yahushua found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Yahushua who had made him well.
16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Yahushua, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
17 But Yahushua answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
Yahushua did not break the Sabbath according to Yahweh’s commandment and neither did the man who was healed.
But the Jews of that day had added these ideas of not healing, not carrying your bed and over a thousand other commandments of men that were added to Yahweh’s commandment for the Sabbath.
Yahushua emphasized that working for His purpose is never breaking the Sabbath. The Levites “broke” the Sabbath by sacrificing animals. Also circumcising a child on the Sabbath would have been forbidden if you could never work for His purpose. Yahweh knows the heart. That is why Yahushua said this.
Yahushua’s custom was to go the the synagogue every Sabbath.
Luke 4:16- So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
It was a normal thing in those days. The idea of not keeping the Sabbath did not exist among the Jews of that day. This is why Yahushua did not emphasize it as much as the other commandments.
The leaders of the day emphasized the outward appearance of serving Yahweh, but neglected important matters such as justice, mercy and faith.
Matt 23:23- “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier [matters] of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
Note that Yahushua did say that “These you ought to have done“.
All too often people think all that is required of us is justice, mercy and faith because Yahushua had to emphasize it so much. Certainly these are important. But do not neglect the other points.
Yahushua is the founder of our faith. His teachings and example is in full harmony with Yahweh’s will for our lives and is our highest authority.
Did Yahushua abolish or change the Sabbath as a day for rest and worship? Yahushua declared Himself as “Master of the Sabbath”. No scripture said that He had or would change the Sabbath, even after His death.
Yahushua kept the commandments and came to set us an example. (John 8:55, 1 Peter 2:21-22). In fact, Yahushua expects His followers in these last days to be praying about the Sabbath and keeping it:
Matt 24:20- And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
A common form of reasoning against Yahushua’s example of keeping the Sabbath is that He only “went along” with Sabbath observance so that the law would be fulfilled. The problem with this reasoning is that it could be applied as an excuse to do away with anything Yahushua ever said or did!
What percentage of His words and deeds are we to discount? This reasoning has no basis in scripture, it is only an attempt to ignore the example that Yahushua has given and also the example that the Heavenly Father gave when He created all things.
Another form of reasoning often used against Yahushua’s example of Sabbath observance is that He only kept it because He was a Jew. But was the Sabbath made for all mankind or for Jews only? What did Yahushua teach?
Mark 2:27- And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
While it is true that man was not made for the Sabbath, the Sabbath was made for man!
Notice that Yahushua never said “The Sabbath was made for Jews, not Jews for the Sabbath,” He plainly said the Sabbath was made for all mankind.
When Yahweh rested on the 7th day as an example for us, a Jew did not even exist. Yahushua plainly knew the Scriptures when He said that the Sabbath was made for man:
Let’s read the 56th chapter of Isaiah:
It doesn’t say “Blessed is the Jew that doeth this.” In fact..
Isaiah 56:3- Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to YAHWEH, speak, saying, YAHWEH hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
4 – For thus saith YAHWEH unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
5 – Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
6 – Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to YAHWEH, to serve him, and to love the name of YAHWEH, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
7 – Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
This proves that the Sabbath was intended for anyone who has “Joined himself to Yahweh” for Yahweh says that “EVERYONE who keeps from defiling the Sabbath” will be accepted in His sight.
To be certain, it is written that everyone will be observing His Sabbath day after the resurrection:
Isaiah 66:22- For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me,
saith YAHWEH, so shall your seed and your name remain.
23 – And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath
to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith YAHWEH.
“All flesh” will be observing a regular Sabbath, not just Israelites or Jews therefore the teaching that Yahushua only kept the Sabbath because He was/is Jewish is simply false and not founded on any scripture whatsoever.
The disciples kept the 7th day Sabbath
Even the Apostle Paul, after being accused of teaching that the law had been abolished, said that He keeps the commandments:
Acts 24:14- “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.
Acts 25:8- while he answered for himself, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.”
Now, unless Paul was lying here he had to have been keeping the Sabbath. In fact, he said that he didn’t teach anything other than what the “Old Testament” writers taught:
Acts 26:22- “Therefore, having obtained help from Yahweh, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come– 23 “that the Messiah would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the [Jewish] people and to the Gentiles.”
Many people would like to add: “……and abolish the law, especially the Sabbath.” But this is very simply not there.
You would think that such a momentous event as doing away with the Sabbath would be heavily prophesied in the Old Testament. But there is not a word about it. Rather to the contrary! (More on this later)
Even in the New Testament time period we see that the Gentiles and the Jews were keeping the Sabbath together in the Synagogue:
Acts 18:4- And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
Truly, the Sabbath was not for Jews only. James knew what day the Gentiles would be gathered:
Acts 15:19- Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to YAHWEH:
20 – But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
21 – For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
It was well known by James and others there that the Gentiles would be keeping the Sabbath and therefore would be in the synagogue on the Sabbath day and there they would learn more about Yahweh’s law. If they weren’t going there, his statement would have been without merit.
James also stated the same thing in his writings:
James 2:2- For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes,
3 – and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,”
I do wonder how many people honestly believe this scripture:
Galatians 3:28- There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in the Messiah Yahushua.
If you believe this then you cannot say that Yahweh holds one standard for one race of people and another standard for another race of people. This is not truth! Yahweh’s law was never meant to be double sided.
Did Paul do one thing and preach another? Did he preach that the Sabbath had been abolished but yet keep the Sabbath himself? Did He really call the Galatians (some of whom were Jewish) “foolish” for observing the Sabbath day and then be a hypocrite by observing it himself?
I challenge anyone to show me one line of scripture that states that the keeping of the literal Sabbath is no longer a commandment of Yahweh. To say so is to say that the Ten Commandments are no longer for today!
Some might cite Colossians 2. Read the study on Colossians 2 and see for yourself that indeed it PROVES that the keeping of the Sabbath is for today and has not been abolished.