Sabbath: As Seen in the New Testament

February 20, 2017

The Old Testament is a shadow of the New Testament (Hebrews 10:1). The Sabbath day in the Old Testament was called “the Sabbath of Jehovah” (Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12); whilst New Testament Sabbath was called “the Sabbath of Jesus” (Matthew 12:8; Luke 6:5).

New Covenant Sabbath is kept in Spirit and in Truth

The Sabbath Day in the Old Testament law is only a shadow, and the New Testament Sabbath taught by Jesus is the reality. The day on which the Sabbath was to be commemorated could never be changed as it was on the seventh day when God rested from all His creating work. However, the way for God’s people to keep the Sabbath day was changed in the New Testament times. In the Old Testament times, God’s people had to offer burnt offerings and could not even kindle a fire in their houses. However, in the New Testament times, people worship God in the Spirit and in truth.

John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Mark 2:23-27 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”… Then he [Jesus] said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Old Testament
New Testament
Offer burnt offerings
Do not work
Worship God in
Spirit and in truth

Jesus and the Apostles kept the Sabbath

In the New Testament times, we can see Jesus keeping the Sabbath, in the Spirit and in truth, reading from the Scriptures. There are also many records of the apostles keeping the Sabbath day, following the example of Jesus Christ.

Luke 4:16 He [Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read…

Acts 17:2 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures…

Acts 18:4 Every Sabbath he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Jesus is “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8 and Luke 6:5). We can also see apostles keeping Jesus’ (Lord’s) day.

Revelation 1:10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit…

Matthew 12:8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.

It is proven throughout the Scriptures that the Sabbath day—the seventh day, Saturday—was kept until the Apostolic Age. So why do many present-day Christians hold services on Sunday [the first day] and not on the Sabbath day? According to history, Sunday service originated from pagan sun-god worship. The Romans had been worshiping the sun-god on the first day [Sunday], recognising it as “the day of the sun”, even before the birth of Jesus.