There is much confusion as to whether Christians are to keep the Sabbath and recognize it as a holy day. Let’s explore scripture to see what God has to say.
Many people stand on the fact that observance of the Sabbath is for today and claim it is based on the use of the Hebrew ‘Olam Olam’. ‘olam olam’ is translated to everlasting, perpetual and forever in various verses many instances of ceremonial laws including observance of the Sabbath. These verses use the term olam olam:
Exodus 31:16 Sabbath
Genesis 17:13 Circumcision
Leviticus 24:8 Showbread
Leviticus 16:29 No work Seventh day Seventh month
Exodus 29:9 Priests office
Exodus 40:15 Anointing of priests
Exodus 31:17 Sign between God and Israel
Exodus 12:14 Feasts
As you can see; these things are indeed eternal having been transformed into "spiritual things" today via the New Testament. (these have all been fulfilled though Christ and are no longer to be practiced today in the OT form once given) So it's obvious that scriptures which speak 'olam olam' for certain rituals show that it is not to be physically practiced as everlasting in their present form but instead as through the fulfillment of Jesus Christ.
Scripture declares that to keep 600+ commandments, and yet fail to keep one, is to break them all.
See this article we did that list all 613 Torah laws HERE.
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
Note: the law James is referring to is the law of God ( including the torah, not just the 10 commandments as some claim ) The Greek Word is nomos... law of God
Note: Sabbath Keepers focus on Sat sabbath but often ignore the rest of the law and this is VERY hypocritical!
We cannot pick and choose which of the Old Testament laws we will obey and which we will not. If Christians are bound by the Law/ Torah, all Old Testament law should be obeyed, which includes the animal sacrifices, and all seven feasts, including the three yearly visits to Jerusalem etc.
What did Jesus say about the ten commandments?
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31)
Many will say ‘But Jesus observed the Sabbath. Yes…
He also paid tithes, wore tassles, observed feasts and holy days etc.
God’s Word never says Jesus rested and he criticized people for telling others what could and could not be done on the Sabbath.
And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. 24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful (Mark 2:23-24)
(Keep in mind Numbers 15:32-36 show how a man was stoned to death for picking sticks on the Sabbath, is picking corn any different?)
Jesus compared the Sabbath to ceremonial laws, not to moral laws:
Matthew 12 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? 6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. 7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
It was a ceremonial law not moral
-It was to be kept from sunset to sunset (Exodus 20:8-11)
-No burden was to be carried (Jeremiah 17:22)
-No fire kindled (Exodus 35:3)
-No Cooking done (Exodus 16:23)
-No buying (Nehemiah (10:31)
-The penalty for doing any of these things during the Sabbath was DEATH (Numbers 15:32-36).
Jesus said that his disciples should pray not to flee on the Sabbath (Matthew 24:20). Doesn’t this mean that we should be keeping it?
No. It is permissible to flee for your life on the Sabbath. But Jesus said that people in Judaea (Matthew 24:16) could find it difficult, just as they would find it difficult but not sinful to flee in winter (Matthew 24:20). This verse does not say whether the disciples would be keeping the Sabbath or not—it just recognizes that other people in Judea ( unbelieving Jews ) would be, so it would be difficult to flee when city gates were closed, shops were closed, etc. This verse does not command the Sabbath—it only shows that it would be difficult for people in Judea to flee on the Sabbath.
Hebrews 4:9-10 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
The ancient Israelites, who had the Sabbath, did not enter the rest he is talking about. God's rest is entered by faith — by believing the gospel
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3)
A person who keeps the weekly Sabbath but rejects Christ has not and cannot enter God's rest. We enter God's rest only by believing/ being born of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Just as the bronze snake pointed to Jesus' crucifixion, and the washings pointed to forgiveness, and the sacrifices pointed to Jesus, similarly, the weekly Sabbath pointed to something spiritual: our rest through faith in Christ.
Anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His.
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:10)
God rested from his creative work, but what kind of work do we rest from? What do we quit doing when we come to have faith in Christ? The work of trying to earn our salvation. ( OT animal sacrifices ) When we look to Jesus for our salvation, we quit looking to ourselves then we OBEY and walk in holiness as fruit of good works.
In one way, symbols are obsolete but in another way, they are still required. Circumcision is a great example. Christians do not have to be physically circumcised (Romans 2:29) but we must be circumcised in the heart. We are to keep this law, but not by letter and instead by spirit. In one way, Christ has made the law obsolete; in another way He has transformed it and still requires it in its transformed way. Look at Levitical rituals: although we do not offer animal sacrifices, we are obedient to those laws when we have faith that Jesus Christ fulfilled those sacrifices.
Since the Sabbath points toward our salvation, and this salvation is in Christ, we are abiding by the purpose of the Sabbath commandment as we put our faith and trust in Christ. It is in Him that we find the rest that we need (Matthew 11:28-30) The requirement for rest has been transformed to focus on Christ rather than a day of the week. If we have faith in Him, we are entering God’s rest and we are therefore keeping the spiritual intent of the Sabbath.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (Matthew 5:17)
Fulfil in greek means:
From G4134; to make replete, that is, (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.: - accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.
The following examples of fulfilled prophesy we see it means to bring to completion.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:22-23)
And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
We see in the next two veses how plēroō is in the sense of literally filling:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. (Matthew 13:47-48)
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4)
Continuing on with the use of plēroō we see a sense of it being used as completely or entirely
Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. (Romans 15:19)
These are just a few of the many versus using plēroo and in all cases it was used to mean fill to the fullest, complete or to finish. Jesus fulfilled obedience to the letter of the law, teaching that it was the principle behind every Mosaic command (spirit of the law) that was in place for all God’s people regardless of when or where they lived. His teaching did not abolish the Old Testament revelation but instead carried it forward to it’s intended fulfillment/consummation.
It is very important to understand that the Old Testament represents types and foreshadows of God’s plan of redemption for mankind that would come to be fulfilled through Jesus Christ. Understand that Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection IS the completion and the fulfillment of God's plan and the end of our labors to save ourselves through our works. (Titus 3:5, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:28, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:11 to name just a few.) These all explain about the law and salvation not coming through works.
Jesus makes perfect, fulfills, and completes God’s plan of redemption for mankind and therefore the Mosaic Covenant (Moses) that was given at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 20) is no longer in effect (ended) under the New Covenant and Jeremiah confirms this:
Jer 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Jer 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
The book of Hebrews reconfirms:
Hebrews 8:8 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Hebrews 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people
Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Paul reveals a larger concept of types and foreshadows from the Old Testament and how they are fulfilled under the New Covenant when he speaks about Jesus as the second Adam.
1 Corinthians 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
In other words the natural/physical came first (Old Testament foreshadow), the spiritual came second (New Covenant/Testament fulfillment.)
Colossians 2 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
The sabbath days were just a shadow of our true rest, Jesus Christ. Only Christ can save our soul and give us rest.
Jesus Christ has become our sabbath rest and we can have that rest everyday of the week.
The HOLY SPIRIT chose only those 4 things to pass on to the gentiles:
Acts 15 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
Sabbath keeping is never taught in the New Testament as a commandment.
John 9:16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth NOT the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.
Though Genesis 2:1-3 says that after the Lord had ended all His work He rested on the seventh day and blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, there is not a word about it being given to Adam and Eve as a commandment. You don't hear another word about the Sabbath in the entire book of Genesis.
We also do not hear that Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob kept the Sabbath. It is not until after the redemption of God's people (Israel) out of Egypt when they are safely on the other side of the Red Sea that you read in the Book of Exodus that the Sabbath is mentioned. (Exodus 16:22-30)
So God didn’t make the Sabbath covenant with the fathers before Moses? There are no commands for anyone to observe Sabbath prior to Moses. See the following verse:
Deuteronomy 5:1-3 And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.
Here Paul shows how he becomes all things to all people. He does not instruct them to follow the Old Covenant/Testament.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
Paul groups the weekly Sabbath with the annual festivals, the monthly rituals, and eating and drinking restrictions of Judaism.
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
The old is old is gone, the new is here:
(2 Corinthians 3:3-11) Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
Ephesians 2 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby
A group most known lately for teaching this error is Hebrew Root cults. They tell you to keep OT torah law today. See them exposed here with many articles HERE.