“If you love me, you will obey what I command. (John 14:15)
the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all
your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it
you shall not do any work... For in six days the Lord made the heavens
and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the
seventh day..."(Exodus 20:8-11).
From olden days, we have
the custom of the seven-day system in Korea. For example, to keep
something holy for God or to do something important, we choose the day,
called the first seventh day, third seventh day or seventh seventh day
and so on.
But we have adapted the western custom, and
nowadays follow the week system. Moreover, according to it, we don't
work on Sunday after we accepted use the solar calendar. It became more
widespread after Christianity was introduced to Korea and Sunday was
kept as a day for divine worship. Therefore Sunday is a very important
and joyous day for modern people to rest and relax.
are few people who know the origin of Sunday. Some Christian churches
have their divine worship on Sunday. Others have theirs on Saturday.
Most people dont understand what the difference is between them. So lets
learn about the week system and the origin of the Sabbath.
week system can be understood as a part of the calendar, but it is not
related to the movement of a celestial body, the sun or the moon. The
solar and lunar systems were made by observing the movement of the sun
and the moon and each term was just 24 divisions of a year. But the
seven-day system has nothing with them. It is strange that we think it a
part of the calendar. According to the Great Britain Encyclopedia, A
week is a period of seven days, a unit of time artificially devised with
no astronomical basis. The origin of the term is generally associated
with the ancient Jews and the biblical account of the Creation,
according to which God laboured for six days and rested on the seventh.
Evidence indicates, however, that the Jews may have borrowed the idea of
the week from Mesopotamia. According to Genesis, the one who made the
week system and ordered us to rest on the seventh day is God. It is said
in Genesis chapter 2, "thus the heavens and the earth were completed in
their entire vast array. 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"(Genesis 2:3-5).
fourth of Ten Commandments says, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping
it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh
day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any
work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or
maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in
six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that
is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed
the Sabbath day and made it holy"(Exodus 20:8-11).
the Sabbath is a memorial of Creation that God made at the beginning.
He commanded us to remember this day and to rest on it. He told us to
especially remember it because God had already known that people would
forget the meaning of the day.
prepared the Sabbath so that after we work hard for six days we can
rest on the Sabbath day. But it's not only for rest primarily. Today we
need to relax our bodies but those days they didn't get tired because
there was no sin as yet. Though Adam and Eve were perfect creatures they
had to rely on God as children do on their parents. They enjoyed their
daily lives knowing themselves as just creatures of God and relying on a
powerful God for everything. And God loved them sincerely. He wanted
them to communicate with him and contemplate the love and wisdom of
their Father for one day of the week. "Therefore Sabbath is the day for
the relationship between God and human beings. God said this through the
prophet Ezekiel; Keep my Sabbaths holy, that it may be a sign between
us. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God"(Ezekiel 20:20).
means that Sabbath is a sign that God made us holy as His children. By
keeping the Sabbath holy, we can be the precious children of God and God
can be our Holy Father. Sabbath was the day of blessing from the
beginning. Moreover, in this complicated and noisy world, how can we
make our lives plentiful and more fulfilling but by keeping the Sabbath
holy? What a beautiful scene it is when the whole family goes to church
and contemplates Gods word together! If we had lived with doing that,
there would be no skeptics or atheists. And there would be no horrible
things that happened to those who are not afraid of God.
who believe in God sincerely have distinguished the Sabbath as a holy
day. But there was a time when even the Israelites, the chosen people
forgot this Holy day. It was those days when they were mistreated in
Egypt. Therefore God lead them from Egypt through Moses in order for
them to teach God's word and commandments to their descendants. They
wandered for 40 years, dwelling in the wilderness. In Exodus chapter 16,
it is recorded that God gave the Israelites manna, a kind of bread, and
He used it to show three miracles every week. The first was that, they
could have manna for six days but not on the seventh day. The second
was that, if manna that was gathered for the first five days was left
until the next day, it spoiled. However, the two portions of manna that
were gathered for the seventh day never spoiled; which was the third
Some people went to gather Manna on the Sabbath; but
they came back with nothing. At that time God said, "how long will you
refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?"(Exodus 16:28). And when
He gave them Manna, He said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from
heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for
that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow
my instructions"(Exodus 16:4). The Sabbath was a test of His people's
A few warnings about the Sabbath were given to
the Israelites throughout the ages. The most serious one was the warning
of Jeremiah when he said they would be captured and destroyed by
Babylon. "But if you are careful to obey me, declares the Lord, and
bring no load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath, but keep
the Sabbath day holy by not doing any work on it, then kings who sit on
David's throne will come through the gates of this city with their
officials. They and their officials will come riding in chariots and on
horses, accompanied by the men of Judah and those living in Jerusalem,
and this city will be inhabited forever. But if you do not obey me to
keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through
the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an
unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her
fortresses"(Jeremiah 17:24, 25, 27).
The rise and fall of
the country depended on whether Israel kept the Sabbath holy or not. But
they ignored the warning so Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon and the
people were captured as slaves. At the end of their 70 years of slavery,
some of them still didn't keep the Sabbath. Therefore Nehemiah said,
"In those days I saw men in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath
and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine,
grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all
this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against
selling food on that day. I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to
them, What is this wicked thing you are doing-desecrating the Sabbath
day? Didn't your forefathers do the same things, so that our God brought
all this calamity upon us and upon this city? Now you are stirring up
more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath"(Nehemiah 13:15,
Nehemiah thought all those things happened because
they didn't keep the Sabbath holy. So he closed the gates of Jerusalem
to prevent people from going in and out. After that Jewish rabbis made
the detailed rules to keep Sabbath more efficiently. For example, the
people of that time couldn't have a piece of clothing or a needle with
them or couldn't have a handkerchief in their pockets on Sabbath and so
on. This way, the people came to keep the Sabbath as a matter of form
and it became just an uncomfortable and difficult day for them.
it comes to the New Testament Age, Jesus showed a sample with manifest
opinion about the Sabbath. He had the divine worship at the synagogue on
Sabbath according to the rule. And He said this to change their
misconceptions. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
So the son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath"(Mark 2:27, 28). Actually
because of the 39 rules and other detailed things, the Sabbath was a
burden to them. But Jesus is the one who made the Sabbath at the
Creation and the Sabbath belongs to him. So the seventh day that he kept
is the real Sabbath and the way he kept it is the right way to keep it.
day people asked Jesus this question in an attempt to accuse him, "Is
it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" Jesus replied, "If any of you has a
sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of
it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep!
Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath"(Matthew 12:11, 12).
it didn't mean that we can disregard the Sabbath. He also gave them
this encouragement to be ready for the destruction of Israel that would
happen 40 years later.
"Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath"(Matthew 24:20).
can know how he thought of keeping the Sabbath when we see this phrase.
Therefore a person who insists that the Sabbath was changed or
abolished by Jesus is far from the teaching of Jesus. Luke recorded; The
women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the
tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared
spices and perfumes. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about
to begin. (Luke 23:55,56, 54)
The great Apostle Paul also
recorded, As his custom was, "Paul went into the synagogue, and on three
Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures"(Acts 17:2).
"Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and
Greeks. So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of
God"(Acts 18:4, 11). Like this, Paul kept the Sabbath holy wherever he
traveled all the time and tried hard to teach people to keep it.
the Sabbath that Jesus and His disciples kept and that the apostle Paul
kept and that Jews have been keeping until today is Saturday. So, why
do the Christian churches keep Sunday as a God's day? It's not a simple
question nor is its answer. We will study it in the following lesson.