Category Archives: SABBATH DAY

What is the Sabbath day—Saturday or Sunday?

WHAT IS THE SABBATH DAY—SATURDAY OR SUNDAY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Within the ranks of Christendom, you find the common idea that Sunday is the “Christian Sabbath.” Who changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? Did they have the authority to do this? We look to the Holy Word of God!

Roman Catholic priest “Father” Dale Fushek wrote: “When Did Sunday Become the Sabbath? The Book of Genesis says God created the universe in six days. Beginning on the first day of the week, Sunday, and ending on the last, the Saturday, on which he rested. ‘Sabbath’ comes for the Hebrew word for resting or ceasing. In Jesus’ time—and even today—there are serious restrictions among Jews concerning what can and cannot be done on the Sabbath. But, over time, Christians began celebrating on the first day of the week because Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday and it was on Sunday that the Holy Spirit descended on Pentecost.”

Note this priest never really answered the question he asked. He never said when Sunday actually became the Sabbath. Could it be that he knows Sunday never actually became the Sabbath at all? There is no verse in the Bible, in the Protestant Bible or in the Roman Catholic Bible, that indicates Sunday ever became the Sabbath. Can it be any clearer? Sunday never became the Sabbath! That is the figment of theologians’ imaginations!

The Bible says Jesus arose on the “first day of the week” (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). Using this standard of Sunday as the first day of the week, Saturday would be the last (or seventh) day of the week. Genesis 2:1-3 speaks of the first Sabbath, or Saturday: “[1] Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. [2] And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. [3] And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

Many centuries later, God commanded the nation Israel through Moses in Exodus 20:8-11: “[8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Prior to the nation Israel and Moses, no one was ever commanded to keep the Sabbath Day. Nothing in the Bible indicates that Adam, Noah, or even Abraham ever observed the Saturday Sabbath.

It is true that Jews worshipped in the synagogues on the Saturday Sabbath (Matthew 12:2,9-10; Mark 1:21; Mark 6:2; Luke 4:16; Luke 6:6; Luke 13:10; Acts 13:14-16; Acts 15:21; Acts 17:1-3). It is true that Christians usually assembled on the first day of the week, or Sunday. Acts 20:7, for example: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” And 1 Corinthians 16:1-2: “[1] Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. [2] Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

While early Christians did meet on the first day of the week, the Bible never called this the “Sabbath Day” or the “Lord’s Day.” In the Dispensation of Grace, there is no prescribed day of worship. We should worship God every day, not just on Sunday. Paul’s epistles make no reference to us keeping the Sabbath Day or that we have to go to church on Sunday. If it is convenient for us to fellowship with saints on Wednesday, or Thursday, or Tuesday, or even Monday, we can do it. The point is not to put so much emphasis on a formal schedule, but rather the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ being clearly proclaimed.

Colossians 2:16: “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:…” Galatians 4:9-11: “[9] But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? [10] Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. [11] I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”

The Mosaic Law regulated what foods the Jews were to eat, what foods not to eat, what drinks to drink, what drinks not to drink, what days to observe, and so on. Today, however, we are under no such regulations. Actually, to teach that we must abstain from certain foods in the Dispensation of Grace, the Bible calls that a “doctrine of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1-5). We are under no kosher food laws today. We are not bound to keep the Sabbath Day. The Sabbath Day has no meaning for us as it did for the nation Israel in the Law program. Paul never instructs us to keep the Sabbath day. It may be good church tradition but it is not Bible!

Furthermore, Paul said that he was “afraid” of the Galatians because they were embracing the Mosaic Law and they were hindering God’s grace from working in their lives. They were observing days, religious holidays. Paul said in Colossians chapter 2 that Satan would use various tactics to cause us to forget our identity in Christ. We read about the traditions of man, vain deceit, philosophy, the rudiments of the world, holydays, new moons, Sabbath days, and so on (Colossians 2:8,16). None of that has any significance today. It is Scriptural to follow the Law of Moses, but it is not dispensational. We are under the Dispensation of Grace, not the Dispensation of Law (Romans 6:14-15). God’s grace never tells us to set one day aside for worshiping God. We should worship God all the time. Every day should be lived to the glory of Jesus Christ, not just one day a week.

Also see:
» Why did God give Israel the Sabbath day? (UPCOMING!)
» What is “the Lord’s day” of Revelation 1:10?
» Why did Jesus Christ heal on the Sabbath days?

What did Jesus mean, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice?”

WHAT DID JESUS MEAN, “I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND NOT SACRIFICE?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:7-8). What did our Lord mean, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice?” Let us search the Scriptures and find out!

Read the verses with their context: “[1] At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. [2] But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. [3] 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” (Matthew 12:1-8).

Firstly, notice that Jesus’s hungry disciples are picking corn on the Sabbath day. This angers the Pharisees, religious leaders who are sticklers of Mosaic Law-keeping, and who piously tell Jesus, “Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day” (verse 2). They are reminding Jesus of what the LORD commanded Israel through Moses in Exodus 20:8-10: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work….”

Let us see why the Sabbath is important in the context of Matthew chapter 12, thereby learning the meaning of verses 7-8.

The Sabbath day first appears in Scripture in Genesis 2:1-3: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

Notice that creation and the Sabbath day are connected. God has just created the heavens and the earth. After six days of working, He rests—not because He is tired, but because His work is finished. From this point onward to Moses and the Law, the Bible makes no reference to man keeping the Sabbath.

Through the Mosaic Law, the LORD commanded Israel in Exodus 20:8-11: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Again, see how Sabbath-day observance and the creation week are related. When God instructed Israel to keep the Sabbath day, they were not to do any work (just like God ceased from His work in Genesis chapter 2): instead, on the Sabbath, Israel was to take the time to remember God’s original plan in creation and their role in it. This background information will now help us better understand Matthew 12:8: “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.”

Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 20:8-11 explain that Israel’s Sabbath-day keeping was connected with the creation week. The writer of the book of Hebrews elaborates:

“[3] 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. [4] For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. [5] And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. [6] Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: [7] Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. [8] For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. [9] There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. [10] For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. [11] Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:3-11).

Quoting Psalm 95:7-11, which describes how most of Israel rebelled against JEHOVAH under Moses’s leadership and thus could not enter the Promised Land (the “rest,” God’s kingdom on earth), the writer of Hebrews cautions Israel during the (future) seven-year Tribulation not to repeat their forefathers’ mistakes, so they may enter Christ’s millennial kingdom.

Both Adam and Israel under Moses fell into sin, delaying God’s earthly kingdom connected with the Sabbath “rest.” Regarding Matthew 12:7-8, Jesus the King, is now on earth, ready to bring in Israel’s kingdom if she would trust Him!

Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:8-11, and Hebrews 4:3-11 explain how the Sabbath day (the day of God’s “rest”) was the sign of God’s earthly kingdom (God’s “rest”). Psalm 132:5,8,13,14, the words of King David, enlighten: “Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob…. Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength…. For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.”

The Sabbath-day rest reminded Israel of God’s original purpose in creation, and her role in His plan to reclaim the earth. Had Adam not sinned, God’s earthly kingdom would have been established 6,000 years ago with Adam and Eve. God created the nation Israel to do what Adam failed to do in the earth, but Israel too fell into sin, so again, God’s earthly kingdom was postponed. That earthly kingdom was in David’s mind when he sought to build the Temple, God’s house (Psalm 132 in the previous paragraph, and note how God declared, “This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.”).

Unfortunately, 600 years after David, at the close of the “Old Testament” Scriptures, sinful Israel has been scattered among the nations, JEHOVAH’S glory has left the Temple, and the Temple has been utterly destroyed. For the next 400 years, God is silent toward Israel (John the Baptist’s ministry breaks that silence).

When we come to the context of Matthew chapter 12, we find Jesus Christ, the LORD of Psalm 132, now come to His nation Israel. The mighty JEHOVAH has now arrived in human flesh to offer Himself as their King, to usher in that kingdom whose establishment has been repeatedly interrupted by sin. The Pharisees, blinded by their religious fervor, fail to see Jesus as “Lord of the sabbath day.”

Christ’s disciples are hungry, so they pluck corn and eat it as they and Jesus pass through the fields (Matthew 12:1). The Pharisees, rather than being sympathetic toward these hungry believers in Christ, chastise them for “[doing] that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day” (verse 2). “Moses said not to work on the Sabbath Day, and Your disciples are disobeying Moses!”

Like the entire nation Israel, these religious leaders have lost sight of the God who gave them the Law through Moses. The Pharisees, the chief example of this hypocrisy, worshipped the Law instead of worshipping the God whom they were to worship using the Law!! Jesus frequently condemned this vain religious system during His earthly ministry (similar vain religion has plagued the Church the Body of Christ for the last 20 centuries!).

Christ twice-reminded these “educated,” conceited Pharisees of their ignorance of the Old Testament Scriptures: “But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 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? 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?” (Matthew 12:3-5).

Jesus wisely argued that, although the shewbread was only meant for the priests to eat, David and his men were hungry and were permitted to consume it (1 Samuel 21:1-6). Furthermore, He argued that Moses’ inspired writings—“the law”—approved work on the Sabbath if not working caused one to disobey other laws of God. Remember, Israel’s priests had to perform Tabernacle and Temple duties, even on the Sabbath day.

Obviously, the Pharisees were so preoccupied with the Sabbath-day keeping that they overlooked the Sabbath-day meaning! When Christ’s hungry disciples pick corn and eat it, the Pharisees become angry and complain that they have broken the Sabbath-day ordinance. In Matthew 12:3-5, Christ wisely argued that although the shewbread was only meant for the priests to eat, David and his men were hungry and thus permitted to consume it (1 Samuel 21:1-6). Also, He argued, Moses—the Pharisees’ idol—said work on the Sabbath was acceptable if not working caused one to disobey other laws of God.

For instance, Israel’s priests had to perform Tabernacle and Temple duties, even on the Sabbath day. Another example is that the Jewish male baby had to be physically circumcised on the eighth day, even on the Sabbath day, or God wanted nothing to do with him (Genesis 17:10-14; Leviticus 12:3; John 7:22,23). A final example is that the Law commanded Jews to rescue their neighbors’ livestock trapped under burdens or fallen into pits, even on the Sabbath day (Exodus 23:5; Deuteronomy 22:4; Matthew 12:11,12; Luke 14:5; cf. Luke 13:15,16).

Israel’s spiritual condition during Jesus’s day is obvious. Satan, via vain religious tradition, has the Jews keeping laws for laws’ sakes! There is no faith in the Word of God; it is just mindless ceremonies, rites, and rituals. The same is true for much of Christendom today! There is no real hunger for souls and sound Bible doctrine; the emphasis is on experiences, entertainment, ceremonies, and regulations.

Whenever Jesus Christ healed the sick on the Sabbath day, the Pharisees were there forbidding it and criticizing Him. They would rather let sick people suffer than for Jesus to heal them on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:10; Mark 3:1-6; John 5:8-13; John 7:22,23). Jesus addressed their cruelty by telling them, I will have mercy” (Matthew 12:7). He addressed their faithless religious performance by telling them, I will… not [have] sacrifice” (Matthew 12:7). The Pharisees had no idea what Jesus meant anyway, for they were too blinded by sin and religious tradition!

CONCLUSION

“But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:7-8). What did our Lord mean?

The Pharisees, as well as other religious leaders of Israel, were not serving the LORD of the Old Testament Law that they studied. While they were highly educated and appeared good, they were not merciful toward the sick and hungry. They were sticklers for not working on the Sabbath day, and yet, they had no idea what the Sabbath day even represented. Blinded by their religious tradition, they preferred to see the hungry faint and the sick suffer, than even dare break the Sabbath!

Jesus told the Pharisees, “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless” (Matthew 12:7). The Pharisees’ heartlessness originated from a desire to serve a denominational system rather than let the love of the Lord Jesus Christ operate in their hearts and actions. The disciples were hungry, so Jesus Christ—the Person who authorized Sabbath-day observance—permitted them to pick food on the Sabbath. The Pharisees erred in presumptuously criticizing Christ’s disciples. They failed to realize that the JEHOVAH who had instituted the Sabbath-day observance, the “Lord of the sabbath day,” was Jesus Christ—the Person standing right in their midst!

One last interesting tidbit to conclude: In the companion passage of Matthew 12:7-8, our King James Bible has the unique expression, “the second sabbath after the first” (Luke 6:1). That Sabbath of Matthew 12:1-9 loops back to the original (first) Sabbath of Genesis 2:1-3. The time of the fulfillment of the purpose of that original Sabbath—the establishment of God’s earthly kingdom—was near during Christ’s earthly ministry. Alas, the Pharisees failed to make that connection between those two Sabbaths. Religious tradition had caused them to ignore the God of the Sabbath, thereby causing them to be merciless and self-righteous for the sake of religion, and worst of all, they missed God’s kingdom altogether!

That is what our Lord meant, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.”

Also see:
» Why did Jesus heal on the Sabbath Day?
» What is meant by, “Love thy neighbour as thyself?”
» Why did Jesus forbid others from preaching that He was Christ?

What is “the Lord’s day” of Revelation 1:10?

WHAT IS “THE LORD’S DAY” OF REVELATION 1:10?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet” (Revelation 1:10). What is the “Lord’s Day” here? Look in the Bible, my friend! Do not blindly accept the idle speculations of men!

A theologian wrote the following about Revelation 1:10: “Lord’s day. This phrase appears in many early Christian writings and refers to Sunday, the day of the Lord’s resurrection. Some have suggested this phrase refers to ‘the Day of the Lord,’ but the context doesn’t support that interpretation, and the grammatical form of the word ‘Lord’ is adjectival, thus ‘the Lord’s day.’”

His words are the complete opposite of reality. Note how he, like so many “scholars,” use “Christian writings” to develop their theology rather than using the Bible to develop their theology. Christian writings have no spiritual authority; they are not inspired of God. The Bible is inspired of God. We do not use the writings of men to define Bible terms! This theologian’s suggestions are utterly ridiculous! Just what difference would it make if John were writing the Revelation on a Sunday?! What does Sunday have to do with Bible prophecy? Absolutely nothing, friend! It is just vain speculations of men who are more interested in promoting their theology than teaching God’s Word. The context supports the interpretation “the Day of the Lord” and does not support “Sunday.” Let me show you.

FIRST, A CORRECTION TO SOME RELATED CONFUSION

Before we begin, we need to clear up the confusion that denominationalism has created. According to religious tradition, Sunday is “the Lord’s day” and “the Christian Sabbath.” This is due to a misinterpretation of Revelation 1:10, which is actually referring to “the Day of the Lord,” the seven-year Tribulation. “The Day of the Lord” (“the Lord’s day”) is neither Saturday nor Sunday. There is no such thing as “Lord’s Day observance” in the Bible—that is a religious teaching, not a Bible teaching.

According to the Bible, Saturday has been and always will be the Sabbath Day. Jesus Christ resurrected on Sunday, the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). This would make the last day of the week, Saturday, the Sabbath Day. Please understand that the Sabbath was never Sunday in the Bible and will never be Sunday in the Bible! Using dispensational Bible study—“rightly dividing the word of truth” as 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV instructs—we can determine whether or not we are bound to observe the Sabbath Day (which is Saturday, not Sunday, remember). More specifically, we will learn how the “Lord’s Day” of Revelation 1:10, the first day of the week of Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, and the Jewish Sabbath are three separate days in the Bible. There is far too much mixing the three and making them all refer to one day.

REVELATION 1:10—RECEIVED ON SUNDAY?!

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.” Why would the Apostle John (or the Holy Ghost) think it necessary to be sure we know that John received his revelation on Sunday? That is downright absurd! No one in the Bible ever noted what day of the week they wrote. They mentioned the month, or the year, or the date of the month, but they never mentioned “Monday,” “Tuesday,” et cetera. That causes us to conclude the term “Lord’s Day” in Revelation 1:10 has nothing to do with Sunday. As we already saw, a theologian admitted he defined the term as such because “Christian writings” defined it as such. He had no Scriptural support for his belief. Friends, rather than repeating what others speculate about the verse, why not look the context and let the context define the term?

What is the Apostle John writing about in the book of the Revelation? The seven-year Tribulation period and subsequent kingdom. It is the time when God’s wrath is poured out on sinful man and Jesus Christ is exalted above all. What does the Old Testament Scriptures say about this?

The King James Bible uses the term “the day of the LORD” 29 times. The first instance is Isaiah 2:11-12: “[11] The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. [12] For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:” And, verse 17: “…and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.” According to these verses, during this period of the “day of the LORD” (not a literal 24-hour period), God will judge arrogant, unbelieving mankind. If you study the “Day of the LORD” in other verses, you will see that the term actually refers to a period of God’s vengeance (Isaiah 61:2; Joel 1:15; et al.). Does God pour out His wrath every Sunday? Ridiculous.

The “Lord’s Day” in Revelation 1:10 is another way of saying the “Day of the LORD.” What is the Apostle John writing about in the book of the Revelation? The seven-year Tribulation period and subsequent kingdom. He was supernaturally transported into the future, not to Sunday, but to the Day of the Lord! The “Day of the LORD” is not Sunday but actually a long period of time: the future seven-year Tribulation and the following 1000-year reign of Christ in a literal, physical, visible earthly kingdom, when Christ is exalted as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Wow, without the religious gobbledygook, it is so clear!

CONCLUSION

Sunday has nothing to do with the book of the Revelation. On what authority do people say Revelation 1:10 is a reference to Sunday? They have no Scriptural support. Rather they are repeating what others have speculated about the verse! Actually, it is nothing but Roman Catholic tradition. Many thanks to Rome (and Satan) for all this confusion!

Absolutely, the Sabbath is Saturday. It always was Saturday, and always will be Saturday. We have no Sabbath day to observe, Colossians 2:16 says, in this the Dispensation of Grace. When the saints in the Body of Christ gathered in Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 that was not to observe the “Lord’s day.” These verses never call it such. To say otherwise is to faultily assume that Sunday replaced the Jewish Saturday Sabbath. Furthermore, Sunday (the supposed “Lord’s day”) replacing the Saturday Sabbath is nothing but church tradition. Making the Saturday Sabbath into Sunday and making the Lord’s Day of Revelation into Sunday has no Scriptural support whatsoever, friend. Just toss it all away and keep the Bible verses!

Also see:
» Why did Jesus heal on the Sabbath day?
» Should we observe the Lord’s Supper?
» Is immersion the “proper” mode of water baptism?

Why did Jesus Christ heal on the Sabbath days?

WHY DID JESUS CHRIST HEAL ON THE SABBATH DAYS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Law of Moses forbade Jews from working on the Saturday Sabbath, so, it is asked, why did the Lord Jesus Christ heal the sick and cast out devils on the Sabbath? Was it just to anger the Pharisees and the other hypocritical religious leaders of Israel? We will examine some of these Sabbath-day miracles in detail so as to understand why Jesus Christ behaved in such a unique manner. I believe that you will find the explanation quite fascinating. Let us search the Scriptures and see what they have to say about this often-misunderstood issue.

THE SABBATH DAY COMMANDMENT

It is common knowledge that the LORD told Israel in the Ten Commandments as given through Moses: “[8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11). This was repeated in Deuteronomy 5:13-15. The Jews were not to work on the Sabbath day at all. In fact, one who picked up sticks on the Sabbath was stoned to death, as God instructed (Numbers 15:32-36)!

CHRIST’S SABBATH-DAY HEALING MIRACLES

There is no Scriptural way to prove exactly how many Sabbath-day miracles Jesus Christ performed. The Bible only records details about some of these miracles; the others are mentioned in a general context, such as “great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all” (Matthew 12:15)—verse 1 says that this was the Sabbath day. Our goal is to highlight the Sabbath-day miracles about which the Bible provides specific information, and thus we will better understand why Jesus Christ did what He did on the Sabbath days.

In Matthew 12:10-15, Mark 3:1-6, and Luke 6:6-11, the Lord Jesus healed a man’s withered hand on the Sabbath day. Since it was the Sabbath day, this angered Israel’s religious leaders who worshipped the Sabbath, so the Pharisees “held a council against him, how they might destroy him” (Matthew 12:14; Mark 3:6; Luke 6:11). Again, in Luke 13:10-16, there is a humpback woman, crippled and unable to stand up straight. Jesus Christ heals her too on the Sabbath day. On another Sabbath day, as documented in Luke 14:1-4, Christ heals a man who suffers from dropsy (edema). We see yet another instance of Jesus Christ healing a lame man on the Sabbath day in John 5:1-16. Let us examine a few of these passages in detail in order to gain a better understanding of why Jesus Christ healed on the Sabbath.

According to Luke 13:10-16, the Lord Jesus Christ is teaching in the synagogues on the Sabbath days. On one Sabbath, He heals a humpback Jewess. Verse 14 says that the ruler of synagogue is angry because Jesus has healed her on the Sabbath day. Jesus Christ responds (verses 15-16): “[15] Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? [16] And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on this sabbath day?”

Notice that Jesus refers specifically to Abraham’s children (the Jews, the nation Israel). Also, recognize that Satan has bound this Jewess, and Jesus Christ is the only one who can free her. Christ looses her from that spiritual bondage on the Sabbath day: remember, her physical illness symbolizes her spiritual illness (sin nature, captive to Satan).

Now, we look at John 5:1-16. In Jerusalem, there is a pool where the mute, the crippled, the blind, and other sick people go to be healed. An angel occasionally comes down and stirs the water. The first person to get into the water immediately after the angel comes, will be made whole (healed). One man sitting beside the pool has been unable to walk for 38 years (verse 5). The Lord Jesus Christ sees the crippled man waiting by the pool, so He asks the sick man if he wants to be healed. Jesus instantly heals the man (verse 9). This was on the Sabbath day, so Israel’s religious leaders are upset again (verses 9,16,18).

Let us briefly look at why God established the Sabbath day, and then we will come back to Christ’s earthly ministry.

THE SABBATH DAY ESTABLISHED

The Bible first mentions the Sabbath day in Genesis 2:1-3 (by the way, the Sabbath is Saturday, never Sunday, in Scripture). Then, the Bible does not speak of the Sabbath day again until Moses, some 2,500 years later. As we saw in some opening comments, in the Mosaic Law, the LORD demanded that Israel “keep the Sabbath holy.” The LORD commanded Israel not to do any work on the Sabbath—they were to rest on the Sabbath (Leviticus 23:3). Instead, every Jew was to spend the Sabbath day thinking about God’s purpose in creation and, thus, the nation Israel’s role in His plan for the earth (Exodus 31:13-18; Exodus 35:2-3).

So, what was God’s purpose in creation, when He rested on that first Sabbath back in Genesis chapter 2? Psalm 132:8 reads, “Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.” Verses 13 and 14 tell us: “[13] For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. [14] This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” God’s purpose in creating the earth was to set up an earthly kingdom, which He had planned from the time He created the world (Matthew 25:34). Had sin not entered into creation with the fall of Adam and man, God would have come down and lived on planet earth the Sabbath that followed the first Sabbath of Genesis 2:1-3. This is why God referred to the Promised Land as His “rest” (see Hebrews 3:6-19 and Hebrews 4:1-11). God, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, was to come and rest in Israel’s land, to enjoy His purpose and plan for creation, for all the work of creation was now finished.

However, we understand that sin interrupted God’s plan, and that earthly kingdom did not come about in Genesis. Instead, beginning with Abram (Abraham) in Genesis chapter 12, God started a new race of people, the nation Israel. God would make Israel His chosen people on earth. Once saved, the Jews would restore God’s authority in the earth (which had been lost when Adam fell, and man’s dominion on the earth was passed to Satan; cf. Genesis 1:28; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 2:2). To the nation Israel God would give that earthly kingdom that He planned backed with Adam and creation (Exodus 19:3-6). When the Jews kept the Sabbath holy every week, they were continually reminded of that earthly kingdom and their role in God’s purpose and plan for creating the earth.

Unfortunately, Satan polluted the nation Israel with pagan idolatry, false religion: also, he sent false prophets to mislead Israel, and his evil spirits seduced and possessed Jews (Deuteronomy 13:1-18; Jeremiah 6:13; Acts 8:7-24; Acts 13:6-8; 2 Peter 2:1-3; et al.). As long as Satan kept Israel in spiritual bondage, the Jews could not be the vessels that God had intended them to be. This continued throughout the Old Testament, whose prophets emphatically preached of Israel’s coming kingdom. Finally, Jesus Christ, Israel’s King-Redeemer was born, and He came to usher in their kingdom. However, that earthly kingdom was further postponed when the Jews rejected and crucified Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross. Had Israel accepted Jesus as her Messiah-King 2,000 years ago, that earthly kingdom would have been set up. But, that kingdom will not be established until the Second Coming of Christ, some 6,000 years since creation, and a day beyond even our time!

Israel had forgotten the meaning of the first Sabbath day. By the time Jesus Christ showed up in Matthew, Israel was worshipping the Sabbath instead of worshipping the God of the Sabbath. Israel had no idea what the Sabbath day was all about.

JESUS CHRIST, “THE SON OF MAN,” AND “LORD OF THE SABBATH DAY:” HIS SABBATH-DAY MIRACLE-MINISTRY EXPLAINED

On three occasions, Jesus Christ called Himself, “The Son of Man, Lord of the Sabbath Day” (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5). What did He mean? It meant that He ordained that first Sabbath day of Genesis 12:1-3: He knew the significance of the Sabbath, that it was established to glorify Him instead of merely provide Israel’s religious leaders with a nice law to observe and feel pious. He was saying that Israel’s religious leaders had no idea what Sabbath day-worship really was! Jesus Christ was the perfect Man, “the Son of Man,” as opposed to sinful Adam or sinful Israel, for He was the Man who would accomplish Father God’s original intention in creation. Jesus Christ was also the LORD God manifest in human flesh, the Person whom creation was to glorify (Colossians 1:16-20).

We thus understand why Jesus Christ healed on the Sabbath day. When Israel’s Messiah and King (Jesus) came, as documented in the Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, there was a spike in the number of devil-possessed and sick Jews. As long as Israel was in spiritual darkness and satanic bondage, God could not use them in their kingdom to evangelize Gentiles. Do you remember the humpback woman in Luke 13:16, whom we briefly discussed earlier? “And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” That physically-crippled woman was spiritually-impotent Israel, firmly bound by Satan’s chains and spiritually blind! The Jews were to be released from that satanic bondage on the Sabbath, the Millennial (1000-Year) Reign of Christ, the period of “rest” that the Saturday Sabbath typified.

Notice what Mark 5:10 says: “And he [the unclean spirit] besought him [the Lord Jesus Christ] much that he would not send them away out of the country.” The devils do not want to be cast out of “the country.” They do not want to be cast out of the land of Israel! Furthermore, the devils rightly claim Jesus Christ has come to destroy them by setting up His kingdom and binding them.

The Lord Jesus Christ told the Jews whom He healed that their sins are forgiven (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20; Luke 7:48). Jesus is casting out devils and healing all manners of disease and sickness and preaching “the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 9:35; cf. Matthew 4:17). He also sends out His 12 apostles to heal and preach “the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 10:1-8). The Lord Jesus is demonstrating to Israel the healing, prosperity, and forgiveness that God would provide for the Jews during their earthly kingdom. The “binding of the strong man” is Jesus Christ casting Satan out of Israel’s midst (Matthew 12:24-32; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 11:15-26).

Notice Matthew 12:15, which occurred right after the healing of the man with the withered hand (recall that it was on the Sabbath). “But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all.” Here is an example of Jesus healing multitudes of people on the Sabbath. This healed multitude also symbolized Israel being healed in her earthly kingdom.

Jesus Christ is not only healing Israel physically, but spiritually as well. Every time Christ cast out a devil (unclean spirit), He was diminishing Satan’s influence over the nation Israel. Interestingly, the crippled man in John 5:5 had been handicapped for 38 years. Amazingly, Deuteronomy 2:14 said that Israel wandered in the wilderness for 38 years. During that period, the Jews were rebellious and spiritually crippled, unable to enter the Promised Land, the earthly kingdom of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus healed the man suffering from dropsy in Luke 14:1-4, recall that He healed him too on the Sabbath day. This sick man also symbolized Israel, spiritually impotent and under Satan’s control. Again, by healing the sick, especially on the Sabbath day, Jesus was demonstrating to the Jews that their earthly kingdom would bring spiritual and physical healing. The man whose withered hand was healed on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:10-15; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11) also symbolized Israel’s physical and spiritual healing in her coming kingdom.

Another example of Israel being devil-possessed is the man indwelt by the unclean spirit in Mark 1:21-27 and Luke 4:31-36. Notice that the unclean spirit asked Jesus (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34): “Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.” The devil knew exactly what Christ was there to do! Christ was there to destroy Satan’s stronghold on the nation Israel. He was here to bring in the kingdom that the Sabbath day had shadowed for some 1,500 years!

In contrast to such wonderful news, that God was there to break Satan’s grip of Israel, deliver her from her sins and free her from satanic and Gentile oppressions, Israel did not have hearts willing to listen to the doctrine being communicated by Jesus Christ’s Sabbath-day miracles. The Pharisees and scribes had such a formalistic mindset that they completely missed the point of why Jesus Christ was healing on the Sabbath. Hence, they condemned Him as a “blasphemer” and a “law-breaker.” They were too preoccupied with keeping the Sabbath (vain religious tradition) that they had lost sight of why God had implemented Sabbath day keeping in the first place!

Additionally, they completely missed the point that by performing those miracles, Jesus was proving that He was their Messiah. However, these religious leaders had wicked hearts of unbelief, and they used anything to discredit Jesus Christ, and thus accused Him of Sabbath day breaking. They did not have hearts of faith or spiritual eyes to see the meaning of those Sabbath-day miracles of Christ. In their hypocrisy, these unbelievers had totally missed the fact that they broke the Sabbath when they circumcised a male Jew on the Sabbath when it was the eighth day (John 7:22-24). Even today, Bible critics complain that Jesus Christ broke the Sabbath day on many occasions—they too have no idea what the Sabbath day means, or they would not utter such rash comments!

While the Sabbath day was important, it was a ceremonial law. Sometimes, the Sabbath day needed to be broken (such as in the case of physical circumcision). Furthermore, Jesus Christ spoke of loosing or helping animals on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:11,12; Luke 14:5); Moses made provisions for such actions on the Sabbath (see Exodus 23:5; Deuteronomy 22:4). As to not infringe on other aspects of the Mosaic Law, the Sabbath day would need to be broken—these laws took preeminence above the Sabbath keeping because they were the right things to do. Yet, the religious leaders of Israel did not want to admit that Jesus healing on the Sabbath was good and acceptable. They were cold and heartless, as religionists as today. They would rather have sick people remain ill than disobey a church law!

When Jesus and His disciples were passing through a grain field, and His hungry disciples ate some of the crops, the Pharisees complained that they were working on the Sabbath. One of the questions Jesus asked the Pharisees is the following excerpt from Matthew chapter 12: “[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.” The Lord Jesus explained that certain activities had preeminence to Sabbath-day rest, and two of them were having compassion on the hungry (David and his men eating the shewbread; Matthew 12:3-4) and the priests of Israel having to offer sacrifices on the Sabbath. Even Israel’s priests had to break the Sabbath day. We saw earlier how they circumcised male Jewish babies on the Sabbath, but let us look at another example of how Israel’s priests were to work on the Sabbath.

In Numbers 28:3, JEHOVAH commanded Israel through Moses, “This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the Lord; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.” Every day, no matter what day it was, these two lambs were to be offered—one lamb in the morning and the other lamb in the evening. Even on the Sabbath day, JEHOVAH said, the priests were to minister in the Tabernacle or Temple in this manner. The priests were to work in the Tabernacle or Temple on the Sabbath. Verses 9-10 discuss special offerings that were also to be offered on the Sabbath day: “[9] And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: [10] This is the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.” In addition to their daily routine, the priests had two more burnt offerings to sacrifice on the Sabbath day. Notice how JEHOVAH gave Israel’s priesthood the permission to infringe upon Sabbath-day keeping: the priests could not rest on the Sabbath, otherwise they would disobey other commandments of JEHOVAH.

CONCLUSION

Why did Jesus heal on the Sabbath day? He did it to demonstrate “the powers of the world to come” (Hebrews 2:3-5; Hebrews 6:4-6). The Old Testament prophesied that when Israel’s God would come, the lame man would leap, the mute would sing, the blind would see, and the deaf would hear (Isaiah 35:4-6). When Israel’s Messiah would come, there would be no unclean spirits in Israel’s land (Zechariah 13:1-2). By performing the healing miracles, especially on the Sabbath, Jesus Christ was fulfilling what the Old Testament had predicted all the way back to the Creation Week!

There will be no sickness or suffering in the kingdom when Christ returns to Earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:6-9; Isaiah 33:23,24; Isaiah 35:3-6; James 5:14-16). God will cause the evil spirits to pass from the land of Israel (Zechariah 13:1-2)—during the Millennial Reign of Christ, Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3,7). By performing those miracles, Christ was showing Israel the healing and forgiveness that would take place in His millennial kingdom! Moreover, the Jews needed signs and wonders before they would believe God, and Christ’s miracles taught Israel what He was going to do with them (Exodus 4:1-8; John 4:48; 1 Corinthians 1:22). Now you know why the Lord Jesus Christ healed on the Sabbath.

Also see:
» Is the Sabbath day Saturday or Sunday? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Should I observe the Sabbath day? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Why did Jesus and His apostles cast out devils? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)