KJV: "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 corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful?
"And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was a hungered, he, and they that were with him? How he went to the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests and gave also to them which were with him?
"And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:23-28).
While God was giving the Ten Commandments to Moses, he expressed the day of rest called the Sabbath! Exodus 20:8-11: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do 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."
Sabbath is a Hebrew word which when used as a verb is "shabbat," meaning to rest from labor, or the day of rest. It is first mentioned during creation (Genesis 2:2). "The Sabbath was made for man," as a day of rest and refreshment for the body and of blessing to the soul.
It is next referred to in connection with the gift of manna to the children of Israel in the wilderness; (Exodus 16:23). In Exodus 20, it is spoken of as an institution already existing.
In the Mosiac Law, strict regulations were laid down regarding it's observance; (Exodus 35:2 and 3; Leviticus 23:3; and 26:34). These were peculiar to that dispensation and throughout the OT in Nehemiah, Isaiah and Jeremiah.
We are now living in the Grace dispensation of Christ. Under the Law, there was a temporal rest every seventh day for the one nation, Israel. Under Grace there is spiritual rest for the blood bought saints of God of all nations!
There yet remains, an eternal rest to the people of God (Hebrews 4:1-11). This glorious rest that is enjoyed by the righteous comes through a crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ!
Matthew 12:10-13 records Jesus healing on the Sabbath, a man with a withered hand. Luke 13:10-17 reveals the healing on the Jewish Sabbath, of a woman with the spirit of infirmity and bowed together.
Christ reminds us in these passages, that if we loosed from the stall, and watered our ox or donkey, or pulled a sheep from the ditch on this day; why shouldn't a daughter of Abraham being infirmed by Satan for eighteen years, or a man's withered hand be healed on the Sabbath? "Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days."
In John Chapter 9, Jesus heals the blind man on the Sabbath day. Verse 16 relates: "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 division among them."
We recognize the first day of the week as a day of rest and worship, but not as the Jews who tried to keep the seventh day holy by leaving off all work.
The first day of the week was observed by the early church after the resurrection of Jesus.
Matthew 28:1 reads: "In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1; all collaborate the first day of the week, or Sunday!
Our Lord was resurrected on the first day of the week and he appeared to the disciples that same day (Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:18-34; 36-51; John 20:19-23).
Then, on the next Sunday, (eight days later), He appeared to the disciples again (John 20:26).
The first day of the week was one to be remembered by those early Christians and us! Church historians believe Christ's Ascension and the Day of Pentecost experiences were on the first day of the week.
Acts 20:7 records: "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them ...." Later, Paul reminds the Corinthian church: "Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
Many believe the first day (or Sunday) in the early Church was not observed as a day of rest until the time of Constantine the Great. The Bible, Jehovah God's Holy Word, records that the first day was kept with joyfulness before Constantine's time.
During his reign, Constantine issued a decree that all should observe the first day of the week as a day of rest.
The Psalmist tells us that on any day "is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it." Peter proclaims: "But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and thousand years as one day."
Jesus is Alpha and "Omega; The Beginning and the End; The First and the Last (or the First Day and Seventh Day)." Psalms 90:4: "For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night."
Zechariah prophecies: "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light." Apostle John reveals: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day."
We must remember to keep every day holy as we live for Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but exhort one another more, as you see the day approaching.
The 1981 Oscar for Best Picture, "Chariots of Fire," historically describes two runners participating in the 1924 Olympics in France. One athlete, Harold Abrahams, was Jewish and celebrated the Saturday Sabbath.
The other runner, Eric Liddell, was a Scotsman who eventually become a missionary to China. Liddell refused to run on Sunday, his Christian rest day.
Both runners represented Great Britain in those Paris Olympics and won gold medals. Abrahams, the Jewish athlete, won on Sunday and Liddell won on Thursday, each eliminating participation on each of their respective sabbaths.
Liddell died after the close of World War II in occupied China. Abraham later became a lawyer, journalist and broadcaster and died in 1978.
While living in Baltimore, our family for a time lived between two residences of Jewish faith, and both included rabbis. On Saturdays, often, one family would ask my mom, a Christian Gentile, to light their fireplace for them because of their strict observance of the Hebrew Sabbath.
Noah's name translated means rest and comfort. Jesus is our rest and comfort. The dove never returned to Noah after the third departure from the ark.
The true dove landed on Jesus' baptism at Jordan many centuries later, representing the Holy Spirit, Ark and Christ himself. Jesus said, "Come unto me ye who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Our true rest is in Jesus Christ.
Colossians 2:16, and 17, plainly states that the Sabbath was a shadow of things to come in the person of Jesus Christ.
"Let no man therefore judge you in meat (Acts 15), in drink (nonalcoholic), or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days.Which are a shadow of things to come, but the body (fulfillment of rest) is of Christ."
Therefore, we cannot biblically mandate the Jewish Sabbath upon true Christian believers. Paul warns us in Galatians 1: "But though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
As we said before, so say I now again, "If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."