Published in 1926, this little volume purports to be among the first to study the origin of the week, preceded by only one book nearly a century before. Indeed, the topic is rarely presented because of the dearth of material, and what historical evidence exists, allows some conjecture. This is not to say that nothing conclusive can be stated, but there are questions that remain.
- Why did the Roman Empire change from an eight-day week to a seven-day week?
- What is the origin of the Planetary week? Did it arise independently of the Jewish week?
- What was the thinking process or the decisive event that led to the naming of the days of the week?
- Why does the number seven resonate with peoples of differing cultures?
My previous reading on this general topic includes Duncan’s Calendar, Webster’s Rest Days, Jordan’s Christianity and the Calendar, and Doig’s New Testament Chronology. Duncan does not give much attention to the week, however, he concurs with Colson that the “planetary” names for the days of the week are in the order that they are because of a technique that assigns a planet to each of the twenty-four hours of a day. The planet that begins the first hour of the day assumes the title of that day. Colson was familiar with Webster’s 1916 book, which assumes that all religious and civil observations have their origin in rudimentary beliefs and customs, and often in the superstitions of barbaric societies. Similarly, Colson does not give credence to the biblical account of the origin of the week or the Sabbath. But at the same time, none of the naturalistic theories seem to resonate with him, and he asserts instead that the origin of the Jewish week is lost to antiquity. But it is interesting that no archaeological and anthropological studies have uncovered any alternative theory than what is already presented in the biblical narratives.
What we do know is that Rome had an eight-day week. Egypt had a ten-day week and classical Greeks had none. Various other societies had “weeks” of 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 days, but not necessarily as cycles of weeks. The oldest evidence of a seven-day week is with Judaism, and it appears that Rome adopted its seven-day week in the first century AD. But Colson curiously thinks this originated independently of Jewish influence. Etymological studies demonstrate that host nations subject to Roman rule adopted the Roman nomenclature for the most part, since commerce, military operations, and political events required it. In a few instances, as a result of the spread of Christianity, Saturday and Sunday gave way to Sabbata and Domingo. But this still doesn’t explain why an unchanging seven-day cycle should become the status quo within a luni-solar calendar, and especially with peoples who are not necessarily accustomed to Judaism.
This book is interesting to read as the author considers and interprets his findings in Greek and Roman literature. He is familiar with Scripture, but is selective in what he considers as evidence. Does he make the same conclusions I would with the same evidence? Often yes, but not always. Regarding the naming of the Lord’s Day for Sunday, he favorably states, “I see no reason to go outside Christian thought to account for the name Lord’s-day.” He muses that a celebration of the resurrection would naturally be an annual event, but because Christianity was initially a Jewish movement that grew to encompass Gentiles, and that both cultures operated in seven-day cycles, it was natural that Christianity maintained the weekly cycle. However, he specifically discounts apostolic authority for its continuation. I agree with his assertion that when early Christians assembled on the 7th +1 day instead of on the 7th, it was not keeping the Sabbath. However, I disagree with his conclusion that the abrogation of the Sabbath destroyed the reason for the week. In my opinion, the week, or seven-period, is divine in origin. The weekly Sabbath unified Israel under the Mosaic covenant and the weekly Lord’s Day unifies the church under the New Covenant. Shifting the day of assembly maintained the weekly cycle and caused no calendar upset, yet conclusively broke the grip of the Sabbath on New Covenant believers.
Evaluating the Strength of Arguments in the Sabbath/Lord’s Day Controversy, Part 2d: What are the Terms?
Terms and Definitions. The entry from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) for “shabbāt” (i.e., Sabbath) says “Everything God made, as recorded in Genesis, he called good. Only the Sabbath, however, he sanctified, indicating perhaps that the climax of creation was not the creation of man, as is often stated, but the day of rest, the seventh day.” Read this quote again for understanding. What is the author affirming, implying, or speculating? Really. Read it again and assess what the author is concluding from the text and the context. Give this some thought.
The author (contributor Victor P. Hamilton) apparently believes that the sanctification of a day—just that one day—overshadows God creating man and woman after His own image. Sure, he said “perhaps”, but this is supposed to be a scholarly reference work of the highest caliber. This is to be contrasted with Watts who asserts that “Gen. 1:27 accords the creation of humanity a special status (as indicated by being last in the ascending order, the exceptional divine jussive ’let us,’ and the threefold use of bārā’.)” The questionable nature of the statement from the TWOT comes from the fact that the creation ended on the sixth day; therefore, the sanctification of the seventh day cannot be the climax of creation. The climax of creation would be the last thing that God created, that is, man and woman on the sixth day. Lisle states the obvious, “[The seventh day] isn’t a ‘creation day’ as Ross falsely labels it.”
“So God created (bārā’) man in his own image, in the image of God created (bārā’) he him; male and female, created (bārā’) he them” (Gen 1:27).
This is the last sentence in the creation narrative that thrice uses the word “bārā’” (i.e., create). God sanctified (not created) the seventh day because “in it he had rested (or ceased) from all his work which God created and made” (Gen 2:3). The day of ceasing cannot be a day of creating. Creation was complete before the seventh day. The seventh day was not “created” in the same sense as the things described on days one through six.
Furthermore, though Exodus later links the newly instituted Sabbath with the seventh day of creation, the word “shabbāt” is not used in Genesis. Hamilton’s assumption that God’s rest (shābath) on the seventh day is identical to the Sabbath (shabbāt) is not supported by the text. However, building upon this assumption, Hamilton further asserts that “The Sabbath is thus an invitation to rejoice in God’s creation, and recognize God’s sovereignty over our time.” Again, this conclusion is unsubstantiated. Nowhere in the Bible does Sabbath law mandate rejoicing in creation or recognizing God’s sovereignty over our time. Not that there’s anything wrong with these spiritual disciplines—you can do them any day of the week—but the Sabbath does not expressly and/or exclusively lead to that conclusion. If Paul can assert that “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:20), then why would God limit the obvious to one day in a week? Psalm 92, designated for the Sabbath day, does not reflect on God’s creation or the value of time, rather it focuses on God’s favor toward the redeemed (hint, hint). That is, the impetus for Sabbath worship is redemption, not creation. Psalm 148, which specifically urges praise for God the creator, does not invoke the Sabbath for motivation. It is a song of awe and wonder for any day of the week, and finds its motivation through the simple act of observation and the a priori belief that God is the creator of the observable universe. Psalm 90, which considers the seventy year lifespan of man on earth and the eternality of God, gives no nod to the Sabbath.
While many theologians attempt to infuse the Sabbath with some sort of wonder for time and creation, this association is not directly demonstrable from Scripture. Modern Jewish writers also capitalize on these two aspects—the holiness of time and of space—to add value to the Sabbath command.
“Jewish ritual may be characterized as the art of significant forms in time, as architecture of time.”
“Unlike the Day of Atonement, the Sabbath is not dedicated exclusively to spiritual goals. It is a day of the soul as well as of the body; comfort and pleasure an integral part of the Sabbath observance. Man in his entirety, all his faculties must share its blessing.”
If this is what makes the Sabbath special, then Sabbath is a geocentric and anthropocentric ritual. Without Jesus, Jews practically deify the Sabbath. “For where can the likeness of God be found?” Heschel queries. He rejoins, “…the likeness of God can be found in time, which is eternity in disguise.” Heschel continues, “The Sabbath preceded creation and the Sabbath completed creation; it is all of the spirit that the world can bear.”  But the New Covenant theology is clear: Jesus preceded creation and He completed creation. Jesus, the Messiah, is the true and complete image of God. The Lord’s Day, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, is quite different in essence than the Sabbath. It is Christocentric.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Col 1:15-17, NKJV)
Hamilton’s statements likely resonated with those of the CS and SS positions, but they epitomize the kind of rhetoric that predominates the literature. And his comments are uncomfortably comparable to the Jewish infatuation for the Sabbath. He is a Bible scholar, who for the moment, let hermeneutics lapse while reciting a church catechism or something that just sounded good to him. Hamilton offered no conclusive argument that the seventh day when God rested was of the same species as the Sabbath when Israel was commanded to rest—he merely assumed identity based on the reference to the creation week in the fourth commandment (Ex 20:11). Christian theologians and pastors better serve the church by proclaiming the first-day light of Christ’s resurrection and His supremacy over the Sabbath.
Based on this reference to creation in Exodus, we may ask: What is the nature of the relationship between God’s rest and the Sabbath? Is there a plausible reason why the Lord associated the creation week with Israel’s weekly Sabbath? In what ways are the Lord’s rest and Israel’s rest similar? In what ways are they different? What do the specific Sabbath laws that Israel was enjoined to obey have to do with God’s rest? In the same way, we may ask, based on the reference to redemption in Deuteronomy 5:15: What is the nature of the relationship between Israel’s redemption and the Sabbath? Is there a plausible reason why the Lord associated Israel’s redemption from Egypt with Israel’s weekly Sabbath? In what ways are Israel’s redemption and Israel’s weekly rest similar? In what ways are they different? What do the specific Sabbath laws that Israel was enjoined to obey have to do with their redemption? Lastly, given the association of both the creation rest and Israel’s redemption with the Sabbath, how are these two events related? In what ways are the Lord’s solitary day of rest following creation similar to Israel’s (apparent) release from the grip of Egypt? Is one of these reasons for the Sabbath—creation or redemption—more important than the other? And if so, why? Does this mean that there is a “creation Sabbath” for a perfect humanity, but a “redemption Sabbath” for imperfect Israelites? How are these two types of Sabbath different and alike?
 TWOT, p. 903.
 Watts, Rick E. “Mark” in Commentary on the NT Use of the OT, Beale and Carson, eds., p. 197.
 Though the Creator likely made the Garden of Eden shortly following the creation of Adam and Eve. The Garden of Eden was made for man; “there he put the man whom he had formed” (Gen 2:8).
 Lisle, Jason. Understanding Genesis, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2015, p. 223.
 Heschel, The Sabbath, p. 8. (Italics in the original).
 Heschel, The Sabbath, p. 19.
 Heschel, The Sabbath, p. 16.
 Heschel, The Sabbath, p. 21. Heschel also likens the Sabbath to Adam. “It is not good that the spirit should be alone, so Israel was destined to be a helpmeet for the Sabbath.” p. 52.
 For sake of brevity, the following abbreviations stand for the three main views: Lord’s Day (LD), Christian Sabbath (CS), and Saturday Sabbath (SS).
This is a collection of five discourses presented by the New York Sabbath Committee in 1862. It is a rather obscure book but contributes a sketch of American Sabbatarianism at the beginning of the Civil War. Mr. Robert Carter (1807-1889) provides the introduction, and he is both the publisher and a founding member of the Sabbath Committee. Carter explains that this anthology represents one aspect of the Committee’s efforts to inculcate a respect for the Christian Sabbath by providing theological literature for pastors and interested readers. At issue are businesses open on Sunday, the differing viewpoints and activities of European immigrants (specifically German Lutherans) with their Sunday Theater and Beer Gardens, the movement of troops in the current war, the hawking of newspapers on Sunday, and Christians who hold to the abrogation of the Sabbath—each of which contributes to a decrease in morality.
Five New York City pastors lend their expertise in laying down the history, authority, duties, and benefits of Sabbath observance, with a final discourse on the matter of applying these principles in a free society. The discourses are short on biblical exegesis, yet grandiose in style and reasoning. Rice promotes the idea of a Sabbath kept by Adam and the patriarchs, a theological idea he admits was not supported by Luther or Calvin. Hague simply states that God is the author of the Sabbath, but it is “susceptible of adjustment” from one era to another, coming to its final resting place on Sunday. Ganse lays out the paradigm for proper Sabbath conduct and spends a fair amount of time addressing how parents should teach their children to love the Sabbath. Adams discusses the physical, intellectual, social, and religious benefits of Sabbath-keeping, but has misgivings about “recreations” on the Sabbath, equating a walk in the park with dissipation. Finally, Vinton summarizes the rationale for establishing civil participation in this Sabbath concept since all law is an expression of some religion or another. My favorite chapters were Sabbath Duties by Ganse and the Civil Sabbath by Vinton.
The United States is nearly a hundred years old for these writers, so they are closer to the issues of church and state that plagued Europe since the Reformation. They uphold the American experiment and understand the necessity of a moral underpinning to promote a national welfare. These are passionate Christian men who love the Lord and are alarmed at the downturn in public values. Unfortunately, their premise of an archetypical and universal Sabbath that was later codified in the Ten Commandments and then moved to Sunday is not correct. And everything that flows from this premise is suspect. They uniformly and almost exclusively refer to the Lord’s Day (Sunday) as the Sabbath. But their love for the “Sabbath” is really an expression of their love for the Lord’s Day and would it be that more Christians thus regarded it for the spiritual benefits to be gained (absent Sabbatarianism). The book is available in print or in electronic format.
Evaluating the Strength of Arguments in the Sabbath/Lord’s Day Controversy, Part 2c: What are the Texts?
With an awareness of the three major positions of the debate and a general survey of the most significant verses on the topic with a host a questions to answer, it is time to expand our study to the numerous Bible verses that apply to the subject. Following are all verses that mention rest, Sabbath, related feasts and festivals. Other verses may apply in a tangential way, but the following verses are strictly about or related to the Sabbath and Lord’s Day. The final section on typology is a basic presentation of the pervasive theme of rest as it relates to the provider of rest, the state of rest, and the place of rest.
Sabbath Scriptures Outlined
Shabbath [O.T. 7676] 111 occurrences
- 110 ‘sabbath’ or ‘sabbaths’ Ex. 16:23, 25, 26, 29; 20:8, 10, 11; 31:13, 14, 15(2), 16(2); 35:2, 3; Lev. 16:31; 19:3, 30; 23:3(2), 11, 15(2), 16, 32(2), 38; 24:8(2); 25:2, 4(2), 6, 8(2); 26:2, 26:34(2), 35, 43; Num. 15:32; 28:9, 10(2); Deut. 5:12, 14, 15; 2 Ki. 4:23; 11:5, 7, 9(2); 16:18; 1 Ch. 9:32(2); 23:31; 2 Ch. 2:4; 8:13; 23:4, 23:8(2); 31:3; 36:21; Neh. 9:14; 10:31(2), 33; 13:15(2), 16, 17, 18, 19(3), 21, 22; Ps. 92:1; Isa. 1:13; 56:2, 4, 6; 58:13(2); 66:23(2); Jer. 17:21, 22(2), 24(2), 27(2); Lam. 2:6; Ezek. 20:12, 13, 16, 20, 21, 24; 22:8, 26; 23:38; 44:24; 45:17; 46:1, 3, 4, 12; Hos. 2:11; Amos 8:5
- 1 ‘another’ in Isa. 66:23 “one sabbath to another”
Shabbathon [O.T. 7677] 11 occurrences
- 8 ‘rest’ Ex. 16:23; 31:15; 35:2; Lev. 16:31; 23:3, 32; 25:4, 5
- 3 ‘sabbath’ Lev. 23:24, 39 (2)
Mishbattim. [O.T. 4868] 1 occurrence
- 1 ‘sabbaths’ or ‘downfall’ or ‘cessation’ Lam. 1:7
Shabath [O.T. 7673] 71 occurrences
Gen. 2:2, 2:3; 8:22; Ex. 5:5; 12:15; 16:30; 23:12; 31:17; 34:21(2); Lev. 2:13, 23:32; 25:2; 26:6, 34, 35(2); Deut. 32:26; Josh. 5:12; 22:25; Ruth 4:14; 2 Ki. 23:5, 11; 2 Ch.16:5; 36:21; Neh. 4:11; 6:3; Job. 32:1; Ps. 8:2; 46:9; 89:44; 119:119; Prov. 18:18; 22:10; Isa. 13:11; 14:4(2); 16:10; 17:3; 21:2; 24:8(2); 30:11; 33:8; Jer. 7:34; 16:9; 31:36; 36:29; 48:33, 35; Lam. 5:14, 15; Ezek. 6:6; 7:24; 12:23; 16:41; 23:27, 48; 26:13; 30:10, 13, 18; 33:28; 34:10, 25; Dan. 9:27; 11:18; Hos. 1:4; 2:11; 7:4; Amos 8:4
- 18 ‘to cause to cease’ – Neh. 4:11; Prov. 18:18; Isa. 13:11; 30:11; Jer. 7:34; 16:9; 36:29; 48:35; Ezek. 16:41; 23:48; 26:13; 30:13, 34:10, 25; Dan. 9:27; 11:18; Hos. 1:4; 2:11
- 14 ‘cease’ – Gen. 8:22; Josh. 5:12; Neh. 6:3; Job. 32:1; Prov. 22:10; Isa. 14:4(2); 24:8(2); 33:8; Jer. 31:36; Lam. 5:14, 15; Hos. 7:4
- 10 ‘make to cease’ – Deut. 32:26; Josh. 22:25; Ps. 46:9; 89:44; Isa. 16:10; 21:2; Ezek. 7:24; 12:23; 23:27, 30:10
- 10 ‘rest’ or ‘rested’ – Gen. 2:2, 3; Ex. 16:30, 23:12, 31:17, 34:21(2); Lev. 26:34, 35(2)
- 4 ‘cease’ – Isa. 17:3; Ezek. 6:6; 30:18; 33:28
- 1 land ‘keep sabbath’ – Lev. 25:2
- 1 ‘celebrate’ your sabbath – Lev. 23:32
- 13 various renderings –
Ex. 5:5; 12:15; Lev. 2:13, 26:6, Ruth 4:14; 2 Ki. 23:5, 11; 2 Ch.16:5; 36:21; Ps. 8:2; 119:119; Jer. 48:33; Amos 8:4
Shabua [O.T. 7620] 20 occurrences
- 19 ‘week’ or ‘weeks’ – Gen. 29:27, 28; Ex. 34:22; Lev. 12:5; Num. 28:26; Deut. 16:9(2), 10, 16; 2 Chr. 8:13; Jer. 5:24; Dan. 9:24, 25(2), 26, 27(2); 10:2, 3
- 1 ‘seven’ Ezek. 45:21
Sheba or Shibah [O.T. 7651] 394 occurrences – ‘seven,’ ‘sevenfold,’ ‘seven times,’ or ‘seventh’
- ‘Seven days’ 83 occurrences, e.g. Gen. 7:4, 10; 8:10; 31:23; 50:10; Ex. 7:25; 12:15, 19; 13:6, 7
- ‘Seven months’ 3 occurrences, 1 Sam. 6:1; Ezek. 39:12, 14
- ‘Seven years’ 37 occurrences, e.g. Lev. 25:8; Deut. 15:1; 31:10; 1 Ki. 16:38 (years building the Solomonic Temple); Jer. 34:14
- ‘sevenfold’ 5 occurrences, Gen. 4:15, 24; Ps. 79:12; Prov. 6:31; Isa 30:26
Shebii [O.T. 7637] 97 occurrences
‘Seventh day’ 50 occurrences
- Creation – Gen 2:2(2), 3; Ex. 20:11; 31:17
- Sabbath – Ex. 12:15, 16; 16:26,27, 29, 30; 20:10; 23:12; 34:21; 35:2; Lev. 23:3; Deut. 5:14
- Clean – Lev. 13:5, 6, 27, 32, 34, 51; 14:9, 39; Num. 6:9; 19:12(2), 19(2); 31:19, 24
- Feasts – Ex. 13:6; Lev. 23:8; Num. 28:25; 29:32; Deut. 16:8; Ezek. 45:20
- Other – Ex. 24:16; Num. 7:48; Josh. 6:4, 15; Judg. 14:15, 17, 18; 2 Sam. 12:18; 1 Ki. 20:29; 2 Ki. 25:8; Esth. 1:10; Ezek. 30:20
- ‘Seventh month’ 26 occurrences, e.g. Gen. 8:4; Lev. 16:29; 23:24, 27, 34, 39, 41; 25:9; Num. 29:1, 7, 12; 1 Ki. 8:2; 2 Chr. 5:3; Ezra 3:1,6; Neh. 7:73; 8:2, 14; Ezek. 45:25
- ‘Seventh year’ 14 occurrences, e.g. Ex. 23:11; Lev. 25:4, 20; Deut. 15:9, 12
Chodesh [O.T. 2320] 283 occurrences
- 258 ‘month(s)’ – e.g. Gen. 7:11; 8:4, 5, 13, 14; Ex. 2:12; 40:17; Lev. 23:5, 6, 24,27, 32, 34, 39, 41;
- 22 ‘new moon(s)’ – Num. 29:6; 1 Chr. 23:31; 2 Chr. 2:4; 8:13; 31:3; 1 Sam. 20:5, 18, 24; 2 Ki. 4:23; Ezra 3:5; Neh. 10:33; Ps 81:3; Isa. 1:13, 14; 66:23; Ezek. 45:17; 46:1, 3, 6; Hos 2:11; 5:7; Amos 8:5
Manoach [O.T. 4494] 6 occurrences.
- rest – Gen. 8:9; Deut. 28:65; Ruth 3:1; Ps. 116:7; Lam. 1:30; Isa. 34:14
Menuchah [O.T. 4496] 22 occurrences.
- place of rest – Gen. 49:15; Num. 10:33; Deut. 12:9; Ruth 1:9; 1 Ki. 8:56; 1 Ch. 22:9; 28:2; Ps. 95:11; 116:7;
132:8, 14; Isa. 11:10; 28:12; 32:18; 66:1; Jer. 45:3; Mic. 2:10; Zech. 9:1
- Other – Jdg. 20:43; 2 Sa. 14:17; Ps. 23:2; Jer. 51:59
- place of rest – Gen. 49:15; Num. 10:33; Deut. 12:9; Ruth 1:9; 1 Ki. 8:56; 1 Ch. 22:9; 28:2; Ps. 95:11; 116:7;
- Margoa [O.T. 4771] “rest for you soul” Jer. 6:16
Nuach [O.T. 5117] 67 occurrences. ‘to be at rest,’ ‘rested’
- 26 – ‘rest,’ ‘rested’ Gen. 8:4; Ex. 10:14: 20:11; 23:12; Num. 10:36; 11:25, 26; Deut. 5:14; Josh. 3:13; 2 Sa. 21:10; 2 Ki. 2:15; Esth. 9:17, 18, 22; Job 3:13, 17; Ps. 125:3; Prov. 14:33; Eccl. 7:9; Isa. 7:19; 11:2; 14:7; 23:12; 25:10; 57:2; Lam. 5:5; Dan. 12:13; Hab. 3:16
- 29 – ‘give rest,’ ’cause to rest’ Ex. 33:14; Deut. 3:20; 12:10; 25:19; Josh. 1:13, 15; 21:44; 22:4; 23:1; 2 Sam. 7:1, 11; 1 Ki. 5:4; 1 Chr. 22:9, 18; 23:25; 2 Chr. 14:6, 7; 15:15; 20:30; Neh. 9:28; Prov. 29:17; Isa. 14:3; 28:12; 63:14; Ezek. 5:13; 16:42; 21:17; 24:13; 44:30
- 13 – Other Ex. 17:11; 1 Sam. 25:9; 2 Sam. 17:12; Job 3:26; Prov. 21:16; Isa. 7:2, 30:32; Ezek. 37:1; 40:2 Zech. 6:8
Nuach [O.T. 5118] 2 occurences. ‘resting place’, ‘had rest’
- 2 Chr 6:41; Esth 9:16
Anapauo [N.T. 373] ‘rest’
- 4 – ‘refresh’ 1 Cor. 16:18; 2 Cor. 7:13; Philem. 7, 20
- 8 – ‘rest’ Matt. 11:28 (“I will give you rest”); 26:45; Mk. 6:31; 14:41; Lk. 12:19; 1 Pet. 4:14; Rev. 6:11; 14:13
Anapausis [N.T. 372] 5 occurrences. an intermission or state of rest; used in the Septuagint to translate Heb. Shabbath ‘cessation, refreshment, rest’
- 5 – ‘rest’ Matt 11:29 (“rest for your souls”); 12:43; Lk. 11:24; Rev. 4:8; 14:11
Katapauo [N.T. 2664] 4 occurrences. ‘to cease’
- 3 – ‘rest’ Heb. 4:4, 8, 10
- 1 – ‘restrain’ Acts 14:18
Katapausis [N.T. 2663], ‘rest’
- 9 – ‘rest’ – Acts 7:49; Heb. 3:11, 18; 4:1, 3(2), 5, 10, 11
Sabbata [N.T. 4521] 68 occurrences. Neuter plural noun, transliterated from singular Aramaic; and Sabbaton, singular noun, formed from the mistaken plural
Matt. 12:1, 2, 5(2), 8, 10, 11, 12; 24:20; 28:1(2); Mark 1:21; 2:23, 24, 27(2), 28; 3:2, 4; 6:2; 16:1, 2, 9; Luke 4:16, 31; 6:1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9; 13:10, 14(2), 15, 16; 14:1, 3, 5; 18:12; 23:54, 56; 24:1; John 5:9, 10, 16, 18; 7:22, 23(2); 9:14, 16; 19:31(2); 20:1, 19; Acts 1:12; 13:14, 27, 42, 44; 15:21; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Col. 2:16
- Sabbaton: 41 occurrences – 39 as ‘Sabbath’ and 2 as ‘week’
- Sabbata: 27 occurrences – 20 as ‘Sabbath’ and 7 as ‘week’
- Sabbaton: Matt. 12:2, 5, 8; 24:20; Mk. 2:27(2), 28; 6:2; 16:1; Lk. 6:1, 5, 6, 7; 13:14, 15, 16; 14:1, 3; 23:54, 56; Jn. 5:9, 10, 16, 18; 7:22, 23(2), 9:14, 16; 19:31(2); Acts 1:12; 13:27, 42, 44; 15:21; 18:4
- Sabbata: Matt. 12:1, 5, 10, 11, 12; 28:1; Mk.1:21, 23, 24; 3:2, 4; Lk. 6:2, 9; 13:10
5 ‘Sabbath day’
- Sabbaton: Luke 13:14; 14:5
- Sabbata: Luke 4:16; Acts 13:14; 16:13
- Sabbaton: none
- Sabbata: Lk. 4:31; Acts 17:2; Col. 2:16
- Sabbaton: Mk. 16:9; Lk. 18:12
- Sabbata: Matt. 28:1; Mk. 16:2; Lk. 24:1; Jn. 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:2
- Sabbatismos [N.T. 4520] ‘rest’ or ‘sabbath-keeping’ – Heb. 4:9
- Prosabbaton [N.T. 4315] ‘day before the Sabbath’ Mk. 15:42
- Neomenia [N.T. 3561] ‘New Moon’ Col. 2:16
- Seventh Day – Ex. 16:26; (Gen. 2:2; Heb. 4:4)
- Given – Ex. 16:29; Ezek. 20:12 “the Lord has given you the Sabbath”
- Hallowed – Ex. 20:11
- Holy – Ex. 31:15; Neh. 9:14
- A Holy Day – Ex. 35:2
- Holy Convocation – Lev. 23:3, 38
- Rest of the Holy Sabbath unto the Lord – Ex. 16:23
- Blessed and Hallowed – Ex. 20:11
- A Sabbath of Rest – Ex. 30:10; 31:15; 35:2; Lev. 23:3, 32; 25:4; cf. Lev. 16:31 (atonement Sabbath)
- A Sabbath of Rest to the Lord – Ex. 35:2
- Sabbath of Rest unto you – Lev. 16:31
- Sabbath unto the Lord – Ex. 16:25
- Sabbath of the Lord thy God – Ex. 20:10; Deut. 5:14
- My Sabbaths – Ex. 31:13; Lev. 19:3, 30; 26:2; Ezek. 20:12, 13, 16, 20, 21, 24; 22:8, 26; 23:38; 44:24; Isa. 56:4
- Sabbath of the Lord – Lev. 23:3, 38
- My Holy Day, the Holy of the Lord – Isa. 58:13
- A Delight, Honorable – Isa. 58:13
Day of Atonement so regarded – Lev. 23:27-32 (tenth day of seventh month)
- cf. Jn. 19:31 “for that Sabbath day was a high day”
- cf. Lev. 23:14 (First Fruits)
- cf. Lev. 23:21 (Pentecost)
- cf. Lev. 23:31 (Day of Atonement); Lev. 16:29-31
- cf. Lev. 23:31 (Tabernacles)
- Statute forever – Lev. 16:29-31 (atonement Sabbath)
- Her (Israel’s) Sabbaths – Lam. 1:7
- Feasts of the Lord – Lev. 23:1-3ff [Sabbath, Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Weeks (Pentecost), Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles] 2 Chr. 8:12-13 – Solomon observed all the feasts
Sabbath for the Land – Ex. 23:10-11; Lev. 25:1-7, 18-22; 26:28-35, 43; 2 Chr. 36:16-21; Ex. 23:9-11; Neh. 10:31; Lev. 25:2; Jer. 34:8-17 (c.f. Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:9
- Hag. 2:15-19 – “the land shall keep a Sabbath unto the Lord;”
- Lev. 25:2-7; 18-22 “a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath for the Lord”
- Deut. 15:9; 31:10-13 “year of release”
- Ex. 21:2; Deut. 15:12; Jer. 34:14 – bond-servants set free
- Deut. 15:1-6, 12-18; 19-20; Neh. 10:31 – creditors release debtors
- Lev. 26:34, 35 (32-41); Jer. 34:12-22 – punishment
- Possibly observed: 2 Ki. 18:32; 19:29; Jer. 34:8-17; Hag. 2:15-19
- Jubilee “seven sabbaths of years” – Num. 36:4; Lev. 25:8-55; 27:17-24; Jer. 32:6-15 “right of redemption” Isa. 61:1-3
- Sabbath and the New Moon – 2 Ki. 4:23; Isa. 66:23; Ezek. 46:1; Hos. 2:11; Amos 8:5
- Feast, New Moon and Sabbath – Ezek. 45:17; I Chr. 23:31; 2 Chr. 2:4; 8:13; 31:3; Neh. 10:33
- Sabbatic Year and Jubilee – Isa. 37:30; 2 Ki. 19:29
- First mention in wilderness – Ex. 16:5,25,26,27; cf. Ex. 16:28 “refusing to keep the commandments and laws”
- When given the law at Sinai – Ex. 20:8-10; Deut. 5:12-15; Neh. 9:13-14
- Creation association – Ex. 20:11; 31:17 (Gen. 2:2-3; Heb. 4:3-4)
- Release from captivity – Deut. 5:15
- Refreshment – Ex. 23:12; 31:15; 34:21; Lev. 16:31
- Sign for Israel/To know the Lord – Ex. 31:13; 31:17; Ezek. 20:12; 20:20
- A holy day – Ex. 35:2
- Basis for other feasts – Ex. 34:21-22; Lev. 23:2-3, 11, 15-16, 24, 32, 39
- To offer sacrifices – Lev. 23:37-38; Num. 28:9-10; cf. Heb. 9:9-10 “gifts and sacrifices” “food and drinks” “various washings” “carnal ordinances”
- To recall the Egyptian captivity – Deut. 5:15; Lev. 26:2, 13
- As a gift from God – Ex. 16:29 “the Lord has given you the Sabbath”
- As a gift to God – Lev. 23:37-38
- As a perpetual covenant – Ex. 31:16; Lev. 24:1-8 (showbread)
- As a statute forever – Lev. 16:29-31 (atonement Sabbath); Isa. 66:23 “worship from one Sabbath to another” through eternity
- Prophetic worship – Ezek. 45:17; 46:1, 4, 12
- To do good (as well as on any other day) – Matt. 12:12; Isa. 1:(13),17
- To read and study the Scriptures – Mk. 1:21; 6:2; Lk. 4:16; 4:31; 6:6; 13:10; Acts 13:14, 27, 42, 44; 17:2; 18:4
- Prayer – Acts 16:13
- Shadow of the believer’s salvation rest – Heb. 4:4
Starts the night before –
- Lev. 23:32 (atonement Sabbath) ” from evening unto evening, shall you celebrate your Sabbath”
- Neh. 13:19 “began to be dark before the Sabbath” (and needed to shut the gates)
- Mk. 15:42 “the evening was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath (prosabbaton)”
- Lk. 23:54 “that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on” cf. Matt. 28:1 “in the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn”
Cook the day before –
- Ex. 16:29 “cook what you need the day before”
- Ex. 35:3 “kindle no fire”
- cf. Ex. 12:16 “no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done by you.” (Passover Sabbaths)
- cf. Jer. 17:27 “I will kindle a fire in its gates” for Sabbath breaking
- cf. Ezek. 23:37-38 children passed through the fire on the Sabbath
- cf. Matt. 27:62 “the next day, that followed the day of the preparation”
- cf. Mk. 15:42 “when the evening was come… the day before the Sabbath”
- Lk. 23:54 post-crucifixion “day of preparation… Sabbath drew on”
- Jn. 19:31 “because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day”
Abide at home –
- Ex. 16:29 “abide ye every man in his place”
- Lev. 23:31 (atonement Sabbath) observed “forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings”
- Lev. 23:3 “Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings”
- 2 Ki. 4:22-23 Shunamite woman usually visited Elisha on a Sabbath or new moon
- Jer. 17:22 “Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day”
- Matt. 24:20 “pray that your flight be not… on the Sabbath days”
- Lk. 23:55-56 “and they returned (to the sepulchers)…and rested the Sabbath day”
- Acts 1:12 “Sabbath day’s journey” (2,000 paces)
- cf. Acts 16:13 “on the Sabbath we went out the city (Philippi) by a river”
Rest prescribed –
- Ex. 23:12 six day to work, “the seventh is a day of rest”
- Ex. 31:15 six days to work, “the seventh is the Sabbath of rest”
- Ex. 34:21 six days to work, “the seventh is for rest during earing time and harvest”
- Ex. 35:2 six days to work, “the seventh is for rest…”
- cf. Lev. 23:32 “shall be to you a Sabbath of rest” (Atonement Sabbath)
- Lk. 23:56 “and rested the Sabbath day, according to the commandment”
Remember, Keep, Observe or Hallow –
- Ex. 16:28 “How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?”
- Ex. 20:8 “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”
- Ex. 31:13 “Verily, my Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations…”
- Ex. 31:16 “the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath…”
- Ex. 31:16 “…to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations for a perpetual covenant”
- Lev. 19:3 “fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my Sabbaths”
- Lev. 19:30 “Ye shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary”
- cf. Lev. 23:32 “celebrate your Sabbath” (Atonement Sabbath)
- Lev. 26:2 “Ye shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary”
- Deut. 5:12 “Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God”
- Deut. 5:15 “the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day”
- Neh. 13:22 “come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day”
- cf. Neh. 13:17 “profane the Sabbath”
- cf. Isa. 1:13 “Sabbaths of backsliding Israel an abomination to the Lord”
- Isa. 56:2 “keep my Sabbaths”
- Isa. 56:4 “keep my Sabbaths”
- Isa. 56:6 “keep my Sabbaths”
- Isa. 58:13 “call it a delight and honor the Lord”
- Jer. 17:22, 24 “but hallow the Sabbath day”
- cf. Ezek. 20:13; 22:8; 23:38 Israel profaned or polluted “my Sabbaths”
- Ezek. 20:20 “hallow my Sabbaths”
- Ezek. 44:24 future priests to “hallow my Sabbaths”
- Acts 15:21 “Moses is read in the synagogues”
Work proscribed –
- Ex. 16:27 Israelites wrongly gathered manna
- Ex. 20:10 children, servants, livestock “shall not do any work”
- Ex. 23:12 the ox, ass, son of servant or stranger “shall rest”
- Ex. 31:14 “the soul who works shall be cut off”
- Ex. 31:15 inferred proscription from work
- Ex. 35:3 “kindle no fire”
- Lev. 16:29 “and do no work at all” (Atonement Sabbath)
- Lev. 23:3 “you shall do no work therein”
- cf. Lev. 23:24 “you shall do no servile work” (Trumpets Sabbath)
- cf. Lev. 23:31 “you shall do no manner of work” (atonement Sabbath)
- Num. 15:32 man wrongly gathered sticks
- Neh. 13:15 loading animals, bringing in heaps of grain, wine treading, sold provisions
- Neh. 13:16 men of Tyre enticed Jews to participate in commerce
- Neh. 13:22 “carried burdens”
- cf. Neh. 13:19 Nehemiah ordered his servants to guard the gates on the Sabbath to prevent the entrance of merchants into Jerusalem
- Isa. 58:13 prohibits “doing your own pleasure” “turning away foot” “speaking your own words” “doing you own ways”
- Jer. 17:21 “bear no burden… nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem”
- Jer. 17:22 don’t “carry… a burden out of your houses… neither do any work”
- Jn. 10:10 “it is not lawful for you to carry thy bed” (though told by Jesus to do so)
- cf. Mk. 16:1 “when the Sabbath was past” (Mary/Mary/Salome) went to anoint the body of Jesus
Conduct no business
- Neh. 10:31 after restoration of Sabbath, Jews were encouraged not to buy items brought by non-Jews to the city for sale
- Neh. 13:15-22 Israelites worked on the Sabbath
- Neh. 13:16 brought wares and sold on the Sabbath
- Neh. 13:17 “What evil thing is this that you do, and profane the Sabbath day?”
- Neh. 13:19 Ordered gate shut to restrict trade
- Jer. 17:21, 24, 27 “bear no burden… nor bring it in by the gates”
- Jer. 17:22 “Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day”
- Amos 8:5 God exposes the impatience of Israel to bypass the Sabbath so they may sell to earn money through deceit
Priestly duties –
- Lev. 24:1-8 priest prepares lampstands and arranges showbread “every Sabbath continually” “taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant”
- cf. Ex. 25:23-30 Directions for showbread table
- Num. 28:9-10 two lambs sacrificed every Sabbath
- I Chr. 9:32 sons of the Kohathites were over the showbread, to prepare it every Sabbath
- 1 Sam 21:6 David and showbread
- Neh. 13:22 priests told to cleanse themselves by Nehemiah and to guard the gates
- cf. Ezek. 46:1 east gate to be opened on the Sabbath in the future (also on a New Moon)
- Jn. 7:22-24 “on the Sabbath day you circumcise a man”
Death Penalty and Judgments –
- Ex. 16:27-28 “How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?” (for gathering manna on the Sabbath)
- Ex. 31:14 “anyone who defiles it shall surely be put to death”
- Ex. 31:14 “the soul who works shall be cut off”
- Ex. 35:2 “whosoever works shall be put to death”
- Lev. 26:33-35 Dispersion for disobedience of the law resulting in the land enjoying its forgotten sabbatic years
- cf. Num. 9:13 death penalty for not observing the Passover
- Num. 15:32-36 incident of man who gathered sticks and was put to death “did not know what to do”
- Neh. 13:15 “I testified against them in the day in which they sold provisions”
- Neh. 13:17 “I contended with the nobles… ‘what evil thing is this that you do and profane the Sabbath'”
- Neh. 13:18 Nehemiah expected greater judgment on Israel for profaning the Sabbath
- Neh. 13:21 “Then I testified against them”
- Isa. 1:13-14 God despises the festival worship of Israel “weary of bearing them”
- Jer. 17:27 “then will I kindle a fire in its gates” for Sabbath breaking
- Lam. 2:6 God caused Israel to forget Sabbaths by destroying the temple
- Ezek. 20:12-13 God pours out fury because Israel “polluted my Sabbaths”
- Hos. 2:11 God caused the Sabbaths to cease in judgment of forgetting Him
- cf. Jer. 34:12-22 Judgment for breaking Land Sabbath
- cf. Jer. 34:17 “I proclaim a liberty for you… to the sword”
- cf. Neh. 13:18 Judgment for breaking the Sabbath
Jesus taught on the Sabbath
- Mk. 1:21 “straightway on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue and taught” (in Capernaum)
- Mk. 6:2 “when the Sabbath day was come, he (Jesus) began to teach in the synagogue”
- Lk. 4:16 “as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day… to read”
- Lk. 4:31 in Capernaum “taught them on the Sabbath days”
- Lk. 6:6 “on another Sabbath that he entered into the synagogue and taught”
- Lk. 13:10 “he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath”
Jesus healed on the Sabbath
- Healed a man with a paralyzed hand – Matt. 12:9-14; Mk. 3:1-6; Lk. 6:6-11
- Healed a man of an unclean spirit – Mk. 1:21-28
- Healed a few sick folk. – Mk. 6:1-5 (Lk. 4:16-30 – no mention of healing)
- Healed an infirmed woman – Lk. 13:10-17
- Healed a certain man with dropsy – Lk. 14:1-6
- Healed a man at the pool of Bethesda – Jn. 5:1-16
- Healed a man born blind – Jn. 9:14-16
Jesus accused of breaking the Sabbath
- Disciples plucked ears of corn – Matt. 12:1-8; Mk. 2:23-28; Lk. 6:1-5
- Healed a man with a paralyzed hand – Matt. 12:9-14; Mk. 3:1-6; Lk.6:6-11
- Healed an infirmed woman – Lk. 13:10-17
- Healed the man at the pool of Bethesda – Jn. 5:1-16
- Healed in general – Jn. 7:21-24
- Jn. 19:31 “for that Sabbath day was a high day” (atonement Sabbath)
- Lk. 18:12 “I fast twice in the week” (hypocrite’s prayer)
- Acts 1:2 “Sabbath day’s journey” (Mt. Olivet to Jerusalem)
- Acts 13:14, 27, 42, 44 Jews and Gentiles hear apostles preach on the Sabbath in Antioch
- Acts 15:21 “Moses is read in every synagogue every Sabbath”
- Acts 16:13 “on the Sabbath we went out of the city (Philippi) by a riverside”
- Acts 17:2 Paul reasoned from the Scriptures for three Sabbaths at Thessalonica
- Acts 18:4 Paul reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath at Corinth
- 2 Cor. 8:15 “As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack” (Ex. 16:18)
- cf. Rom. 14:5-6 “one man esteems one day above another…”
- cf. Gal. 4:10 “you observe days and months and seasons and years”
- Col. 2:16 “Let no man judge you in respect of a holy day, new moon or of the Sabbath days”
- cf. Heb. 4:4 “the seventh day” God did rest from all his works
- Heb. 4:9 “There remains, therefore, a (Sabbath) rest to the people of God”
SUNDAY, THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK
Sabbaton or Sabbata translated ‘week’
- Matt. 28:1 “as it began to dawn toward the first (day) of the week”
- Mk. 16:2 “in the morning the first (day) of the week”
- Mk. 16:9 “risen early the first (day) of the week”
- Lk. 24:1 “upon the first (day) of the week”
- Jn. 20:1 “the first (day) of the week”
- Jn. 20:19 “the first (day) of the week”
- Acts 20:7 “upon the first (day) of the week, when the disciples came together”
- I Cor. 16:2 “upon the first (day) of the week let every one of you lay by him”
- cf. Lk. 18:12 “I fast twice in the week (hypocrite’s prayer)
Kuriakos [Gk. 2960] 2 occurences “Lord’s”
- Rev. 1:10 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice”
- 1 Cor. 11:20 – Lord’s Supper
Pentekoste [Gk. 4005] 3 occurences “Pentecost”
- Acts 2:1; 20:16; 1 Cor. 16:8
TYPOLOGY of rest
Tupos [N.T. 5179] 15 occurrences
- 2 ‘print’ – Jn. 20:25 (2)
- 2 ‘figure’ – Acts 7:43; Ro 5:14 – Adam a figure of Christ
- 1 ‘fashion’ – Acts 7:44
- 1 ‘manner’ – Acts 23:25
- 1 ‘form’ – Rom. 6:17
- 6 ‘example’ – 1 Cor. 10:6; Phil. 3:17; 1 Th. 1:7; 2 Th. 3:9; 1 Tim. 4:12; 1 Pet. 5:3
- 2 ‘pattern’ – Titus 2:7; Heb. 8:5 – Temple built according to the pattern, cf. Ex. 25:40
Antitupos [N.T. 499] 2 occurrences
- ‘figure’ – Heb. 9:24 “figures of the true”; 1 Pet. 3:21
Creation Rest, a type of the divine work necessary to provide redemptive rest
- Gen. 2:2-3 – God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done”
- Ex. 20:11 – in six days created the heavens and earth, and on the seventh day He rested
- Heb. 4:4-6 – “it remains that some must enter it” Author interprets OT rest typologically as redemptive rest/heaven
Noah, tenth generation of man, a type of an anticipated one who provides rest
- Gen. 5:29 Noah to give rest to mankind; in relation to curse of Adam
- Gen. 8:4 the ark rests on Mount Ararat
- Gen 8:21 Noah’s sacrifice was a smell of “rest” to God
- Gen. 9:1 God repeated mandate given to Adam (Noah is a 2nd Adam, that is, a prototype for Christ, who is identified as the second Adam)
- Lk 3:36 Noah is in lineage of Christ who is the provider of rest
- 1 Pet 3:20 Ark is a type of salvation, identifying Noah’s work as typologically redemptive
Canaan, son of Ham, a type of a cursed one who provides a place of rest
- Gen. 9:25 – cursed grandson of Noah (Gal. 3:3 Christ became a curse for us)
- Gen. 9:25 – “a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers” (Mk. 9:35; 10:45; Acts 3:13; 3:26; 4:30 Christ is a servant like no other)
- Gen. 10:15-19 – prodigious family growth who inherits a favorable land
- Gen. 9:25 – first use of ‘servant’ in OT; cf. Zech. 3:8 last use of ‘servant’ in OT is Christ
Abraham, twenty-first (3×7) generation of man, a type of one who trusts God awaiting ultimate rest; already and not yet paradigm
- Gen. 12:1 – “to a land that I will show you”
- Gen. 12:5-7 – land, blessing, altar; iteration of Adam planted in the garden
- Gen. 12:10 – Hope of Canaan postponed; a type of waiting for heaven; already—not yet
- Gen. 12:10 – Abraham in Egypt awaiting Canaan
- Gen. 49:29 – Jacob in Egypt awaiting Canaan but dies there, but bones brought to Canaan
- Gen 50:24-26 – Joseph in Egypt asks to be buried in Canaan; promises that Tribes will return to Canaan
- 1 Thess. 4:13-18 – “God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus”
- Heb. 11:8-10 – to Abraham, the land of promise was a foreign country
- Heb. 11:9 – only God could provide the ultimate place of rest
- Heb. 11:13-16 – the patriarchs did not receive the promise but desired a heavenly country
Moses, an iteration of Noah, a type of an obedient one who provides rest
- Ex. 33:12-17; 39:42-43 – Pleased and obeyed God cp. Gen. 6:8, 22
- Ex 2:1-10 – Moses placed in Basket (Heb. tebah=ark ) in the water cp. Gen. 7:7
- Ex. 3:8-10 – Moses to lead Israel to the land of rest cp. Gen. 8:17
- Ex. 33:14; Deut. 3:23-28; 32:48-52; 34:4; Negatively, final lapse in obedience disqualified from rest cp. Gen. 9:21
Old Covenant with ritual rest, a type of the New Covenant with redemptive rest
- Ex. 20:1-17; 24:7-8; 31:12-18; 34:27-29; Lev. 24:5; Jer. 31:31-37; Isa. 56:1-2; 56:6-7; 58:13-14; 66:22-23
- Ex. 31:18, 32:15-16 – During Moses’ second advent up Mount Sinai, he received the two tables of the covenant, written on both sides. Ex. 34:1, 28 – Moses broke the first set and God replaced it with a second set. Deuteronomy means second law. The Ten Commandments are twice recorded in Scripture. Deut. 5-26 is Moses’ second discourse to second generation is a retelling of the law. Deut. 17:18 is namesake of the book, commanding the king to make a copy of the law. Deut. 27 puts Israel before the Jordan River a second time, where this second generation must rehearse the law at the foot of two mountains. Deut. 27:2-8 Israel plastered stone monuments and copied the law upon them.
- 2 Cor. 3:2-3, 6-18 – Paul considered the events typic of New Covenant, Ex. 34:29-30; Ezek. 11:9; Ps. 40:6-8; Col. 2:14; Heb. 10:9
- Heb. 9:3, 7, 15 – Jesus, as the High Priest beyond the second veil, mediated the new covenant to ensure receipt of eternal inheritance
- Heb. 8:7; 10:9 – first-second pattern of typology; cf. Gen. 25:23; Rom. 9:10-13; 1 Cor. 15:45-49
The Tabernacle, a type of rest emphasizing the presence of God and fellowship with Him
- Ex. 25:9; 26:30 – Pattern shown to Moses
- Ex. 29:43-46 – Presence of God, as in the Garden
- Ex. 40:35-38; Num. 1:50-51; 10:17 – Tabernacle and Ark moveable places of peace, transitory through sea of humanity awaiting a place of permanent rest and security
- Ex. 40:2 – tabernacle erected first day of first month, cp. Gen 8:13
- John 1:14; Rev. 21:3 – Jesus is the tabernacle; last use; paradise described
Sabbath, the ultimate type of redemptive rest. Exquisitely detailed by seven pairs of laws, the Sabbath looks to pre-fall Eden and the Exodus for symbolic ideas to design a comprehensive type of complete redemptive rest.
- When. Ex. 16:4-31 Israel’s religious week established historically by the giving of the Manna; Gen. 2:1-3; 4:15 The number seven determined by God as a symbol of His perfect work; Ex. 31:16; Lev. 23:32; Neh. 13:19; pictures plight of and rescue of man from sin Ex. 7:1-5; 22-23; 8:15, 32; 10:27-11:1; 11:4-5; 12:30-31, 41, 51; 13:3-5; Deut. 16:6; Ps. 39:5-6; Isa. 9:2 as moving from evening, to darkest midnight, to daybreak of salvation, into an unending fellowship with God.
- Where. Ex. 16:29; Lev. 23:3; Deut. 12:10-11; Jer. 17:22 through the concept of Hebrew place-worship, this pictures the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s heart. 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 3:17; Jn. 15:4; 2 Jn. 9; Rev 3:12; 14:1. Yet it also looks to Eden as a prototype of the eternal habitation of God with man Gen. 2:8-10; 3:8; Isa. 66:1; Matt 5:35; Acts 7:49; Rev. 21:3. Lastly, separation of peoples, whether in homes, cities, and country, typifies the separation of the godly from the ungodly Deut. 17:5; 2 Chr. 14:6-7; 36:15-21; Neh. 13:19-22; Jer. 17:24, 27; Jn. 10:9, 28-29; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 3:16; Phil. 3:17-19; 4:7
- Why. The problem of sin and the divine solution is symbolized via the two rationales for Sabbath observance. Ex. 20:11, 31:17, the creation week ending with sinless mankind is the reason the Sabbath is hallowed, Gen. 2:2-3; Heb. 4:3-4, and Deut. 5:15, like Passover, the Sabbath is rooted in deliverance from Egypt, a type of salvation from the bondage of sin.
- How. Ex. 16:29; 20:9-10; 23:12; 35:2-3; Num. 15:32; Jer. 17:21-22; Neh. 13:15-16, 19 The twin commands to rest and avoid work typify the gospel call to trust in God, rather than in works, to become saved; Ex. 14:12-13; Deut. 5:15; Ps. 38:4; 104:29-30; Eccl 3:19; Joel 1:18-20; Isa. 9:4; 11:5-10; 65:17-25; Hos. 2:18; Jn. 1:13 Rom. 6:15-22; 8:19-22; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Heb. 4:3; and that redemption applies not only to man, but to the whole realm of creation.
- How. Ex. 35:2-3; Deut. 32:21-22; Ps. 50:3; Isa. 47:14; 66:16; Jer. 4:4, 15:14; 17:27; Amos 5:6; Rom 5:9; 1 Thess. 1:10 with a view to Eden, fire signifies judgment Gen. Ex. 12:8-10; Lev. 10:6; 1 Ki. 18; thus, no kindling of fires typifies redemption as freedom from God’s judgment Isa. 43:2; Heb. 10:18; and Ex. 16:23; Josh. 5:11; Mark 15:42; prefigured in the giving of Manna before the Sabbath, preparation beforehand typifies the Godward attitude and faith to receive what is promised; Ex. 12:3-6; Deut. 16:16-17; Lev. 23:42; Lk. 12:47; Acts 17:30-31; Heb. 4:7; 13:10; Rev. 3:20, 22; and the week of preparation symbolizes the work of God in their life bringing them to a place of rest; Ps. 31:19; Matt. 25:34; Jn. 14:1-3; Rom. 9:23; 1 Cor. 2: 9-10; 2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 2:10; Heb. 11:3; Rev. 21:1
- Duties. Priestly service of two yearling lambs, a grain offering and drink offering signify that redemptive work is necessary to secure rest, that sin must be addressed. Num. 28:9-10; Ex. 29:42-46; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:22; Showbread prefigures the oneness of Christ and the redeemed before the presence of God enjoying the state of rest; Ex. 25:30; Lev. 24:5-9; 1 Chr. 9:32; 23:29; 2 Chr. 13:10; Neh. 10:33; Jn. 6:35; Gal. 3:26-29; Heb. 9:2, 9
- Legal. Ex. 16:27-29; Ex. 31:14-15; Num. 15:32-36; Lev. 26:14-15, 33-35; Neh. 13:17; Jer. 17:21-22, 27; 34:13-17; Isa. 1:13-14; 24:5; Ezek. 20:12-13; 22:8; 23:38-39; 44:7 The punishment for Sabbath-breaking speaks of the spiritual end of those who disregard the call to salvation, Phil. 2:12; Heb. 3:12; 4:1; 10:31
Eighth-day calendar laws, a type of new beginning, beyond the seventh day of redemption
- Gen. 15:6; 17:10-14; Lev. 12:3; Deut. 30:5-6; Jer. 4:4; Jn. 7:21-24; Rom. 4:11; Gal. 3:14-16 – Circumcision of Abraham typological of superiority of promise, an eighth day ceremony that supersedes the seventh day Sabbath
- Lev. 23 – List of seven annual feasts preceded by Sabbath, the eighth member
- Lev. 23:29 – eighth day Sabbath of Feast of Tabernacles completes the annual calendar
- Lev. 14:7-10 – cleansing of leper involves eighth day of revitalization
- Gen. 49:3; Ex. 13:2, 14-15; 22:30; 34:19-20; Lev. 22:27; Num. 3:13; 18:15; Ps. 89:27; Zech. 12:10; Matt. 1:25; Lk. 2:22-23; Jn. 19:26-27; Rom. 8:28; Col. 1:8; Heb. 12:23; Firstborn laws with eighth day rituals prefigure the qualifications, birth order, divinity, and privileges of Christ, and our brotherhood with Him
- Lev. 23:6-11; Num. 15:20 – Feast of First Fruits, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and Jubilee are eighth-day celebrations, following the passage of seven days, seven weeks, and seven Sabbath years, respectively. NT interpretations associate Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the church with each of these. Lk. 4:16-21; Rom. 8:23; 11:16; 1 Cor. 15:20; Jas. 1:18; Rev. 14:4
- 1 Sam. 12-14; Ps. 89:27; Isa. 9:6-7; Rom:4:5-8; Rev. 3:7; 5:5; 22:16 – David, an eighth son, is called first-born as a type of Christ and gospel proclaimer
- Deut. 1:38; 3:28; 31:1, 3, 7, 14, 23; Josh. 1:13; 4:14; 23:1; 8:30-35; 11:15, 18-23; 14:15; 19:49; 21:43-45; 22:4; 23:1-2, 14-16; Jdg. 2:11-23 – God promises that Joshua, like Moses, will cause Israel to inherit the land, the land of rest; Joshua dies; Israel warned
- Heb. 4:8 – Joshua did not give Israel rest
Land of Canaan, a type of a place of rest
- Ex. 3:7-8 – God’s plan to take Israel from Egypt to Canaan
- Deut. 6:3 – Canaan likened to mandate given to Adam
- Deut. 9:6 – Canaan a gift to the unrighteous
- Deut. 12:9-10; 25:19 – Lord gives Canaan as rest
- Deut. 28:65 – Judgment for disobedience “you shall find no rest”
- Josh. 1:13, 15 – Lord giving Canaan as a rest
- Josh. 14:15 – Canaan rest after initial conquest
- Josh. 21:43-45; 22:4; 23:1 – Canaan rest as fulfilled promise
- Ps. 95:11 – Reviews wilderness delay entering rest of Canaan
- Mic. 2:10 – Dispossession of Canaan as judgment
- Heb. 3:18 – Canaan rest denied for want of Abrahamic faith
- Heb. 4:8 – Canaan rest never realized in spite of occupation
Boaz, tenth generation from Abraham, a type of kinsman redeemer who provides rest
- Ruth 1:1-2, 9 – Elimelech and sons die in Moab; wife Naomi and daughter-in-law Ruth return to Canaan (Judah) to find rest and the restoration of land, name, inheritance
- Ruth 2:1 – Boaz, the seventh character in the book, is a relative of Elimelech and of “great wealth”
- Ruth 3:18 – Ruth must “sit still” in order to let Boaz do the work of redemption
- Ruth 4:6 – first relative unwilling to risk inheritance for Naomi
- Ruth 4:10 – Boaz “perpetuates the name of the dead”
- Ruth 4:21-22 – Boaz is great-grandfather to David
- Lev. 25:23-25 – kinsman redeemer law
- Deut. 7:8; 2 Sam. 7:23 – the Lord is the true redeemer of the land
- Eph. 1:11 – in Jesus, we have obtained an inheritance
- Heb. 2:11 – Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brethren, whom He redeemed from death
Judges and Kings of Israel, types of the providers of rest
- Jdg. 3:11 – Caleb’s nephew and the first Judge of Israel, Othniel (meaning “lion of God” a powerful one), the only Judge from the family of Judah, ended eight years of servitude and provided 40 years of rest. Like Jesus, he was filled with the Spirit, a deliverer and judge of Israel, a provider of rest and prosperity for the people under his rule, and rewarded with a bride for his victory.
- Jdg. 3:30 – Ehud (meaning “united”), the second Judge of Israel, ended eighteen years of servitude to King Eglon and provided eighty years of rest, a two-fold escalation. Like Jesus, he was a deliverer of Israel because he single-handedly delivered the quietus to the enemy with a double-edged sword in an unexpected way, and then escaped the guarded chambers to lead his army in vanquishing 10,000 capable soldiers, letting not one of them to escape—a complete victory leading to rest.
- Jdg. 5:31 – Barak, the fourth Judge of Israel, with Deborah and Jael, delivered Israel from twenty years of oppression under King Jabin and his commander Sisera, and gave them forty years of rest. Jael, put Sisera to rest while he slept. Jdg. 4:15; 5:4; 1 Sam. 12:11; Heb. 11:32 Barak receives not all the glory, but is later praised, though it was the Lord who brought the victory and ensuing rest.
- 1 Sam. 8-10 – Saul, as first king, was rejected in favor of David, an eighth son; the first rejected to establish the second
- 2 Sam. 7:1 – Rest under King David; positively, one after God’s heart; negatively, not a murderer
- 1 Ki. 5:4; 8: 56; 1 Chr. 22:9 – Rest under King Solomon
- 2 Chr. 14:6; 15:15 – Rest under King Asa
- 2 Chr. 20:30 – Rest under King Jehosaphat
- Heb. 10:7 – Jesus, the everlasting King, comes to do God’s will
- 1 Pet. 2:23 – Unlike any other king, Christ did not revile in return
- Matt. 25:31ff; Jn. 5:22-30; 8:16; 9:39; Rom 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 10:29-30; Jude 14-15 – The Lord Jesus is the ultimate judge
- Matt. 2:2; 21:4-5; 25:34; 27:11; Mk. 15:2; Lk. 19:38; 23:3; Jn. 1:49; 12:13-15; Jn. 18:37; Acts 17:7; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:15; Heb 7:1ff [Jesus as antitype to King Melchizedek]; Rev. 15:3; 17:14; 19:16 – The Lord Jesus is the King of kings
The Temple, like the tabernacle, it is a type of rest by virtue of the enduring presence of God in the midst of His people during a period of rest. Figuratively, it is likened to a house, which is where Sabbath-keeping took place; and a sanctuary—or holy place—like Eden, where Adam and Eve enjoyed rest. Christ manifested all that the Temple meant in His person, therefore, He could claim to offer rest Himself without the need of a Temple. Christ’s prediction of the temple’s destruction shows that it could never provide rest and Paul’s teaching that temple laws no longer bound Jews shows the fulfillment of temple foreshadowings. David envisioned a permanent single location of rest, but God envisioned a more glorious rest only shadowed in David’s plan.
- 1 Chr. 29:1; 2 Chr. 7:12; 23:5, 36:17; 12; Ps: 78:68-69; 132:13-18; Isa. 2:2, 3; 56:7; 60:7; 64:11; Jn. 2:16; Matt. 21:13 – called a house of God, or of prayer; a sanctuary; a dwelling place or resting place
- 2 Sam. 7; 1 Chr. 18:8; 22:2ff; 28:2ff; 1 Ki. 5:3; 7:51 – David plans the temple
- 2 Sam. 7:12; 1 Ki. 5:1ff; 6:1-38; 7:13-21; 8:17-20; 24:18-25; 2 Chr. 3:1-14ff – Solomon constructs the temple; 1 Ki. 7:15-22; 8:10-21
- 2 Chr. 3:15-17; Ps. 79:1 – the twin pillars, Jachin and Boaz, meaning “He shall establish” and “In it is strength” were not enough to protect the holy place from defilement
- 1 Ki. 9:1-9; 2 Chr. 7:12-22 – A man-made temple could never be established forever and could not be strong enough to withstand the onslaught of enemies or the judgment of God
- 2 Ki. 11:1ff – Joash hidden in the temple for six years during Athaliah’s reign, and began his reign at age seven; David’s spears and shields kept in the temple used to protect the young King Joash at his ascension to the throne
- 2 Ki. 18:14-16 – Hezekiah takes gold from the temple to pay Sennacherib; 2 Ki. 21:3-7 – Manasseh desecrated the temple; Ezek. 8:7-18 wickedness in the temple after the death of Josiah; 2 Chr. 36:5-8; 2 Ki. 23:34-24:7 – Nebuchadnezzar pillages temple and enslaves Jehoiakim; 2 Ki. 25:1ff – final destruction of temple by Nebuchadnezzar during Zedekiah’s reign.
- Ezek. 40-43 – Hence, Ezekial’s prophecy of a restored Temple describes one constructed by God that cannot be desecrated or destroyed, Ezek 43:7, that could not be desecrated by Gentiles, Ps. 118:22; Ezek. 11:19; 36:26; 37:26ff; Isa. 28:16; 56:7-8; Jn. 4:21
- 2 Chr. 36:23; Ezr. 1:1-4ff; Neh. 12:44 – orders to rebuild the temple; God directed
- Matt. 21:12-13; Mk. 11:15-17; Jn. 2:13-17; 18-21 – Jesus shows godly concern for holiness of the temple area; Christ is a manifestation of the temple, to be destroyed and raised up again more gloriously (1st temple destruction followed by Ezekial’s eternal temple vision)
- Matt. 12:6; 23:38; Mk. 13:2; 14:58; Jn. 2:19-21; 4:20-24 – Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple
- 1 Cor. 3:15-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; Gal. 4:26; Eph. 2:11-22; 2 Thes. 2:4; 1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 3:12 – The unified body of believers is identified as a temple of God, corporately and individually, by virtue of their unity in Christ
- Acts 21:26-36; Eph. 2:14; – Temple laws no longer applicable to Christians
- Rev. 7:5; 11:1-2; 19; 21:22-23 – Heaven is a temple; God encompasses all temple ideals
Purim, a type of rest
- Esth. 9:16-32 – Origin of Feast of Purim as a rest from enemies; Dan. 9:26-27; Rom. 11:25-26; 2 Thes. 2:8 – this final type perhaps foreshadowing the rest worldly Jews may enjoy at Christ’s return and His dealing with the man of sin and world enemies who hate Israel
NOTE: Before you proceed further, you may consider outlining every possible verse yourself, reading them all in context several times, and then organizing them in a systematic way. This way, you will be doing original research. I assembled this outline using Young’s Analytical Concordance of the Bible and New Englishman’s Greek Concordance which are based on the KJV. Of course, if you find an error in detail, please let me know. And sorry for the delay in presenting this.
Evaluating the Strength of Arguments in the Sabbath/Lord’s Day Controversy, Part 2b: What are the Motives?
Bruce Ray (CS-Puritan) asks an interesting question of his readers: What two motives do many people have for opposing a day set apart for rest, worship, and celebration? His answer to this question is paired with the fact that there exists conflicting opinions about this matter.
“Those seeking profit and pleasure have often been impatient with the Lord’s command to rest, and have chafed under it. People who think the world exists for their own personal peace and affluence have never embraced God’s command to abstain from work and to rest as he did. The prophet Amos exposed the greed and dishonest business practices of merchants in his day, who only tolerated the Sabbath, but never enjoyed it. . . Many people see the Sabbath, or Lord’s Day, as an infringement of their personal liberty—a day that God has taken from them instead of a gift that he has given to them for rest, worship, and celebration.”
Ray surmises that the person is too busy with life “to give up one day in seven for God” and conflicts occur “when our will contradicts his (God’s).”
I do not know what kind of persons Ray is thinking of. It appears that those who seek a profit on the day that he believes should be given to rest, are the employer and employee who are working. If someone works on Sunday, is it always because they think the world exists for their pleasure and affluence? Does Ray allow exceptions for people to work or manage a business on Sunday, even though financial gain is obtained thereby? It is also difficult to know just what “pleasures” in life Ray has in mind that conflict with his concept of a 24-hour rest. His mention of Amos seems to implicate religious people who actually attend church, but has he uncovered multitudes of them who just can’t wait for church to be over so they can tend to their occupations and avocations?
Perhaps Ray is speaking of Christians within his own circle who have expressed disagreement about appropriate Sabbath activities, or who sit in church with eyes half shut, or those who don’t return for the evening service. Perhaps Ray is addressing those Christians who object to calling the Lord’s Day a “Christian Sabbath.” He does mention churches that offer abbreviated Saturday night services so church members can attend secular events that are scheduled on Sunday. And perhaps Ray is thinking of unbelievers who apportion no time for God and have no internal reason to attend church (but they probably won’t read his book either).
Regardless, this example of disparagement erects an “us versus them” mentality about Sunday/Sabbath behavior, and elevates those recommended behaviors as meritorious, obligatory, and/or conscionable. Those who comply with Ray’s concept of proper Sabbath-keeping apparently have the right attitude and motives, while others don’t. It does not appear that Ray has considered any other motives of those who “oppose” a day of rest.
Consider Paul’s motives when he confronted Peter about separating himself from Gentiles. Paul was interested in protecting the liberty of believers in Christ from bondage to Jewish cultural norms (Gal 2:4) and preserving the clarity and simplicity of the gospel (Gal 2:14). What some considered virtuous activities, i.e., circumcision or separation, Paul decried as anathema. Consider, too, Luther’s motives in posting his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg. He eventually recognized that climbing “Pilate’s staircase” on his knees or selling indulgences to remit sins of those in purgatory was valueless. For Luther, protecting the conscience and liberty of believers was tantamount to protecting the message of the gospel.
“What, then, are we to think of the Sunday and like rites in the house of God? To this we answer that it is lawful for bishops or pastors to make ordinances that things be done orderly in the Church, not that thereby we should merit grace or make satisfaction for sins, or that consciences be bound to judge them necessary services, and to think that it is a sin to break them without offense to others.”
Unless someone explains to you what motivates them to take or not take an action, we can only suppose. And in supposing, we can cast someone’s motivation in either a positive or negative light (1 Cor 13:7), hopefully taking account of the external and internal factors involved. Understanding motivation is certainly a topic for Christians to comprehend. We would like to think that our motives are always pure, but unfortunately we can deceive even ourselves (Jer 17:9). We can do the wrong thing with good intentions, and we can do the right thing with bad intentions. The matter is further complicated by the emotions and feelings people experience that subliminally influence or reinforce behavior. Let God’s word be the discerner of our motives, and may His Spirit help us understand ourselves better (Heb 4:12).
My suspicion is that whether you attend an LD, CS, or SS church, there is someone there who would rather be somewhere else; and there’s someone not there who could have or should have been there. That’s understandable. In a church that prioritizes attendance and exerts more control over church members, the above ratio leans to the first of these two groups. And in a church that emphasizes Christian liberty, the ratio leans to the second of these two groups. However, the majority of church-goers are favorably motivated to attend church services each week to worship the Lord, to give attention to God’s word, and to fellowship with like-minded believers. But are the motives of CS believers different than the motives of SS believers, simply because they worship on different days of the week? Does a LD believer attend church with a different motivation than a CS believer, even though they differ on how they spend their afternoon? Not really. But they have differing intellectual beliefs about the proper day for worship, the order of worship and style, the significance of it in their life, and how that is expressed in terms of their activities on that day. Most church-goers believe they are approaching this topic biblically; that is, they believe they are following God’s will. So, perhaps this is the ultimate question: What is God’s will on this matter? Again, this must be determined primarily by a thorough study of Scripture, motivated to pursue truth with intellectual honesty and the assistance of the Holy Spirit, while acknowledging the subtle, yet powerful, influence of our feelings, fears, and frustrations.
And what about those who do not attend church? Are they remaining home because they can’t decide what day of the week they should worship on or what activities they may or may not engage in? What importance do we place on the opinions of those who remain home while we attend church services? Whether those absent from the pews are believers or unbelievers, this does not affect the answers to any of the previous list of questions (Part 2a). Therefore, this is primarily an issue that must be determined by a thorough exegesis of Scripture. We shouldn’t be second-guessing other’s motivations (Pro 18:13; Rom 14:4; Jas 4:11-12) when it is really a theological matter. Furthermore, I hope our motivation is to properly understand the relationship of the Sabbath and Lord’s Day and to order our thinking and behavior accordingly.
 Chantry, Celebrating the Sabbath, p. 4.
 Chantry, Celebrating the Sabbath, p. 4, 5.
 This is an interesting side topic—a confounder—in the Sabbath/Lord’s Day controversy. I do not hold to the CS position, but I agree that churches should keep their official congregational meetings on Sunday. Ray does discuss labor and recreation elsewhere in the book…
 Augsburg Confession, Article 28.
Evaluating the Strength of Arguments in the Sabbath/Lord’s Day Controversy, Part 2a: What are the Questions?
Was the Sabbath replaced with the Lord’s Day? Was the Sabbath transferred to the Lord’s Day? Is the Lord’s Day the Sabbath or is the Sabbath the Lord’s Day? Are the Sabbath and Lord’s Day two separate institutions for two disparate groups? These and other questions plague those who attempt to answer the question about the relationship between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day. The number of possible questions is an indication of the complexity of this foundational enquiry. As such, it is not enough to simply restate your church’s official declaration on the matter. They may have landed on a particular answer, but you, as a noble Berean, must settle the matter for yourself after a thorough examination of the evidence. Whatever position you hold to, it must answer these questions with consistency, accuracy, rationality, and biblicity without self-contradiction.
Swartley noted that the Sabbath/Lord’s Day controversy is affected by the following considerations:[i]
- Whether Genesis 2:2-3 was written at the time of Moses or was known before through oral tradition.
- Whether the Sabbath was instituted at the time of Moses.
- Whether the creation Sabbath was given prior to the fall of Adam.
- Whether the Sabbath was moved from Saturday to Sunday following Christ’s resurrection.
- Whether Col 2:16, Gal 4:10, or Rom 14:5ff are critical texts and to what do they refer.
- Whether the practice of the church is more authoritative than the Scripture.
- Whether earlier church practices are more authoritative than later church practices.
- Whether the teachings of the church fathers contribute to a rational understanding of the topic.
- Whether the religious culture affects the interpreter.
- Whether the interpreter uses a method that frees Scripture from bias; i.e., the historical-critical method.
- How the interpreter understands the relationship between the two testaments.
- How to interpret opposing verses that on one hand seem to command Sabbath observance and others that do not.
- How to understand the teachings and practice of Jesus with respect to the Sabbath.
Swartley properly observes that interpreters diverge at least on these points. While the above list may seem nearly exhaustive, there are certainly many more that could be amassed.
The basic enquiry all positions attempt to answer has to do with the extent the fourth commandment informs the Christian’s day to gather for worship as the Lord commanded (Heb 10:24-25). It is not enough to simply read and take at face value the fourth commandment as presented in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:8-11 (and the OT in general) and order your whole life around that verse and whatever it happens to mean to you. This should not be a “make-it-up-as-you-go” doctrine.
If you believe that the Sabbath is a moral commandment, then you should observe the Sabbath on Saturday as the Jews have done for millennia, by resting from all work from Friday evening to Saturday evening, taking care to avoid starting fires, traveling from your home, ensuring no animal or household relation or guest works, and cooking your meals the day before; not to mention having a priesthood that sacrifices two lambs in the evening, presents a grain and drink offering, and bakes showbread for the holy of holies. Perhaps you should also petition for civil laws that prohibit commerce on Saturday and Sunday (not to offend those who worship on the wrong day) and enforce capital punishment for egregious breaches of this moral commandment. However, since NO Christian advocates this, it is obvious that NO Christian really believes that the Sabbath as described and defined by the OT is fully and totally a moral commandment that must be obeyed with the same fortitude as the other nine. Even the Jews are not fully compliant with Sabbath law because they do not offer the requisite sacrifices and offerings. Instead, each position interprets the fourth commandment and other related passages through the glasses of larger hermeneutical structures. Are we not all agreed on this so far?
Whether your position is LD, CS, or SS,[ii] there are certain biblical texts that all positions must deal with (all quotes in NKJV). Your sabbatology must take into account and give a proper interpretation of all of the texts of Scripture before a plausible systematic doctrine is presented. The following verses (with their context) are among the most important in the debate.
Ge 2:2-3 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
Ex 16:23 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.'”
Ex 20:8-11 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
Ex 31:14-17 You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.'”
Dt 5:12-15 ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
Lev 23:2-3 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. ‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.”
Nu 28:9-10 ‘And on the Sabbath day two lambs in their first year, without blemish, and two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour as a grain offering, mixed with oil, with its drink offering—this is the burnt offering for every Sabbath, besides the regular burnt offering with its drink offering.
Ne 9:13-14 “You came down also on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven, And gave them just ordinances and true laws, Good statutes and commandments. You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, And commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, By the hand of Moses Your servant.
Isa 58:13-14 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Hos 2:11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, Her feast days, Her New Moons, Her Sabbaths — All her appointed feasts.
Mt 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Mk 2:24-28 And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?” And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
Lk 13:14-16 But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.” The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound — think of it — for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”
Jn 5:10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
Ac 20:7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
Col 2:16-17 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
Heb 4:3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,'” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Heb 4:9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
Rv 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet…
Of course, there are more texts to consider, but these verses alone bring up an astonishing number of questions.
- Was the creation week comprised of seven actual days?
- What is the significance of God’s rest on the seventh day of creation, as opposed to the completion of each day’s work?
- Why did God “rest” on the seventh day when He had no need to do so? And why six days of work as opposed to five or eight or ten?
- How long did God’s rest last? Was it interrupted? Was His rest affected by Adam’s fall?
- When did Adam’s fall occur?
- What did God do on the eighth day that was different than what He did on the seventh day?
- Why is the Sabbath not actually mentioned in Genesis? Why didn’t Moses call that seventh day a Sabbath?
- What is the first mention of the Sabbath in the Bible? Is it plausible that this first mention of the Sabbath is when the Sabbath was first instituted?
- What is the significance of this as it relates to the giving of manna?
- Why is there a difference between the Exodic and Deuteronomic record of the fourth commandment? Is this a problem? How do you explain the difference?
- What is the relationship between the Sabbath and the seventh day of creation?
- What is the relationship between the Sabbath and Israel’s redemption from Egypt?
- Does the mention of the creation week in Exodus establish a “creation ordinance” or is there some other plausible explanation?
- What is the significance of the fourth commandment within the Decalogue?
- What is the significance of its position within the Decalogue?
- Is it really true that the Ten Commandments are all moral laws? How is that demonstrated?
- What is a moral law? What are the characteristics of moral law?
- How does the Sabbath stand up as a moral law?
- Is it possible that the Ten Commandments contain a ceremonial law? If so, why would the Lord place a ceremonial law within the Ten Commandments?
- Why were the priests required to work on the Sabbath?
- Why did the Lord require that two lambs be sacrificed on the Sabbath?
- Why did the Lord require that twelve loaves be cooked on the Sabbath?
- Why was circumcision allowed to take place on the Sabbath?
- Why did the Jewish Sabbath start on Friday evening instead of Saturday morning?
- Why did the Lord specifically outlaw kindling a fire on the Sabbath, as opposed to many other possible works?
- Why did the Lord require capital punishment for gathering sticks on the Sabbath?
- Why does Sabbath justice require the life of the profane person?
- Did the Sabbath require a congregational worship meeting? Where did it take place? Was that true for all of Israel’s history?
- Why were animals required to rest on the Sabbath?
- What is the significance of eighth-day ceremonies in the Law?
- Why did the Lord end the ceremonial calendar with an eighth-day Sabbath?
- What do the Sabbath, the Jewish calendar, the Temple, and Canaan have in common?
- On this theme, what do Noah, Joshua and David have in common?
- Why is the Sabbath included among the feasts of Israel, which are clearly ceremonial laws?
- Why is the Sabbath called a sign? Are any other moral laws called signs? What other ceremonial commands are called signs?
- What is/was the purpose of the ceremonial calendar laws?
- How can it be demonstrated that any calendar law was abrogated?
- Is it true that other nations observed the Sabbath? Can it be shown that other ANE societies observed a Sabbath?
- Is the Sabbath going to be observed in the millennium or the future kingdom?
- Are we going to observe the Sabbath in heaven? If so, how will it be observed? Will there be new rules?
- Did Jesus provoke Sabbath controversies to restore its proper observance or to say something about Himself? Or both?
- What was the significance of the Sabbath conflicts between the Pharisees and Jesus?
- Does Jesus’ example of Sabbath keeping imply a duty of Christians to keep the Sabbath? Can the same be said of His obedience to all other Mosaic laws?
- What is the significance of Christ being buried during the Sabbath and resurrected on the first day of the week?
- What bearing do the Pastoral Epistles have with regard to understanding the Sabbath or the Lord’s Day?
- What is a shadow-law and how are Christians to relate to them?
- May Jewish and Gentile Christians relate to them in different ways?
- What is the full range of legalism as presented in the NT? Is legalism only with respect to the theory that one can earn salvation by good works?
- What term best describes requiring circumcision, not for salvation, but as a matter of Christian obedience? Or penance? Or two services on Sunday?
- Did Paul teach that the church should observe the Sabbath? Did he allow certain Christians to observe the Sabbath? What were the guidelines and overriding principles with regard to Sabbath observance?
- Was Paul referring to the weekly Sabbath in his letter to the Colossians?
- What was the normative practice of the apostles?
- How do we best explain the references in Acts to Sabbath preaching and first-day meetings?
- How was the early church deceived on such a grand scale over what is believed to be a critical moral commandment?
- Does the book of Hebrews state we are supposed to observe the Sabbath?
- How do we tell whether an OT law is moral or ceremonial?
- Did the Sabbath get transferred to the first day of the week?
- What did John mean by the Lord’s Day? Is it Sunday, the Day of the Lord, or something else? Is there historical research that can shed light on this?
Even this list of questions could be dwarfed as other passages and verses are added to the discussion. And when it comes to actually applying the Sabbath on Sunday or Saturday, the following questions also come into the fray.
- If the Sabbath was made for pre-fall Adam and his posterity, just what would mankind be resting from?
- Similarly, do angels rest from their God-ordained labors?
- If the Sabbath was instituted at creation, how is the Lord’s creation work different than His maintenance work, and how is man’s work apparently more similar to God’s creation work?
- Where can it be shown that the Sabbath was moved or transferred to Sunday?
- If the Sabbath is a moral command, how can the Sabbath be moved to the first day of the week?
- On what basis are any OT laws considered abrogated?
- How does one determine whether a Mosaic law is moral or ceremonial, or otherwise?
- Define the relationship between the OT and NT in terms of their differences and similarities?
- Is it helpful to understand the Law as comprised of moral, judicial (civil), and ceremonial laws? Is there a better understanding?
- To what extent is the Sabbath to be applied to Christians? Or to non-Christians?
- Is there a danger in prescribing certain behaviors that perhaps are not truly desired by God?
- Is there a danger in underestimating the importance of gathering with believers on a day that God has set apart?
- Are the Sabbath and Lord’s Day different in any way? If there is a difference, why?
- What is the origin of the term “Christian Sabbath” and how is it to be understood?
- What if it could be demonstrated that each facet of Sabbath law foreshadowed Christ’s redemptive work?
- What did the early church teach about the Lord’s Day and the Sabbath? Can the changing views of this relationship be rationally understood in terms of the historical milieu? Or better as an early apostasy from the true religion?
- Is there any significance to the “first day of the week” that connects the OT and NT?
- Explain the authority of the apostles?
- Where did the paradigm for the Christian assembly come from?
- How closely did synagogal Sabbath meetings conform to Mosaic Sabbath laws?
- Is the Lord’s Day a holy day, similar to Mosaic holy days, or is it different? If different, how so?
- Is there a difference between the NT and OT concerning holy things?
- How can a Christian tell if he is being urged to obey a man-made law?
- When did the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day get confused with each other?
- Why do Sabbatarians differ about what can and cannot be done on the Christian Sabbath?
- May we buy on Monday what was labored over on Sunday?
- Must machines or other objects be given a seventh-day rest?
- How far can we drive on the Sabbath, if we can drive at all?
- Why don’t Sabbatarians advocate capital punishment for breaking the Sabbath?
- How can it be demonstrated with clarity that capital punishment is abrogated by the NT?
- Why do Sabbatarians allow cooking on the Christian Sabbath?
- How can it be demonstrated that some elements of OT sabbatic laws are abrogated while other elements are not?
- Define the term “Sabbath principle.”
- Was the Puritan’s effort to obey the Sabbath legalistic? If so, in what way(s)?
- Why do Sabbatarians and non-Sabbatarians quote Calvin as their authority?
- What did Calvin actually teach about the Sabbath and was he correct?
- Is the correct spiritual meaning of rest that we are to rest from our sins?
- When did seventh-day Sabbatarianism develop and why?
- If the Sabbath command morally directs a pattern of six days work and one day rest, what authority do Christians have to take a vacation?
- If it is a sin to work on the Sabbath, is it also a sin to rest on a work day?
- May Christians rest more than one day per week if they complete all their work in the space of five days or less?
- How true to God’s word are the Reformed standards with regard to their exposition of the fourth commandment?
- Are Christians being offended by man-made laws in the name of Sabbatarianism? If so, what are the implications of this for the church?
- Are non-Sabbatarian Christians sinning when they allow what a Sabbatarian denies?
- Is recreation sinful on the Sabbath? Are there light, medium, and heavy recreations? Where does one draw the line for appropriate Sabbath behavior?
- Do Christians have as much difficulty understanding and agreeing on the meaning and application of the other nine moral commandments? If not, why?
- How did the apostles decide on first-day worship? Was first-day worship an empirical decision or a divine command?
- Are two services required on the Lord’s Day? If so, on what Scriptural basis?
- What is Christian worship most like: the OT Sabbath or the tradition of the synagogue?
- May Christians really worship in corporate fashion on any day of the week?
- Is it proper to observe the Lord’s Supper on Saturday night? How often should the Lord’s Supper be observed?
- Is the Passover meal a sufficient basis for determining whether children may partake in communion?
- Is the Lord’s Supper a “Christian Passover”? If so, what specific Paschal laws are still obeyed by Christians?
- Can the institution of the Lord’s Day stand apart from the historical Sabbath?
- What is the Christian’s relationship to circumcision? Is it literally obeyed or spiritually applied? Is it partially applied? Is there a moral component to it that still informs Christian morality?
- Is the Sabbath a command given to Israel, a command for the whole world, or a tradition derived from earlier ANE cultures?
- Do we view the Genesis record of creation as an historical account?
- Is it possible that there is symbolism or typology within actual history?
- Is God in control of history?
- If ceremonial laws are “extensions of moral law”, then how can a ceremonial be abrogated?
- What is your view of typology?
- Are there any rules to making typological associations?
- On what basis does the LD camp justify weekly church attendance if not on the Sabbath? Does Hebrews 10:24-25 form a sufficient basis for encouraging regular attendance at church?
- How long did the church exist before some theologian suggested a moral impetus for church attendance with the Sabbath commandment?
- How did the church come to abandon the Sabbath and to elevate in its place Sunday as the day of rest and worship?
- Can the change from the Sabbath to Sunday be justified on really valid grounds?
- Was the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Sunday a sufficient reason for abandoning the Sabbath and replacing it by Sunday as the day of rest and worship?
I am not the only one asking questions. Ratzlaff (LD-Evangelical) begins his book with these questions:[iii]
- Why not do a thorough study of the Sabbath?
- Why not keep the fourth commandment?
- Is the Sabbath moral or ceremonial?
- How should one observe the Sabbath?
- How did Jesus relate to the Mosaic Laws?
- Does Sabbath unity bring Christian unity?
- Does the Sabbath promote gospel clarity?
- How is a study of the Sabbath to be approached
The last question in particular is what this series hopes to answer by providing a framework for negotiating though the myriad voices competing for your countenance. As mentioned in Part 1b, Ray’s (CS-Puritan) Celebrating the Sabbath is a study book replete with questions, too numerous to repeat here. However, these are a representative offering:
- Why do friendly discussions of the fourth commandment often become heated?
- How do misinformation and a lack of information about the Sabbath fuel controversy within many churches and families?
- What is legalism and what is lawlessness?
- How does Jesus’ resurrection from the dead advance and improve our understanding of the Sabbath?
- How is the Sabbath a picture of redemption in the Old Testament?
- What categories of activities are appropriate to do on the Sabbath?
- Does the fourth command require New Covenant believers to keep the Sabbath in the same way as believers who live under the Old Covenant? Why or why not?
- What is recreation? Can any kind of recreation be appropriate to the Sabbath? Why or why not?
Everyone has their reasons for making their application of Sabbath law more or less stringent than what the OT texts obviously say. Begin answering the above questions and then you will begin your path toward understanding the relationship between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day. Please endeavor to be consistent in your treatment of OT law and intellectually honest with your hermeneutics. It is not as simple as it may seem. Regardless, keep those questions coming.
[i] Swartly, Slavery, Sabbath, War, and Women, p. 65-95.
[ii] For sake of brevity, the following abbreviations stand for the three main views: Lord’s Day (LD), Christian Sabbath (CS), and Saturday Sabbath (SS).
[iii] Ratzlaff, Sabbath in Christ, p. 16-18.
Evaluating the Strength of Arguments in the Sabbath/Lord’s Day Controversy, Part 1b: What are the Positions?
With a wider view of the history of the controversy and the various expressions of belief, it is time to examine how each position develops its case. There are similarities among the three major positions and, of course, differences. Below, the three major positions will be briefly evaluated. While it is helpful to understand the basic positions as presented here, it becomes even more important to understand the terminology that allows discourse, the method each position uses to state their case, the relevance of cited materials, and finally, the rules of interpretation. These latter considerations will be discussed in following parts of this series.
A Concise Summary of Positions.
The Lord’s Day (LD) position posits that the Sabbath is a ceremonial law that was fulfilled like other typological laws of the OT that pointed to Christ and His work of redemption. The Lord’s Day on Sunday memorializes the resurrection with an assembly of believers, but is different in character than the Sabbath.
The Christian Sabbath (CS) position holds that the Sabbath as presented in the Ten Commandments has a moral component to it that is still applicable today—but on Sunday, the day of Christ’s resurrection. The Sabbath is enjoined upon all humanity as a testimony of God’s creation and as a benefit to the social structures of life.
The Saturday Sabbath (SS) position asserts that the fourth commandment is a moral law of universal importance and that it is properly observed on Saturday, the same day which Jesus and the apostles observed. Sunday worship is an aberration from apostolic practice, or worse, a sign of apostasy from the true religion.
The CS position has in common with the LD position an appreciation for the fulfillment of ceremonial laws and validates the historical precedent of first-day worship of the church. The CS position has in common with the SS position an appreciation for the enduring morality of the fourth commandment and validates the application of sabbatic laws to the church and society at large. However, the divergence between the LD and SS positions is so obtuse as to make dialogue strained and wanting for a starting place of agreement. One might be tempted to think that the middle position is the correct position because it attempts to take a conciliatory place between the extremes, but it is not the relationship of a position to the contrary positions that legitimizes that view—each view must be evaluated by the soundness and merit of its own argument. It is my opinion that the CS view is the most difficult position to defend because it holds in tension the contradictory propositions of the LD and SS views.
Within the LD camp, there are two major interpretive methodologies: the Dispensational approach and the Reformed approach. The CS camp is divided by two application methodologies: the Puritanical approach and the Modern or “Continental” approach. And the SS camp two authoritative methodologies at its disposal: the Historical approach and the Prophetic approach. This informs us that at the heart of understanding the truth of Scripture, we must also deal with matters of authority, interpretive methodologies, and finally a rationale for deciding the applicability of Scripture. Each of the positions works within their own framework of understanding regarding these three matters. And while the chart below provides a general relationship of specific church denominations to these six positions, it is not unusual to find exceptions. Furthermore, some denominations simply do not have clearly defined position statements on this question.
|LD||Dispensational||Bible, Historical Records||Historical-critical; Dispensational||Not applicable||Evangelical Free
|Reformed||Bible, Historical Records||Historical-critical; Covenantal||Not applicable||Eastern Orthodox
|CS||Puritanical||Bible, Historical Records||Historical-critical; Ecclesiastic||Strict||Presbyterian
Christian Reformed Church
|Continental||Bible, Historical Records||Historical-critical; Ecclesiastic||Less Strict||Roman Catholic
Presbyterian Church of America
|SS||Adventist||Bible, Historical Records, Prophet||Ecclesiastic authority||Strict||Seventh Day Baptist
Churches of God
|Messianic||Bible, Historical Records, Leader||Pastoral authority||Strict||Assemblies of Yawweh|
To make the LD case, proponents emphasize ceremonial commandments and typology, the meaning of Law, and the differences between OT and NT law. They hope to demonstrate how the Sabbath is best understood as a ceremonial law and how Christ is the fulfillment of the Sabbath. If the Sabbath is a ceremonial law, then it does not form a basis for the weekly assembly of believers. That behavior must be based on different premises.
To advance the CS case, proponents emphasize the nature and function of the Ten Commandments as a moral force and the association of the Sabbath with God’s rest on the seventh day. They hope to demonstrate how the Sabbath is of universal authority, yet on a different day of the week. If the Sabbath is of such moral importance, then proper applications must be defined and urged upon those under church authority, and perhaps society in general.
To develop the SS case, advocates emphasize the immutability of moral law, the history of Saturday Sabbath-keeping, and the apostasy of the early church from a critical doctrine. They hope to demonstrate the importance of the proper day for Sabbath-keeping and the authority of their leader(s). Application of Sabbath law is determined by the leadership.
There is perhaps a little overlap among the three major positions because they all agree that Christians should gather together on a weekly basis to worship the Lord who redeemed them, though the LD group hosts those who take a more relaxed view of this. Secondly, each position esteems the Bible as the source and justifier of their knowledge and practice; however, the SS group hosts those who may question the exclusive authority of the Bible. Thirdly, all positions believe in the existence of moral law and the abrogation of ceremonial law, but they differ, obviously, on how to classify the Sabbath. This is why it is crucial to develop a system for understanding how an OT law is classified as ceremonial.
Overview of Notable Books.
Given these general descriptions, one might think that each position begins with a point on which the divergent groups agree, but that is rarely the case. As is to be expected, each author expresses his thoughts in some form with an underlying motivation and an established trajectory for the purposes of persuasion.
Rordorf’s (LD) Sunday examines the history of the week, the Sabbath, and Sunday as presented not only in Scripture, but in the writings of the apostolic and patristic fathers and other early church documents, in order to answer the question how Sunday came to be the chief day of Christian worship. He presents his ratiocinations with care and caution, with no villain or cacodoxy in mind, but the subtle effects of industrialization and technologia on the Christian consensus and tradition. His one mention of the Seventh-day Adventists merely enforces his view that there is a lack of clarity about the relationship of the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Lord’s Day. Carson’s (LD-Reformed) anthology From Sabbath to Lord’s Day mentions Rordorf’s 1962 work as a precipitating factor for countless books and articles that followed. However, this topic was hotly debated four hundred years earlier between the LD and CS positions, and for the past one hundred years since the establishment of the SS position within Adventism. Indeed, Carson mentions Bacchiocchi (SS) whose book “stirred up most interest” in contemporary times with his theories about the demise of Sabbath-keeping within the early Christian community and his particular interpretations of critical passages of Scripture. Bacchiocchi is often criticized for unconvincing interpretations and false reasoning, but acknowledged when his views are corroborated by the author. This is perhaps the most scholarly effort to date on the topic, and very little criticism is directed at the CS or SS positions. Lincoln’s summary chapter evaluates the idea of transferring Sabbath principles to Sunday (the CS position) and finds it inconsistent. Next, Ratzlaff (LD-Dispensational) writes from the perspective of one who separated from Adventism because his research pointed him to a differing understanding of the Sabbath in Christianity. Sabbath in Christ loosely follows the flow of biblical history to present his systematic understanding of the LD position and ends with four chapters on a personal level. Critical of the evangelistic methods of the SDA church, Ratzlaff exposes how the Sabbath is used to manipulate people to join their church.
The CS position is well-supported by a host of articles, booklets, and books defending, investigating, and promoting this view. The Puritans were often ‘credited’ with innovating the sort of fierce Sabbath-keeping that was eventually ridiculed by modern Protestants. Dennison’s The Market Day for the Soul, Parker’s The English Sabbath, and Primus’ Holy Time explore the development of the Puritanical view of Sunday observance as influenced by the ongoing morality of the Sabbath. These are first-rate scholarly works produced in the 1980s.
For the church-goer, four additional books present the case for enjoying the Lord’s Day with a mind to the sabbatic structure of time. Chantry’s one hundred page book, Call the Sabbath a Delight, encourages readers to embrace a loftier view of the Sabbath and then moves on to explain how the Sabbath was moved to Sunday and guidelines for proper Sabbath conduct. Pipa’s The Lord’s Day advances the Christian Sabbath concept by reflecting on the benefits of Sabbath-keeping. He also explains how the Sabbath was moved to Sunday and how to prepare for and properly conduct oneself on Sunday. Ray composed his book, Celebrating the Sabbath, for study groups, and each of the eight chapters ends with plenty of review and introspective questions. Finally, On the First Day of the Week, by Campbell, presents a more thorough biblical study of the Sabbath/Lord’s Day connection as he moves from Genesis to the apostles, then from the Puritans to modern times.
These books bemoan a declining view of Sunday as Sabbath, increased business on Sunday, and the LD view that the Sabbath is an abolished ceremonial command. One would think that the CS camp is happy that a large contingent of Bible-believers continue to meet on Sunday as they do. But Chantry opens with a complaint against both pagans and evangelicals. “As you are on your way to Sunday School and public worship, you will have noticed that the highways are already filling with cars and trucks. However, you know that most of these do not have a church for their destination.” “You know that on your way home you will see church-goers lined up at the gas pumps and flocking to the restaurants.” If Chantry were a real Sabbath-keeper, he would not be driving his car on Sunday, but he allows that exception for himself while decrying the exceptions that others allow themselves.
The CS camp assumes that if someone believes that the Sabbath is fulfilled, then it must mean that they do not faithfully attend church. The reason for this is that the CS camp bases its church attendance on the fourth commandment; therefore, if the LD camp thinks the fourth commandment is abrogated, then they must believe church attendance is not obligatory. To prove their case, CS advocates then state that LD individuals opt out of church in favor of other activities, as does Chantry. But the truth is that there are plenty of former CS believers who no longer go to church or who veered into liberalism. Their “high view” of the Sabbath has not been a preserving force against worldliness. Furthermore, if the LD ecclesiology endorsed a laizze faire approach to church attendance, then their congregations are not getting the message, because attendance at LD churches surpasses that of CS churches. The question that CS advocates need to ask is: On what basis does the LD camp justify weekly church attendance if not on the Sabbath? Does Hebrews 10:24-25 form a sufficient basis for encouraging regular attendance at church? How long did the church exist before some theologian suggested a moral impetus for church attendance with the Sabbath commandment?
For the Saturday Sabbath position, Bacchiocchi (SS-Adventist) authored several books about the Sabbath, beginning with From Sabbath to Sunday. While remaining staunchly a Saturday Sabbatarian, his research countered the historic position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in two critical areas. First of all, he proposed that anti-Semitism was at the root of Sunday worship instead of the Constantine and Roman Catholic Church connection. Secondly, he admits that Colossians 2:16 is a reference to the weekly Sabbath rather than a festival Sabbath.
Adventist literature strains the communication bridge by implicating both LD and CS positions as apostates and Jew haters. The LD position, Bacchiocchi states, comes “from the ‘Christian’ theology of contempt for Jews and their religion” Besides this, anyone who teaches the ceremoniality of the Sabbath is accused of “attacking the Sabbath.” This accusation would never be said of someone who teaches the ceremoniality of daily sacrifices or circumcision. It is not “attacking” circumcision to state that it was abrogated. This heightened rhetoric exposes the personal attachment the author has with this particular doctrine. On the other hand, Bacchiocchi is often approving of any Sunday Sabbatarian practice as a “resdiscovery” of the Sabbath, but alas, that is Sunday-keeping, not Sabbath-keeping. And to his credit, Bacchiocchi also made efforts to reach out to other institutions to find common ground. Another Adventist book, In Granite or Ingrained?, by MacCarty, is a more recent contribution that proposes that the Decalogue is written on believer’s hearts obliging them to keep Sabbath on Saturday.
For example, each position agrees that there are such things as ceremonial laws. The CS group asks the LD group, “If you state that the Ten Commandments represent God’s moral law, why don’t you observe the Sabbath?” The SS group properly asks the CS group, “If you believe that the Sabbath is a moral commandment, then how can the Sabbath be moved to Sunday?” The LD group properly asks the CS and SS groups, “If you believe that the Passover is fulfilled and no longer obligatory, why not the Sabbath?” These and other questions are a good starting place to probe into someone’s understanding of the relationship between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day.
For those who are interested in the topic, besides studying the Bible, it is wise to read the works of contrary positions. Listed above are a few representative books. Does the quoted text actually mean what the author says it means? Is there a logical connection from one point to another? Did the author make too much of something or are they ignoring critical information? In the end, is the author faithfully representing the scope of biblical and extra-biblical data and is the author presenting a cohesive and rational understanding of that information?
Finally, there are two books that present multiple viewpoints for further study. Perspectives on the Sabbath: 4 Views, presents the SS, CS, LD-Lutheran, and LD-Reformed positions, each chapter followed by a single critic. The Sabbath in Jewish and Christian Traditions boasts additional contributions of Jewish and Catholic persuasions, and what I label CS-Optional, again with responses of other contributors.
 These summary descriptions concur with the brief summaries of Bacchiocchi (SS-Adventist), The Sabbath Under Crossfire, p. 262-263; Sproul (CS-Continental), “Defining the Debate,” Tabletalk, June 1, 2011; Ratzlaff (LD-Dispensational), Sabbath in Christ, p. 13-15; Swartley (CS-Heritage), Slavery, Sabbath, War & Women, p. 65-66;
 This statement suffers due to anachronism. Because the SS position did not fully develop until the nineteenth century, it cannot be said that the CS position developed as a response to the other two positions; i.e., to position itself between two extreme views.
 The historical approach is based on direct historical research and the prophetic approach is based on personally received revelation by a church leader, i.e., Ellen White. Interestingly, MacCarty’s contribution to the book, The Sabbath in Jewish and Christian Traditions, does not cite her as an authority. Bacchiocchi quotes White only once in The Sabbath Under Crossfire.
 Carson, From Sabbath to Lord’s Day, p. 15.
 De Lacey, “The Sabbath/Sunday Question and the Law in the Pauline Corpus,” p. 173, 182, 185.
 Lincoln, “From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical and Theological Perspective,” p. 390-398.
 Ratzlaff, Sabbath in Christ, (2003), p. 381-385.
 Chantry, Call the Sabbath a Delight, p. 8, 9.
 Bacchiocchi, The Sabbath Under Crossfire, p. 261.
 Ibid. p. 12, 59.
 Ibid. p. 263-269.