Since Paul declares "Let no one judge you regarding the Bible Sabbath," isn't Sabbath-keeping unnecessary (Col. 2:16, 17)?
This passage, Col. 2:16, 17 is one of the most misunderstood passages in the Bible. One principle of Bible interpretation is that you do not allow what may be somewhat unclear to keep you from doing what you understand. The Bible is plain on the Sabbath. It was given at creation (Gen. 2:1-3). Jesus observed it (Lk. 4:16). Paul observed it (Acts 13:42-44), and it will be observed in heaven (Isa. 66:22, 23).
The Bible mentions two kinds of Sabbaths. The seventh-day Sabbath and the yearly Sabbaths. The seventh-day Sabbath, instituted at creation and part of the Ten Commandment law, is a weekly reminder of the loving, all-powerful Creator. The yearly Sabbath relates specifically to the history of Israel. Col. 2:16, 17 specifically states "Let no one judge you regarding sabbath days which are a shadow of things to come." The seventh-day Sabbath is a memorial of creation not a shadow of something to come.
Heb. 10:1 connects the law of shadows with animal sacrifice. Ezek. 45:17 uses the exact same expressions in the exact same order as Col. 2:16, 17 and connects it all with the ceremonial systems of feasts and sacrifices (meat offerings, drink offerings, feasts, new moons, and sabbaths to make reconciliation for the house of Israel. Lev. 23:3 discusses the Seventh-day Sabbath. Lev.23:5-32 discusses the ceremonial Sabbaths (Passover, verse 5; unleavened bread, verse 6; wave sheaf, verse 10; first fruits, verse 17; trumpets, verse 24; Day of atonement, verses 27-32; tabernacles, verses 34-36). Both the feast of trumpets (verse 24), and the Day of Atonement (verse 32) are specifically called sabbaths. These annual Sabbaths were intimately connected to events foreshadowing Christ’s death and his Second Coming.
They were designed by God to be shadows or pointers to the coming Messiah. Lev 23:37 uses the language of Col. 2:16, 17 to describe these ceremonial sabbaths. Lev. 23:38 distinguishes the ceremonial sabbaths from the seventh-day sabbaths by using the expression the expression "Beside the sabbaths of the Lord." Since Christ has come, the shadowy Sabbaths of the ceremonial law have found their fulfillment in Him. The seventh-day Sabbath continues to lead us back to the Creator God who made us. God's people will keep it as a distinguishing sign of their relationship to Him (Rev. 14:12, Ezek. 20:12, 20).
What about Rom. 14:5? "One man esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." Really, what difference does a day make?
Sometimes it's helpful to carefully notice what a Bible text does not say as well as what it does say. Verses 5 and 6 say nothing about either worship or the Sabbath. They simply talk about regarding a day.To say this particular day is the Sabbath is an unwarranted assumption. Rom. 14:1 sets the tone for the entire passage indicating that the discussion focuses on "doubtful disputations" or disputes on doubtful matters.
Is the seventh-day Sabbath set apart by God at creation (Gen. 2:1-3) placed within the heart of the moral law (Ex. 20:8-11) a doubtful matter? Certainly not!The key to our passage is found in verse 6 which states, "He that regards the day regards it unto the Lord, and he that regardeth not the day regards it not to the Lord. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord for He giveth God thanks, and he that eateth not to the Lord, he eateth not for he giveth God thanks."
The issue revolved around fast days not Sabbath days. Some Jewish Christians believed there was particular merit in fasting on certain days. They judged others by their own standards. The Pharisees fasted at least twice a week and boasted about it (Lk. 18:12). In Rom. 14, Paul is pointing out that to fast or not to fast on a certain day is a matter of individual conscience, not a matter of God's command.
Didn't the disciples meet on the first day of the week? Acts 20:7
The reason this meeting is mentioned in the narrative is because Paul was leaving the next day and worked a mighty miracle in raising Eutychus from the dead. It is clear that the meeting is a night meeting. It is the dark part of the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). In Bible times, the dark part of the day preceded the light part (Gen. 1:5).
The Sabbath was observed from Friday night at sunset to Saturday night at sunset. (Lev. 23:32, Mk. 1:32). If this meeting is on the dark part of the first day of the week, it is in fact a Saturday night meeting. Paul has met with the believers all Sabbath. He will depart the next day, Sunday, so the meeting continues late into Saturday night. The next day, Sunday, Paul travels by foot to Assos, then sailed to Mitylene.
The New English Bible reading of Acts 20:7 also confirms this as a Saturday night meeting, with Paul traveling on Sunday. If Paul considered Sunday sacred in honor of the resurrection, why would he spend the entire day traveling and not worshipping? The record indicates that Paul was a Sabbath keeper (see Acts 13:42-44; 17:2; 16:12, 13; 18:4).
Can we really tell which day the Seventh-day is?
There are at least four ways which we can tell for certain that Saturday is the Seventh-day:
- The Bible clearly reveals that Jesus was crucified on the preparation day (Lk. 23:54). His closest followers rested as commanded the Sabbath day (Lk. 24:55, 56) and Jesus rose for the dead the first day (Lk. 24:1, Mk. 16:9). Most Christians recognize Jesus died on Friday the preparation day, He rested the next day and rose the first day Sunday. The Sabbath is the day between Friday and Sunday or the seventh-day Saturday.
- Language: In over 140 languages in the world, the word for the Seventh-day whichwe call Saturday is the word "Sabbath." Language testifies to the Sabbath's preservationthrough the centuries.
- Astronomy: The leading astronomers in the world testify to the fact that the weekly cycle has never changed. Centers like the Royal Naval Observatory in the U.S. and TheRoyal Greenwich Observatory in England affirm the fact of a constant weekly cycle.
- History: The Jewish people have kept an accurate record of the Sabbath through thecenturies. For over 4,000 years, they have preserved the true Sabbath on Saturday.
I keep Sunday in honor of the resurrection. What's wrong with that? Didn't Jesus rise from the dead on Sunday?
Yes, Jesus certainly rose on Sunday! But He never commanded us to worship in honor of the resurrection. Just as the communion service symbolizes His death (I Cor. 11:24,26) baptism symbolizes His resurrection (Rom. 6:1-6). The symbol of Jesus’ resurrection is not worship on the day of the sun adopted into Christianity from pagan Rome's sun worship, but a beautiful ceremony of baptism as a symbol of a new life transformed by the wonder working power of the Holy Spirit. In the watery grave of baptism, the old person symbolically dies and is buried while a new life is resurrected with Christ.
Isn't one day in seven good enough? Why do you put so much emphasis on the Sabbath?
The issue is more than a matter of days. It is a matter of masters. Through a master stroke of deception, Satan has worked through apostate religion to change God's law (Dan. 7:25). He has cast the truth to the ground (Dan. 8:12). He has made a break in God's wall of truth. God calls us to repair the breach by keeping His Sabbath (Isa. 58:12, 13). We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
To worship on the seventh day is to accept the authority of our creator Lord, who commanded the day be kept (Ex. 20:8-11). To knowingly accept a counterfeit day of worship is to accept an institution initiated and established solely by man in the apostasy.
The real question is, then, whose servants are we--God's or man's? (Rom. 6:16). All the celebrations the day before or the day after my birthday do not make these days my birthday. The world's birthday is the Bible Sabbath, the seventh day. It is a memorial to our loving Creator. No other day will do.