Why Do You Keep the Sabbath?
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.
Often we are asked the question: Why Do You Keep the Sabbath? This question is often asked because people want to know why we don’t celebrate Sunday or they are just curious about its practice.
Short Answer: I keep the Sabbath because I am made in the image of God and my Savior Jesus, who is the image of God, also kept the Sabbath. The Earliest Christians also obeyed the Sabbath for hundreds of years; it was made for all mankind (Mark 2:27-28).
Think it Through: Some people ask this question because they want to catch you in a trap of saying something such as, “well, my parents do it” or “my pastor said to.” We really need to know the reasons why we keep the Sabbath.
Longer Answer: There are multiple reasons we keep the Sabbath. We will review ten of them below.
Reason #1: We are made in the image of God. In Genesis 1:27, we learn: “So God created man in his own image in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” All humans were made in the image of God. In other words, God left an imprint of Himself in us. This important truth has an interesting relationship to the Sabbath. After God made mankind, He rested on the Sabbath. This makes humans inseparably connected to this special day.
“2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Gen. 2:2-3, KJV).
Since we are made in His image, every human is made with the innate need to rest on the seventh day.
Reason #2: Jesus Christ kept the Sabbath. The gospel accounts of Christ’s life make it very obvious that Jesus also kept the Sabbath. In Luke 4:16 we read, “…as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.”
Reason #3: Jesus said that He was Lord of the Sabbath. This is the only day of the week that He declared Himself Lord over. In Mark 2:28, He said: “Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”
Reason #4: The human body was designed for rest. Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man. Mark 2:27: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” God rested on the seventh was refreshed. Since we are made in His image and are infinitely more fragile than Him, it shows just that much more that we were designed for the Sabbath rest. It contributes to our physical, mental, and emotional health (Ex. 20:8-11, Ex. 23:12; 34:21).
Reason #5: The earliest disciples kept the Sabbath even after the resurrection. In our other article “Did the Resurrection Change the Sabbath?” (click here to read), we reviewed specific examples of Paul and other disciples continuing to observe the Sabbath after the resurrection.
Reason #6: Paul said to let no one judge us for keeping the Sabbath (Colossians 2:15-17 – click here to read an article on this subject).
Reason #7: The writer of Hebrews said that the Sabbath rest remained. “9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:9-10, NIV).
Reason #8: Most Christians continued to observe the Sabbath for hundreds of years after Christ. In our article Sabbath Keeping in the 300s and 400s AD (click here to read), we review the primary sources on this subject. This totally refutes the idea that the early church instantly ‘flipped’ to Sunday.
Reason #9: The Sabbath has prophetic implications. When speaking about the days before His return (Matthew 24:1-3), Jesus said, “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day” (Matthew 24:20). This shows that Jesus intended for the Sabbath to be observed even when He returns.
Reason #10: In Isaiah 56:1-7 and 58:13-14 God promised special blessings to all humans who keep the Sabbath whether they were Jew or Gentile. He connects keeping the Sabbath with being bound in covenant with Him.
Kelly McDonald, Jr.
BSA President – www.biblesabbath.org