Was the Sabbath only for the Jews?
This falsehood has gained such strength that multitudes of Christians refer to it as the “Jewish Sabbath.” But nowhere do we find such an expression in the Bible. It is called “the Sabbath of the Lord,” (Exodus 20:10) but never “the Sabbath of the Jews.” Luke was a Gentile writer of the New Testament and often made reference to things which were peculiarly Jewish. He spoke of the “nation of the Jews,” “the people of the Jews,” “the land of the Jews,” and the “synagogue of the Jews.” Acts 10:22, 12:11, 10:39 and 14:1. But please take note that Luke never referred to the “Sabbath of the Jews” or the “Jewish Sabbath” and we do find that he mentioned the Sabbath repeatedly.
Christ unmistakably taught that “the Sabbath was made for man.” Mark 2:27. It does not say the Sabbath was made for Jews. Some say since it was made for man we can choose not to keep it. The fact is that all the Commandments were made for man. So does this mean we can choose to ignore all of them? Of course not! Man was made on the sixth day and the only reason that we have a seventh day is because God added it for a Sabbath rest for man. It was made for man at creation so what has changed? Nothing! The Pharisees thought the Sabbath was made just for them so Jesus was correcting them and said the Sabbath was made to be a blessing for ALL man and not a day of legalistic rules that they had turned it into. Picking corn on the Sabbath for a meal was a necessity and not unlawful.
The fact is that Adam was the only man in existence at the time God made the Sabbath. There were no Jews in the world for at least 2,000 years after creation. It could never have been made for them. Jesus used the term “man” in the generic sense, referring to mankind. The same word is used in connection with the institution of marriage which was also introduced at creation. Woman was made for man just as the Sabbath was made for man. Certainly no one believes that marriage was made only for the Jews. The fact is that two beautiful, original institutions were set up by God Himself before sin ever came into the world; marriage and the Sabbath. Both were made for man, both received the special blessing of the Creator and both continue to be just as holy now as when they were sanctified in the Garden of Eden. Note that the “children of Israel” God was angry with for not keeping the Sabbath in Exodus 16:25-30 were not Jews either. They were Abraham’s seed just as we are. Galatians 3:29, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” We are in fact spiritual Jews! See also Romans 2:28-29.
Jesus was the One who made the Sabbath in the first week of time. There was a reason for His claim to be Lord of the Sabbath day (Mark 2:28). If He is the Lord of the Sabbath day, then the Sabbath must be the Lord’s Day. John had a vision on “the Lord’s day,” according to Revelation 1:10. That day had to be the Sabbath. It is the only day so designated and claimed by God in the Bible. In writing the Ten Commandments, God called it “the Sabbath of the Lord.” Exodus 20:10. Adam and Eve were not Jewish. “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” Genesis 2:3. Sanctified means “to be set apart for holy use.” This was pre-sin and the only ones in Eden to “Sanctify” the Sabbath were Adam and Eve. The other Nine are not “Just for the Jews.” Does idolatry, murder, stealing and adultery apply only to Jews? The Sabbath is also for the “stranger” who are Gentiles. Exodus 20:10. In “the new earth ... from one Sabbath to another, shall ALL FLESH come to worship before me, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 66:22-23. Grace saved Gentiles kept the Sabbath. “The Gentiles besought that these words be preached to them the next Sabbath ... Paul and Barnabas ... persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.” Acts 13:42-43. Luke was a Gentile who kept the Sabbath. Luke was the only Gentile writer in the New Testament. He travelled with Paul and wrote, “On the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side.” Acts 16:13. It was the Creation Sabbath. Both Luke and Paul knew it. See also who changed the Sabbath to Sunday or is the Sabbath Saturday or Sunday for further proof that it predates Judaism.
This argument has also led many to believe the Sabbath existed only for a limited period of time following creation. But is this a fact? Actually, the Sabbath could never be just a type or shadow of anything, for the simple reason that it was made before sin entered the human family. Certain shadows and typical observances (ordinances) were instituted as a result of sin and pointed forward to the deliverance from sin. Such were the sacrifices employed to symbolize the death of Jesus, the Lamb of God. There would have been no animal sacrifices had there been no sin. These offerings were abolished when Christ died on the cross, because the types had met their fulfilment (Matthew 27:51). But no shadow existed before sin entered this world; therefore, the Sabbath could not be included in the ceremonial law of types and shadows. The ceremonial laws were temporary but all of God’s moral law is eternal as it mirrors His loving, unchanging Holy character. He is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8.
Paul referred to the temporary system of ordinances in Colossians 2:14-16 as being “against us” and “contrary to us.” He tied it to the meat offerings, drink offerings and yearly festivals of the law that were “blotted out.” It is true he referred to sabbaths also in the text, but take careful note that he called them “sabbath days (note also the original Greek here is plural) which are a shadow of things to come.” Were some sabbath days blotted out at the cross? Yes, there were at least seven yearly sabbaths which came on certain set days of the month, and they were nailed to the cross. They were shadows and required specified meat and drink offerings. All of these annual sabbaths are described in Leviticus 23:24-36, and then summarized in verses 37 and 38: “These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: beside the Sabbaths of the Lord...” The Scripture differentiates between the annual, shadowy sabbaths and the weekly “Sabbaths of the Lord.” The ceremonial sabbaths were only for the Jews and were blotted out at the cross as they had been added as a consequence of sin. But the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments was hallowed before sin and Jews and later incorporated into the moral law written by the finger of God. It was eternal in its very nature as love is everlasting. See also “Was the Sabbath Abolished?”