Did people in ancient times celebrate the Saturday sabbath?

A Sabbath meal

A Sabbath meal

Rick Brentlinger Answers -

Thanks for asking such an interesting question. The answer is, in ancient times Jewish people celebrated Shabbat, the Saturday Sabbath but the Gentile nations were never commanded to keep Sabbath. Celebrating Sabbath is a distinctively Jewish thing, for the reasons listed below.

Reading your original question causes me to believe you are confused about who should celebrate the Sabbath today. It is important to be aware of context when reading the Bible. We should always ask these questions.

* Who is speaking?

* To whom is he speaking?

* What is the historical situation?

* Where are the events happening?

* When did it happen?

* To whom did it happen?

* Why was the command given?

* What was the purpose of the command?

Helpful Biblical facts
about the Sabbath

  1. No one is commanded to keep the Saturday Sabbath from the creation of Adam until God gave Moses His law on Mt. Sinai, Exodus 16, 19, 20.

  2. We know that no one from Adam to Moses kept the Saturday Sabbath because Moses makes it clear that the Ten Commandments were a covenant God had never made with anyone before.

    "The LORD made not this covenant (the Ten Commandments) with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day (approximately 1450 BC)." -Deuteronomy 5:3

  3. The Saturday Sabbath was first given to the nation of Israel in Exodus 16:26. Sabbath was to be kept by everyone within Israel's gates.

    "But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:" -Exodus 20:10

    If the Saturday Sabbath is binding on everyone in every nation, why were Gentiles outside Israel's gates not required to keep Sabbath?

  4. God never commanded other nations to observe His Saturday Sabbath - the Saturday Sabbath is strictly a Jewish thing, between God and Israel.

    ("The Sabbath," v. 16) "It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed." -Exodus 31:16-17

    How could the Saturday Sabbath be a sign between God and Israel, if God required all nations to keep it? What made the Sabbath distinctive as a sign between God and Israel is that no other nation on earth was required to keep Sabbath.

  5. We know that the New Testament never commands Sabbath keeping for any Christian anywhere. To disprove this statement, simply quote a New Testament verse (if you can find one), which commands Christians to keep the Jewish Sabbath.

  6. We know the Bible is absolutely clear about the question of Christians under law.

    "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." -Romans 6:14

  7. We know that keeping Sabbath is the quickest way to put yourself under a curse because the Bible clearly states that if you keep one part of the law to justify yourself, you MUST keep all of the law.

    "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." -Galatians 3:10

Christians have never
been required to keep Torah.

Original Question:

What about the 4th commandment that starts w/ "REMEMBER..."? If I start a sentence to someone with"remember", I certainly wouldn't want it to be forgotten... What about the verse, Luke 23:56? And throughout the new testament where Jesus states, "If you love me, keep my commandments..."? Is the 4th commandment on part of the others? Historically, in looking this up, people of ancient times did keep the Sabbath commandment. Calender only changed once in 1582 -weekly calender never changed. In over 150 languages, Saturday derived from "Sabbath" as in the commandment Ex. 20 , Duet , study of astronomy. I don't get your arguement, since it is not based on facts.

Comments for Did people in ancient times celebrate the Saturday sabbath?

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Mar 13, 2011
The problem is not putting God first
by: gordon

Well Rick, the SDA church which I am very familiar with does require this commandment because they say that God does not change and if it were to have changed it would be mentioned. I think one reason the ten commandments were given is because man had kept the laws of God under the age of conscience, but when that no longer worked God had to give something in stone, no pun.

That is why adultery etc are mentioned at this time, not that it was no a rule before that. There is a huge reason for keeping the "sabbath-sunday" is because Jesus worshiped every sabbath, but he also put common sense to the rule. The problem is not keeping Sunday, the problem is people put everything ahead of God which means they have forgotten God.

Mar 16, 2011
Sabbath keeping is not part of being a Christian
by: Rick Brentlinger

I've talked with, witnessed to and shared meals with Seventh Day Adventists. One verse they've never been able to deal with is Deuteronomy 5:3, which contradicts their root teaching, that Sabbath observance began with Adam and Eve. God and Moses are abundantly clear in Deuteronomy 5:3, that no one was under the Ten Commandments until God gave them to Moses on Mt. Sinai around 1450 BC.

The seventh day Sabbath is never commanded for Christians in the dispensation of the grace of God.

Is Sabbath keeping
for Christians?

Apr 12, 2012
Thank you for this Rick!
by: Brian

Thank you Rick for your words and also for your site to help me understand the bible more!! One question and the SDA always use this text also to justify that keeping the commandments which include the 4th one!

This is what they always quote from Revelation 12:17 And the dragon as wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

How to answer this bible verse to SDA since they said this is the true people of God who is the SDA which keep the (ten) commandments of God and teaches there testimonies to people saying that Sunday worship is wrong and they going to hell because they live in apostasy.

Rick's comment: SDAs insist that everyone beginning with Adam kept the Saturday Sabbath. Some of them insist that not keeping Sabbath is the mark of the beast, which is why they love to quote Rev 12:17.

If we approach scripture being careful to discern the dispensations of God, we understand that the body of Christ was raptured in Rev 4:1 and is no longer on earth in the scenario Revelation reveals. In Revelation, because the church age is over, God is again dealing with the Jews and they are again living under the law of Moses. That's why keeping the commandments is emphasized. Scripture is clear that SDAs are wrong on the Sabbath issue and that people from Adam to Sinai did NOT keep the sabbath. Here's the verse SDAs missed:

The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. Deuteronomy 5:3, KJV

SDAs are also wrong on keeping the law.

Apr 12, 2012
by: Brian

Thank you for clearing up about the commandments!! Cheers and God bless you and this ministry to win souls to Christ!! STRAIGHTS AND GAYS

Feb 08, 2013
Saturday Sabbath
by: Deray

It is interesting that the Jews or Israelites celebrated the Sabbath from Friday at sundown till Saturday till sundown. The Jewish people still do this today.

I used to work for a Jewish company and it was one of their must does to be out of the building before sundown on Fridays, if an employee was on the premises after that time the next Monday he or she would not have a job.

One of the owners parents died Friday morning one week they hired a private jet to get the body to Jerusalem before sundown, something about having a burial before the Sabbath, they said they could not bury anyone during the Sabbath.

Feb 11, 2013
Sabbath not commanded but placed
by: Anonymous

You don't think that Adam and Eve celebrated the Sabbath? The commandments were given, yes, to jews, but Adam and Eve were not Jews. They were Man and Woman and the day after they were created, God rested, blessed, and made holy the seventh day. In the Commandments, he says to "remember" the Sabbath, and to refrain from work. Jesus, who is the Creator, said he was Lord of the Sabbath. Why should I go against what the Lord said?

Rick's comment: God never commanded anyone but Jews to keep Sabbath. Please read and re-read Deuteronomy 5:3 and you will discover that the Sabbath was a new commandment. Adam and Eve were never commanded to keep Sabbath.

I hope you will make your views conform to what the Bible says in context instead of trying to make the Bible conform to your views.

The Bible never commands you to keep Sabbath unless you are Jewish, living in the land of Israel while the Law of Moses is in effect. Does that make sense to you?

May 19, 2015
About the Seventh Day Sabbath
by: Tyler

Genesis 2:2-3 tell us that The Almighty ended His work on the Seventh day and then He blessed it and sanctified it. The Ten Commandments also agree with this. Yahweh (Jehovah, The Lord) says says that the sabbath was on the Seventh Day (Saturday) not the first day (SUNday). There is no evidence that the days of the week have changed (I have not heard of any).

It was the Roman Emperor Constantine who had the Sabbath moved to the venerable day of the sun. Just look this up in a large encylopedia or another reliable reference source.
Tyler 16 years old.

Rick's comment: Hi Tyler - You've repeated the false teaching of the Seventh Day Adventists while ignoring the seven scriptural facts I presented. I encourage you to think for yourself and stop blindly believing what the SDA says. Now, what is your response to points 1 through 7 in the article?

Can I know FOR SURE I are saved?

May 20, 2015
Seventh Day Sabbath
by: Tyler

Thank you for responding to my comment. I would like to say that I am not a Seventh Day Adventist. I have never been to a SDA Church. I know very little about SDA doctrines and teachings. I will address Points 1 and 2 at the same time.

Rick's comment: Hi Tyler - I didn't say you are a Seventh Day Adventist. I said you repeated the false teaching of the SDA.

Point 1 - No one is commanded to keep the Saturday Sabbath from the creation of Adam untll God gave Moses His Law on Mount Sinai. Then you say that we know that no one kept the Saturday Sabbath from Adam to Moses because of Deu 5:3. I have three objections to that.

1: Could the Fathers mentioned in this verse mean Abraham, Issac, and Jacob? Instead of all thier ancestors?

Rick's comment: That wouldn't change the fact that Seventh Day Adventists teach that God made a Sabbath covenant with Adam which, according to SDA, was in effect from Adam to Moses.

2: By the same logic no one from Adam to Moses was obligated to keep the other nine commandments. So by that logic Adam and Eve could: Worship Idols, take Yahweh's name in vain,kill,commit adultery and covet. (Adam and Eve did not have parents so I left the fifth one out)

Rick's comment: That argument ignores the clear statement of Deu 5:3 - the covenant was NOT made with anyone on earth until the time of Moses.

3: The Bible does not record a covenant between Adam and God. So He could have told Adam to keep many things. Also the Bible does not record every time God spoke to man.

Rick's comment: Ignoring what Deu 5:3 says and asserting that God could have told Adam to keep many things does nothing to support your view.

Point 3: The Sabbath was between Israel and God, not between the Gentiles.

I agree, but are we not grafted into Israel? Romans 11 makes it clear that we are grafted into Israel.

Rick's comment: We, in Roman 11, refers only to Gentiles who are saved by grace alone through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. It does not refer to any Old Testament Gentiles.

The grafting in of saved Gentiles didn't happen until AFTER the resurrection of Christ, around 29 AD. No one in the Old Testament times, from Adam to Messiah, was grafted in.

Also the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. When Jesus criticised the Pharrisees about the Sabbath He did not say, woe to you becuse you keep the Sabbath. He said that they were being hypocrits and they would save an animal on the Sabbath.

To awnser the question about gentiles outside of Israel's gates I see a few possible awnsers.

1:If God had told the USA to ban prostitution in it's borders, does that mean that the USA needs to go to war with India to get India to stop it's prostitution?

Rick's comment: I fail to see how that has anything to do with the topic. You're expending effort to defend the Seventh Day Adventist view of the Sabbath while denying that you are SDA.

2: Would they have even listened? They did not believe that Yahweh was above thier false gods.

3: It was spoken to Israel so it was not thier jurisdiction to make sure people outside of thier country obeyed the Sabbath.

Rick's comment: I didn't argue that Israel was supposed to enforce Sabbath observance around the world. You've come up with a straw man argument which has nothing to do with what we're talking about.

Point 5: We must agree that Jesus kept the Sabbath. So when Paul said, imitate me as I imitate Christ, did he not really mean that?

Rick's comment: The Pauline epistles tell us to follow Paul as He followed Jesus instead of simply telling us to follow Jesus, Gal 3:1, 1 Cor 4:16, 11:1, Galatians 4:12, Philippians 3:17, 4:9, Acts 26:29, 1 Timothy 1:16, 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 9, 2 Timothy 3:10-14, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, Romans 11:14. Why?

Because God gave signs to the nation of Israel, to encourage them to believe what He told them, like a bush which burns but is not consumed, Exodus 3:1-3, 9, like the pillar of cloud, Exodus 14:19-20 like the sign of the Saturday sabbath, Exodus 31:13. When the Jews stopped following God, He stopped giving them signs, causing them to cry out, We see not our signs, Psalm 74:9.

Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, Isaiah 53, who ministered signs and wonders to Jews who were living under the law of Moses in the land of Israel, Romans 15:8. The signs, including the Sabbath, were for Jews, not for Gentiles, 1 Cor 1:22.

Point 6 and 7: I agree with that statment. This is an analogy of how I see the Law. My dad tells me to get him a glass of water filled to the brim. So I go get him a glass of water filled up. On the way I spill some, a little later I spill more and more until the water is nowhere near the brim. I finally get to him and he says, Thank you son for getting me water, you spilled some but I love you anyway. Because I spill some does that mean that I am not His son? I tried but I did not say, hey, this is way to hard I'll just dump the water out. Either way I am still his son unlesss I say because I obeyed his command to get him water filed to the brim I am his son. No one can obey alll His commands and that is why we need Jesus. When we try to be justied then we are cursed. I am not saying that keeping the Sabbath Justifies us. It does not. Thanks, Tyler

May 21, 2015
Seventh Day Sabbath
by: Tyler

Sir, I can see that nothing I can say will change your opinion, and nothing that you say can change my opinion:)… Thanks,

Rick's comment: Hi Tyler - I've given you links to additional info in the original article and verse after verse. I'll give one more link to truth, which I hope you will read carefully. Because I've presented you with Bible truth, you now have a choice.

You can continue to believe Seventh Day Adventist false teaching (while denying you're SDA) or you can reject SDA false teaching and believe what God says in the Bible. May our loving Lord Jesus bless abundantly as you seek the truth of God.

Does the New Testament ever command Christians to keep the Saturday sabbath?

May 21, 2015
Seventh Day Sabbath
by: Tyler

I want to thank you for taking the time to reply to my comments. Even though I disagree with you your site has helped me greatly. I hope that I did not come across as rude, disrespectful, or irreverent. Some would call me a Messianic. May our Father's blessings be with you. Tyler

Nov 06, 2015
are you for real
by: will

The laws of the creator are from the throne itself.They were before man on earth, given to the first couple. Were they Jews? The laws were given to mankind from the beginning.

The Holy Seventh Day Sabbath was given at the beginning of man. It will also be kept in the new Earth, see Isiah66. Dont pretend to know what you are talking about. If you dont want to obey thats ok. But dont lead others to do it. We have free choice, life or death. I wlll choose and so will you. Will

Rick's comment: Hi Will - I have learned by experience that, the more blithering blathering bloviating the comment, the less the commenter knows about the Bible. You've proven that by ignoring every Bible based point I made in the article. If knowing truth is your goal, please reread my article and look up the verses.

What must I do to be saved?

Aug 27, 2018
Deuteronomy 5:3
by: Elizabeth

I am surprised that the Deut 5:3 verse is what this seems to be hanging on. Deut. 5:3. Moses is making the statement that the covenant for the nation of Israel, was not made with the Fathers but with the nation--almost 3 million people. Not Abraham wife and kids, not Isaac's wife and kids, not Jacob and his immediate family, but the nation of Israel having been brought out en masse from Egypt. That's all.

Rick's comment: Hi Elizabeth - No, what you wrote is completely opposite of what Deuteronomy 5:3 says. Moses mentions the sabbath in Deut 5:12 and 5:15.

Now the Covenant he is referring to is the covenant they agreed to at Mt. Sinai/Mt. Horeb. This is when the law was read to them and they all agreed to obey and do all that the Lord had commanded. That's the entire body of the law, not just the ten commandments and certainly not just the Sabbath.

Rick's comment: You've created and tried to answer a straw man argument, which I never made. I was asked a question about keeping sabbath and I answered it, using scripture in context.

In summary, the children of Israel agreed to the Mosaic Covenant, which is to obey all God's commands. Some of these instructions were reiterations of instructions given to Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Enoch, Noah, etc including all the people living at the time.

Rick's comment: No Elizabeth. The Bible never says that "Some of the instructions God gave to Israel on Mt. Sinai were reiterations of instructions given to Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Enoch, Noah, etc including all the people living at the time."

That's what Seventh Day Adventists and other sabbatarians teach but it's not what the Bible says.

Because the Israelites agreed to them in the covenant, does not disannul the commands given to all mankind--no other gods, no idolatry, no adultery, no stealing, etc.

Other commands we have no record of but we know some were obeyed--that is the command to make blood sacrifices, a priesthood, clean and unclean animals, etc. These are all commands obeyed but never written in the brief record available to us of the 2500 years between creation and Abraham.

Rick's comment: You have stated your opinion but no scripture to support it. Your opinion contradicts what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 5:3.

Apr 07, 2022
Adventism Garbage
by: John Daron

Beautiful, no more questions. Good research! As a matter of fact, God never told Noah to observe a sabbath going to the ark.

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