Christian Churches of God

No. 31z




The Sabbath

(Edition 2.0 19940528-19991020)

This paper is an exposition of the fourth commandment and the obligations it imposes on the Christian





Christian Churches of God




(Copyright ã 1994, 1999 Wade Cox)

(Summary by Ron Proposch, Ed. by Wade Cox)

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The Sabbath

The Sabbath day is holy to the Lord according to the fourth commandment (Ex 20:8:11). This is so that all may rest (Deut. 5:14).

Proposition 1: You are to work six days a week.

You are not to be idle. Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might (Eccl. 9:10). For what you sow that you reap (Gal. 6:7). Also render service as a loyalty to the brethren, especially to those who are strangers (3Jn. 5-7).

The seventh day is the Sabbath. It is calculated as the Saturday from the creation. It is noted by all nations as being the Sabbath and as falling on Saturday of the current calendar. The seventh day is in a continuous cycle and can not be allocated to another day. Thus the new world calendar being proposed strikes at the very heart of the law. That is why the Roman system has continually opposed Sabbath-keeping as we see from the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122); (cf. also The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170)).

Proposition 2: You shall do no work on the Sabbath.

There is to be no labour on the Sabbath, by any individual of any social group in the control of Israel. The law is to be kept by all in Israel, stranger and Israelite alike. Nehemiah is the example of work on the Sabbath (Neh 10:28-31).

The Sabbath is understood to be representative of a system that is peculiar to the people of God. It extends to all in its charge and there can be no trading on the Sabbath or a holy day with any person either of the people or of the Gentiles (the nations). The Sabbath is a sign or seal (Ex. 20:8,10,11; Deut. 5:12) between us and God who makes us holy (Ex. 31:12-14).

Anyone who defiles the Sabbath shall be put to death (Ex. 31:14; Num. 32:36). This punishment refers to the forfeiture of eternal life granted to the elect. They are cut off from among their people (ibid.) being denied eternal life. It is a sign between God and the children of Israel forever (Ex. 31:17).

The preparation for the Sabbath is to be undertaken on the previous day (Ex. 16:5). The food is to be gathered and prepared from the example of the manna. Each man was to abide in his place (Ex 16. 29-30). They are to rest both in earing time and in harvest on the Sabbath (Ex. 34:21). (cf. the paper The Juma’ah: Preparing for the Sabbath (No. 285)).

Thus the actions of the Lord in picking ears on the Sabbath was condemned. The Lord, however, demonstrated that he was Lord of the Sabbath not by intention that it need not be kept, but rather that it was kept in the manner that it was. It is lawful to pick enough food to eat on the Sabbath from this text and also from the law of the Testament (Mat. 12:1-12).

More particularly, the priests in the Temple profane (render common) the Sabbath and are blameless (Mat. 12:5; cf. Num. 28:9-10; see also Neh. 13:7; Ezek. 24:21; Jn. 7:22-23). Thus our work on the Sabbath as the elect in the worship of God is blameless. In fact, there were more sacrifices carried out on the Sabbath than any other day.

Leviticus 26:34 requires the Sabbaths to extend into the Jubilee and land systems. Because the land did not rest then, the Lord will send the nations into captivity to regain the Sabbaths of rest.

The command thou shall not kindle a fire throughout your habitations refers to braziers or forges and not to household appliances (Ex. 35:3). When it is in your control to stop labour or not work on the Sabbath or not to buy or sell you must not do so and you must fight any opposition. You cannot buy and sell on holy days. You cannot go to restaurants on Sabbaths or holy days.

The laxity that crept into the Churches of God about the Sabbath came from the building of the auditorium on the Sabbath at Pasadena. The Sabbath construction was done on the grounds that the construction could not be controlled. That is false. The construction was within our gates and the fact that it happened commenced the destruction of the principle of rest on the Sabbath for the menservants of the people of Israel and their sojourners.

Nehemiah commanded that the aliens also kept the Sabbath. He is our example as to the manner in which the law should be kept. Nehemiah 13:22 shows that it is the responsibility of the priesthood of the Lord, the new priesthood of the elect, to cleanse themselves and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath.

Christ also gave commandment regarding the healing of the sick. This is to be conducted on the Sabbath. Thus, it is lawful to heal and to feed the sick and maimed on the Sabbath.

The lesson of the ox in a ditch is that of emergencies. It is not enough to do something from practice that should be planned for in advance. Luke 14:5 shows that it is important to deal with emergencies on the Sabbath. The Sabbath must be kept in spiritual purity (Isa 1:13). It must not be polluted (Isa 56:2,4-7).

The Sabbath is a delight, not a day of mourning (Isa. 58:13-14). The Sabbath will be kept for all flesh when they will come to worship before the Lord; from one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another (Isa. 66:23).

No burden is to be borne on the Sabbath, nor is it to be brought to Jerusalem (Jer. 17:21). Therefore, rejoice in the Sabbath and bring joy to the house of God. Carry no burden out of your houses on the Sabbath (Jer. 17:22). Thus, work on one's property is also forbidden on the Sabbath. It is to be hallowed (ibid.).

The Sabbath is the prerequisite to the inheritance of the kingdom of Israel if no burden is brought in through the gates of the city. Kings and princes shall sit upon the throne of David. But if this warning is not heeded then the city shall be destroyed by fire (Jer. 17:27). Thus the heathen will mock at the Sabbaths (Lam. 1:7: RSV downfall) in the day of her affliction. Thus the Sabbath is the sign and the source of scorn in affliction for those of the house of God. The king and priest will bear the indignation of his anger for the profanation of the Sabbath (Lam. 2:6).

The Sabbaths are for mirth and rejoicing. But, as a punishment, the mirth of the Sabbaths is taken away (Hos. 2:11).

Be always conscious of doing good and of healing the infirmities of all (Lk. 13:10-16). Do not under any circumstances, watch one another, to judge what good you do one another on the Sabbath (Lk. 14:1-6; Col. 2:16).

Luke 23:54 shows that you must prepare for the Sabbath. Think ahead, do good to one another. Show that we love one another as Christ loves us. Grow in faith as we are all made whole (Lk. 5:5-14).

We are a small flock who work together under affliction. There has been a continual effort made, as you will see in the paper General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122), to stamp us out. Hold fast to the Sabbath. That we have those who fall away, even at the highest levels of our servants, does not excuse each and every one of us in the proper execution of our responsibilities towards God in the Sabbath (cf. the paper Law and the Fourth Commandment (No. 256)).