Is Sabbath Saturday? Or Sunday? -Christians Don’t Have to Worship on the Sabbath

After 2000 years, the question of the correct day of worship still comes up quite often.

It seems strange to some people that most Christians attend church on Sunday when the Old Testament Law clearly states “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8 ESV)

The Israelites were very careful to observe the Sabbath for many years.

Christians came along later and began worshipping on Sunday.

So why Sunday?

Where is it written that Christians should attend church on Sunday when technically the Sabbath is on Saturday?

For a deeper look at this question, be sure to take a look at my other post “Who Changed the Day of Worship from Saturday to Sunday?” where I take a more in-depth look at Old Testament as well as New Testament scriptures.

So is the Sabbath Saturday? Or has it been changed to Sunday?

The Sabbath has always been from Friday at sunset until Saturday at sunset. And it still is. Nothing ever changed that. But that doesn’t mean Christians have to attend church on the Sabbath.

There are very good reasons most Christians attend church on Sunday instead of Saturday.

And there are very good reasons some other Christians choose to attend church on Saturday.

Some churches hold services on both Saturday and Sunday.

But according to the Bible, it is perfectly acceptable for Christians to worship God on all seven days of the week!

And you shall say to them, This is the food offering that you shall offer to the Lord: two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a regular offering.

Numbers 28:3, ESV (emphasis added)

We aren’t restricted to a certain day even though some people think we are.

A lot of folks have given answers to this question on the internet. You can see that not all of the answers agree.

Why are some of the answers mistaken? Because some people don’t take the context into consideration.

Here’s one post from sincere believers that gives multiple scriptures from the book of Acts claiming the Apostles worshipped on the Sabbath:

Mistaking Apostolic Missionary Trips for Worship Services
Some mistaken folks claim they were weekly church services. Source: -Accessed November 15, 2020

And they are partly correct. The Apostles are indeed attending services on the Sabbath.

But a careful reading of the passages listed above from the book of Acts reveals they were missionary trips -not worship services.

For example:

As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.

Acts 13:42-44, ESV

During the days of the early church, the Apostles made weekly trips to the Synagogues on the Sabbath to preach the Good News of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to their Jewish brothers.

Every one of these passages reveals the true mission of the Apostles.

But the folks quoted above completely miss the fact that the Apostles are attending Synagogues as missionaries and testifying of Christ to the Jews – who were attending Sabbath services according to the Law as they had been for many centuries since Mt. Sinai.

On the other hand, the new followers of Christ were meeting in houses (Acts 20:7) and known as “The Way” (Acts 9:2, 19:9, 19:23)

So here are the main reasons Christians may feel free to worship on the day of their choice.

-The commandment- “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy” is a ceremonial law that was only intended for the house of Israel.

It is a good law. It is God’s law. But it was intended for Israel only.

-The Ten Commandments weren’t given until God gave them to Moses at Mt. Sinai. God never gave them to Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or Joseph.

So what justified man before the Sabbath? “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Gen 15:6, ESV) (Abraham was never given the Sabbath)

– Numbers 28 tells us we should worship God every day.

Every day of the week -all seven of them- is perfectly fine for worship. (Numbers 28:3-4)

This is just one reason most Christians who attend church on Sunday believe it’s OK for other Christians to attend church on Saturday.

-Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. –Colossians 2:16-17

-What did Jesus say about the Sabbath? “And he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.’” (Mark 2:27-28, ESV -emphasis added)

-Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. He said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matt 5:17 ESV.

-Jesus healed on the Sabbath to illustrate that he is Lord of the Sabbath and to emphasize the previous point that “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

Jesus healed many people on the Sabbath to illustrate his claim as Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus said to the lame man, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” John 5:8, ESV [image credit:]

Here are 14 verses where Jesus healed on the Sabbath, and the Sabbath-keeping Pharisees were not pleased at all with him.

When he gave himself up for us, he fulfilled the law. What could we possibly do to fulfill the Law ourselves when Jesus already did it for us?

-Jesus is our Sabbath, so all of the requirements of the Law are fulfilled in him. They are fulfilled in his righteousness, not ours.

We can never achieve the righteous standard the Law demands, but we can accept the righteous work Jesus Christ did at the cross for us.

-Jesus is our Sabbath Rest. Under the Law, man was required to rest one day out of the week on the Sabbath. But under the New Covenant, we rest from our efforts to be righteous.

Our efforts to be righteous are “as filthy rags” but now we find our rest in Jesus Christ because he did the work we could never do.

So our Sabbath rest is in Jesus Christ.

-The Lord’s Day is Sunday. Most Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ –which occurred on a Sunday- by referring to it as the Lord’s Day and by attending church services on this day.

-The Feast of First Fruits. Just as Jesus’ death came on the Feast of Passover, his resurrection was on the Feast of First Fruits, which falls on Sunday.

Sunday is the 8th day -a new beginning, and a very appropriate day to commemorate the new life every born-again believer has in Christ.

Jesus Christ is the Firstborn from the dead. (Col 1:18)

It seems like a strange expression, but it means those of us who place our hope in him have great hope, trust and confidence that we too will join him in the Resurrection!

(Note: The feast of unleavened bread comes right after Passover and extends through the Feast of First Fruits. It signifies the removal of sin by the Jesus’ sacrifice that John the Baptist announced when he said behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!)

The Sabbath is still Saturday.

Or to be more precise –it’s from sunset Friday until sunset Saturday- but for the Christian, it’s just one of seven perfect days of the week to worship the Living God.

Don’t forget to check out my very-well-read article: Who Changed the Day of Worship from Saturday to Sunday? for a more in-depth view of this question.

Is your Faith Founded on Fact? Have you committed to follow Jesus?

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