Jesus taught a different Sabbath.

By arguing with the Pharisees what is allowed on the Sabbath, Jesus implied that certain things are not allowed.  He thereby admitted the Sabbath as binding.

But the seventh day, as practiced and taught by Christ, was different from the Sabbath of the Law of Moses.

The Law of Moses, and specifically the Ten Commandments, required the seventh day simply as a Sabbath, which means it is a day of rest.  Everybody had to rest; including servants and animals.  It was “a sabbath of complete rest … You shall not do any work” (Lev. 23:3).  Contrary to popular belief, the Law of Moses did not require people to have religious meetings or to worship God on that day.  Exodus 16:29 says “Remain every man in his place”.  The only requirement was rest.  The religious leaders applied this extremely conservatively; disallowing anything that even remotely looks like work; even healing.

Christ’s Sabbath – While the Law of Moses states negatively what is not allowed on the seventh day; “you shall not do any work” (Ex. 20:10), Christ never indicated what is not allowed.  His focus always was on what may and must be done on the seventh day.  He taught that:

Man may work on the Sabbath if that work will relief the distress and suffering of people or animals.

Man must work on the Sabbath to restore man spiritually and physically.

This means that Christ did more than to interpret the Sabbath commandment; He gave a new meaning to it.  He converted the seventh day from a day of compulsory idleness to a day that is filled with purpose, activity and work; a day to show kindness and mercy; a day to free people from the physical, psychological and spiritual bonds of Satan, to elevate the entire man to God’s ideal; in particular, a day to heal.

This meaning cannot be derived simply from reading the Law of Moses.  Christ derived His understanding of the seventh day from of its original purpose, as it existed before sin.  This is, for instance, indicated by His statement, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).  This refers to the creation account, according to which the seventh day was “blessed” and “sanctified” as part of creation (Gen 2:3).  (See also Matthew 19:4-8).

We should not be surprised that Christ taught a Sabbath different from the Law of Moses because He did the same for the other commandments.  Christ replaced the entire Law of Moses with a higher law with much higher moral standards.  For instance, He replaced the law against murder with a law against anger.  Instead of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” He taught, “turn the other (cheek)”.  With respect to adultery He said “everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery”.  Christ’s higher level Law reveals the Father’s perfect heart.  The Father loves His enemies and has compassion with people.  For that reason the Law of Christ requires His followers to do the same.  The “Law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2) is the law as it existed “from the beginning”.  The Law of Moses was God’s eternal laws for mankind, but reduced to fit the condition, abilities and needs of the enslaved and corrupt little nation of Israel.  But Christ again revealed the eternal principles on which the Law of Moses was based.  See the page “The Law of Christ” for more information.

But this does not mean that the requirement to rest, as given in the Law of Moses, is no longer relevant.  The Law of Moses made rest the goal.  Christ shifted the focus from the requirement to rest, to the purpose of the rest.  Christ taught the seventh day as the preferred day for healing.  Rest is consistent this purpose.  In Christ’s teaching rest becomes a means to an end.  Healing is the end (goal) and rest is one means of achieving this goal.  On the seventh day we must cease from everyday work, to be renewed and refreshed.  But while the requirement for rest remains, the seventh day is now also a day for planned work to bring joy to people by helping them to be healed and restored.  It also becomes a work day, but a different type of work.  It is the day on which we work for the mentally, physically and spiritually sick, to heal them.

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45 thoughts on “Jesus taught a different Sabbath.”

  1. Thank you so much for that ..
    It was my understanding at first and I just had to check it up to make sure it was what I thought.. ☺
    I’m assisting a friend of getting to know Christ more . So thank you once again .

    1. Just in case someone reads this,
      Please read Isaiah 58 prayerfully.
      I believe the whole chapter is on Sabbath observance.
      Note Isaiah’s words used in certain places of ‘day’ and ‘fast’.
      Also, there are negatives God deals with at the start of the chapter, concerning Israel’s behaviour where you notice are repeated as he begins to mention the Sabbath day towards the end! So in conclusion the ‘fast’ is as the very ‘day’. A fast is about lowering the flesh to raise the spiritual. This principle is simply being bridged over to Sabbath observance. God bless,…
      P.s. As you read this whole chapter in light of the Sabbath, keep in the back of your mind how the Jews behaved towards Jesus’ keeping of it.

    1. No, God did not change the Law of Moses, but the Law of Moses is not applicable to Christians. We now have a new Law, namely the Law of Christ. The eternal moral principles in the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ are the same, but the demands of the Law of Christ are much higher. Please see the article on the Law of Christ.

      1. If you allow the Spirit of the living God to open the eyes of your understanding, and study the Bible – the word of God Almighty – with Him, you will notice that there were actually two Laws.

        The one law is the Moral or Royal Law of God or the Ten commandments, written with the finger of God, revealing our relationship to God almighty and mankind.

        The first four commandments govern our vertical relationship to God and the last six commandments govern our horizontal relationship to mankind.

        Genesis 1v 26 God said, “Let us make man in our own image, according to our likeness, let them have dominion (stewardship) over everything that flies, swims or creeps upon the earth.

        Who was God Almighty speaking to here? He was speaking to His Son Yehoshua Ha Mashiach and to the Spirit of the living God. They also wrote the Moral Law or the Ten Commandments.

        The other law was the Ceremonial or Mosaic Laws or the Ordinances were written by the hand of a sinful, but God ordained man, namely Moses This law was full of blessing for obedience, and curses for disobedience.

        Most importantly when Yehoshua Ha Mashiach went to the cross for the remission of all the sins of mankind, He swept away all and every animal sacrifice by nailing them to the cross.

        The Ceremonial or Mosaic Laws were nailed to the cross, not the Ten Commandments, as some people would have us to believe. Please do not confuse the Ten Commandments with the Mosaic or Ceremonial Laws of Moses.

        1. Dear Rona,
          The Moral Law is not the same as the Ten Commandments. For instance, the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18) is a very moral law, but outside the Ten Commandments. The distinction between moral and ceremonial laws is man-made; it is not explicit in the Bible. There are moral elements is most or all ceremonial laws.

          Further, it was not a law that was nailed to the Cross; it was the penalty for our sins. To see this you need to understand that Colossians 2:9-17 forms a unit, saying “in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells” (v9), therefore “in Him you have been made complete” (v10-15), therefore “no one is to act as your judge in regard to …” (v16-17). Please refer also my discussion of Colossians for a discussion of these texts.

          Lastly, Yehoshua Ha Mashiach Himself changed the Ten Commandments by saying “you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty” (Matthew 5:21-22) and “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). Please refer to my discussion of the “Law of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:20-21)

          1. Rihana, I would like to agree with you, but that depends on what you mean by “Law“. Paul wrote that he himself was not “under the Law”, but also not “without law”, because he was “under the law of Christ” (1 Cor. 9 20-21). The implication is that he was not under the Law of Moses. The Law which God gave to the Jews was derived from God’s eternal law. For instance, the law not to murder was derived from the eternal law of love, but lowered to the degenerated moral level of the nation Israel. Christ elevated the moral level of that commandment by saying “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ … But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty” (Mat. 5:21-22). So technically you are right to say that Christ did not change the Law, but if you mean we are still under the Law of Moses, then I would disagree, because Christ raised the bar significantly. And yes, the Ten Commandment are not part of the Law of Moses, but note that Jesus referred to the Ten Commandments in Matthew 5:21-22. Please refer to the article on The Law of Christ for more information. In the same way Christ elevated the requirements of the Sabbath to be much closer to its original intent. As long as we live in sin we cannot experience the joy of that original day, “when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7), but as Jesus explained the Sabbath, it comes much closer.

        2. I agree with Rona, read Matth 5:17. KJV Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
          Ten commandments stand forever…..they are not and cannot be changed.

          1. Dear Retshepile
            The “law, or the prophets” refer to the entire Old Testament; not the Ten Commandments only. Are you saying we should still offer sacrifices? In the very same chapter which you quote, Jesus said, with respect to commandments in the Ten Commandments “You have heard … but I say to you” (v21, 27). What are the implications for the Ten Commandments?

  2. Did Christ keep the Sabbath? In the way that he did it, He changed the 10 Commandments.

    1. Hi Liesbet (Elizabeth?) Yes, He kept the Sabbath, but not like the Jews of His time. He did not change the 10 Commandments; He rather replaced the entire Law of Moses with the Law of Christ

  3. Matthew 5:19
    For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

  4. Leviticus 23:3Good News Translation (GNT)

    3 You have six days in which to do your work, but remember that the seventh day, the Sabbath, is a day of rest. On that day do not work, but gather for worship. The Sabbath belongs to the Lord, no matter where you live.

    Don’t be cheated! Wake up!

  5. God is the owner of the Law. If you know Him, then follow His Law. Let’s say your father send you to buy sugar, salt, paraffin and lastly – don’t forget – to buy a match box. What will happen if you buy the others but forget the match box? Your father will be annoyed. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. The Law lead us to safety. If you Love me, then follow my Laws.

    1. Good for you, hope you can do it. don’t just keep one law which is the sabbath, but the whole law, alright? Then, guess what? you are a god and you don’t need Jesus in your life because you can keep the law perfectly.

  6. My grandma has passed away last week Thursday morning and the family (non-Sabbath keepers) decided the funeral will be on the Sabbath. What does the Sabbath keeping principle say here?

  7. This person is not coming clear. Does that therefore mean it is against GODS will to keep the Biblical Sabbath, Saturday?

    1. Of course not, but the Lord of the Sabbath explained the Biblical Sabbath not as a day to sit idle, focusing on yourself; what you must or may do or not do, but as a day to focus on the needs of other people. Remember, God created everything through His Son. It is His Son that rested on the seventh day. We should allow Him to explain to us how the day should be kept.

  8. you wrote: “Contrary to popular belief, the Law of Moses did not require people to have religious meetings or to worship God on that day. Exodus 16:29 says “Remain every man in his place”. The only requirement was rest….

    while i truly like your shift in focus from resting to working in Christ, you built it on the faulty premise above. ALL the Sabbaths given in the OT were “Holy Convocations”, i.e “holy meeting times for corporate worship”, and there not one single exception foo this. the reference to ““Remain every man in his place” is specific to the ‘test’ that God gave them concerning NOT gathering manna on the Sabbath day, but remaining indoors INSTEAD of going out to collect it. All this is obvious and very clear from Ex 16:16 all the way tru to vs 31. the issue here is NOT worship, but not going outside to GATHER food. It was a TEST for the Hebrews…plain and simple…

    Please edit the posted account, becoz it misleads ppl. Ad yes, God DID require ppl to REST on the SabbathS; they are ALL holy Convocations. The word translated literally means ‘rehearsal’, as in “the act of practicing in preparation for an event.”

    The general translation is always accompanied by the words, ‘assembly’ or ‘gathering’; there is never an argument to this in the Holy writ…examine the evidence below…

    Exodus 12:16 — “And in the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you; …

    Leviticus 23:3 — “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, a holy convocation;

    Leviticus 23:7 — “In the first day you shall have a holy convocation: …

    Leviticus 23:8 — “But you shall offer an offering made by fire to YHWH for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation: …”.

    Leviticus 23:21 — “And you shall proclaim on the same day a holy convocation unto you: …: it shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations”.

    Leviticus 23:24 — “In the seventh new moon, on the first day of the new moon, you have a rest, a remembrance of Teruah, a set-apart gathering”.

    Leviticus 23:27 — …It shall be a set-apart gathering for you.

    Leviticus 23:34-36 — on the fifteenth day of this seventh new moon is the festival of Sukkot for seven days to YHWH. On the first day is a set-apart gathering, On the eight day there shall be a set-apart gathering for you,

    Numbers 28:17-18 — “and on the fifteenth day of this new moon is a festival. …On the first day is a set-apart gathering….

    Numbers 28:25-26 — “and on the seventh day you have a set-apart gathering… x 2

    Numbers 29:1 — “And in the seventh new moon, on the first day of the new moon, you have a set-apart gathering,

    Numbers 29:7 — “And on the tenth day of this seventh new moon you have a set-apart gathering,

    Leviticus 23:2 — …‘The appointed times of YHWH, which you are to proclaim as set-apart gatherings. My appointed times, are these’”…

    Leviticus 23:4 — “These are the appointed times of YHWH, set-apart gatherings which you are to proclaim at their appointed times”.

    I trust you will revise the premise made,because God expected them to meet/assemble on the sabbath days…let us not pick and choose what we want to believe…

    Yur humble servant
    woody

  9. Keep it holy and do no work except Yahushua’s work; not worlds work: no self gain. His spirit will lead you if you are sincere.

  10. You are confusing the moral law, which is the ten commandments, written with the finger of God, with the mosaic or ceremonial law written by a man – the man Moses.

  11. The Law of Moses was civil and changeable. It resided outside of the ark. The 10 commandments were written by the finger of God on STONE implying permanence. The Sabbath remains a day of Holy convocation and worship in Spirit and Truth glorifying Him as Creator. The 10 commandments resided in the ark in the Most Holy place in the earthly sanctuary.

  12. Are you mixing the moral law or the ten commandments written with the finger of God with the mosaic or ceremonial law written by a man the man Moses for a people who murmured and railed against God and Moses on their way to the promised land.

  13. The Bible in Malachi 3:6 says God does not change and so the ten commandment that is written with His own finger (Ex 31:18). Having said that, Jesus stated plainly in the book Mathew 5:17-18, He didn’t come to abolish the Law or the prophets but to fulfill. Heaven and earth shall pass away but not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
    Dear friend I would like to kindly remind you that, it was through disobedience that our first parents lost paradise. Don’t repeat the same mistake by disobeying God’s commandment. Finally, 1 John 2:4, The man who says, I know Him but does not do what He commands is a liar and the truth is not him.
    To conclude, please read Revelation 22;14. Blessed are those who do His commandments for shall have right to the tree of life (for your information, that tree of life was guard by the angels with a flaming sword flashing back and forth (Gen 3:24) when Adam and Eve disobeyed God)..So the only people who will access the tree of life are the people who are obedient to God and theh shall march in the new city.

    I pray that, may our good Lord opened your eyes that you may behold wondrous things out of His law.

  14. We must be careful not to encourage the view that the Fourth Commandment does not apply to Christians today. To say Christ changed the Sabbath could so easily be regarded as “done away with”. What we should be saying about the Fourth Commandment is that Christ brought the spiritual meaning for each of the Ten Commandments yet observing the Seventh Day Sabbath. The greatest weapon Satan uses is to create doubt and confusion amongst Christ followers. Let us not appear as Christians who are confused about God’s Word. Rihana

      1. I don’t think we should neglect the needs of people all week and wait for the Sabbath….. Meaning doing good on any other day is right, but on Sabbath rest in God….recharge from the toils of the week

  15. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.He is the giver of the Law and of grace in abundance.Faith in Christ goes hand in hand with obeying His law .When we do the works that Christ did,by His divine help,we attain His righteousness by faith.Honouring the fourth commandment as one of the ten is honouring Christ .

  16. “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord ’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord , and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the Lord has spoken.
    Isaiah 58:13‭-‬14 NIV

  17. You have six days in which to do your work, but remember that the seventh day, the Sabbath, is a day of rest. On that day do not work, but gather for worship. The Sabbath belongs to the LORD , no matter where you live.
    Leviticus 23:3 GNB

  18. Jesus, or Yeshua, did not change the Sabbath, or modify any commandment given in Torah. He merely restored the heart level obedience that YHVH always desired from his people. Also, categories like moral law are anachronistic and don’t exist in scripture. God’s word only knows two categories: love God and love neighbour. The most frequent commandment in the New Testament isn’t of a moral category, it’s a ceremonial Law category, stay away from idols.
    See my article for more:
    http://bereanbaptists.blogspot.com/2015/07/between-covenants-jesus-law.html

    1. Dear Ryan, thanks for your comment.

      I agree that what Jesus taught was the heart level obedience that YHVH always desired from his people, but the law as given to Moses gave the law at a different level; at a level appropriate for the Jews at the time.

      I would not call categories like moral law anachronistic (outdated), because it never existed. It is perhaps outdated in Baptist theology.

      Lastly, all ceremonial laws are based on moral principles. Staying away from idols is in my mind more moral than ceremonial.

      1. When Jesus taught about the Sabbath, he wasn’t introducing anything new. He was taking away the regulations added by the Pharisees.
        The Torah taught heart level obedience too. “Do not hate your brother from your heart” (Lev 19:17); “These words I command you this day shall be on your heart” (Deut 6:6); “This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul”
        (Deut 26:16). So no, heart level obedience isn’t a New Testament concept.

        Also, anachronistic doesn’t mean outdated. It means historically out of place.

        1. Hi Ryan the Baptist, nice to hear from you again.

          Your definition of anachronistic is spot on. Outdated has a more limited meaning, namely historically out of place with respect to the present time.

          But I would like to take issue with you with respect to what I consider to be a very serious theological issue, namely your statement that Jesus wasn’t introducing anything new when he taught about the Sabbath, but that He was merely taking away the regulations added by the Pharisees.

          That is the view of many people, namely that the gospels effectively are part of the Old Testament and that Jesus simply taught and lived the Old Testament. In this view Paul was the main teacher of the New Testament. However, in the thousands of sermons which I have listened to over my lifetime, from different denominations, I cannot remember that I ever heard anybody trying to prove that point. It is simply an assumption, but stated as if it is a proven fact, like you are doing.

          You see, how things works in the religious world is that people generally are taught a certain set of doctrines, and then they prove their doctrines on the basis of the Bible. Extremely few people start with a clean slate, reading and interpreting the Bible for themselves. That is why we have these various systems of interpretation, such as Baptist theology, each proclaiming a unique combination of doctrines, with very little movement over time.

          In my view the Lord gave Paul great stones to set into the structure of His eternal church, but they are not foundation stones. The foundation stones were laid by Jesus alone. Paul’s life and ministry are not the example of what we are called to be; Jesus alone is that. The Lord’s words are the foundation. Paul has only built upon them by elaborating on His words. The greatest wisdom and the most powerful truths are the Lord’s words, not Paul’s.

          “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached” (Luke 16:16). Remember the new wine and old wineskins (Mat. 19:17)? “The Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Would Jesus have forgiven the woman caught in adultery if He was simply teaching the Law of Moses?

          The view that Christ taught nothing new, but simply interpreted the Law of Moses, or even the Old Testament, devalues Christ’s teaching, and is in my view is a horrible distortion of the truth.

          I gave reasons why I believe Jesus taught a different Sabbath. If you disagree, please provide reasons.

          Regards, Andries

  19. If we do not understand the Sabbath day in Genesis 2vs1-3 (Which was given to men before sin, before the were any Jews or gentiles) we are most likely to be confused.

    The Sabbath day comes as a reminder in Exodus 20 vs 8 hence it says “remember the Sabbath day…”

    Matt22vs37-40 tells us about the two great commandments; “On these two commandments hangs ALL THE LAW AND PROPHETS”. This is the most important part.

    Matt5 vs17″ Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
    18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    Do you know that the Sabbath day will be kept even in the new heaven and new earth? Isaiah 66vs 22-23.

    Revelation 22:14 (KJV) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    It is disobedience (breaking the law) that separated men from the tree of life. It is obedience (keeping the law) that will bring men back to the tree of life. I know that we are saved through Jesus but we have a role to play as faith without works is dead.

    1. Wow! I am impressed! Where did you get that “obedience will bring men back to the tree of life”? That is an amazing statement. It needs to be qualified, but once that is done I would like to agree with you.

      With respect to the Sabbath day in Genesis 2vs1-3 and the Sabbath in the new heaven and new earth; I agree that these were and will be special days, but with a much greater meaning than the Old Testament days of rest. If I may play with words, I would like to call it days of restoration.

      The Sabbath day comes as a reminder in Exodus 20 vs 8 because it was already given in Exodus 16.

      Matthew 5:17-18 refers to the entire Old Testament. Should we still offer sacrifices? Jesus said that no one jot or one tittle shall wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled, but note that He also said that He came to fulfill.

    1. Dear Peter, we must not try to replace the individual believer’s connection with God with a list of do’s and don’ts. We humans are very fond of our rules; then we do not have to ask the Lord. But in the end rules become a barrier between us and God, and we look down on people that do not follow our personal set of rules. Therefore, trust God that He wants to speak to you, and go to Him by yourself, and ask Him!

  20. Hebrews 4:8-11 The Sabbath is no more a day or time but the period given to us to work the field of harvest. Meaning we will only experience Sabbath after fulfilling our apostolic mission. God rested after His work. For us is to concentrate on attainment of that rest. Revelation 12:12 time is but short for all of us. Luke 10:2 the labourers are few.

  21. Yahshuah was a true symbol of a religious Jew. The Pharisees and Sadducees were political quasi religious Jews, as presently in world order system today. Yahweh’s laws are eternal from generation to generation till the heaven and earth be no more. Disobedience to the law means Sin, but Obedience to the law through faith in Yahshua is Life. Why is the Sabbath considered a burden by Christians? Yahweh’s Sabbath is a delight. Dr Tony Vadynizk. bombnwa57x@gmail.com. +2348132838212 and +2349027005860

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