Jesus taught a different Sabbath.

Abstract: The 10 Commandments require rest. Jesus taught a different Sabbath. Jesus taught the Sabbath as a day to work to heal and restore people. By arguing with the Pharisees about 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 a different Sabbath than prescribed by the Ten Commandments.

In 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.

According to Christ

While the Ten Commandments state negatively what is not allowed on the seventh day; “you shall not do any work” (Exo 20:10), Christ never indicated what is not allowed. His focus always was on what may and must be done on the seventh day. As shown in the previous articles, He taught that:

Man may work on the Sabbath if that work will relieve 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 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.

From the Beginning

That meaning cannot be derived simply from reading the Ten Commandments or the Law of Moses. Christ derived His understanding of the seventh day from 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 Matt 19:4-8).

The Law of Christ

We should not be surprised that Christ taught a Sabbath different from the Ten Commandments 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 for 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 law 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 a further discussion.

But this does not mean that the requirement to rest, as given in the Ten Commandments, is no longer relevant. The Ten Commandments 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 with 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 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.


Sabbath Series

In the Old Testament

Christ’s Sabbath Healings

Christ’s Teachings on the Sabbath

Sabbath in the New Testament Letters

Other Articles


  • 1
    The Antichrist in Daniel, which is the same as the beast in Revelation, arises out of the Roman Empire; it is not Antiochus Epiphanes.
  • 2
    Discussion of the prophecy and the four main interpretations
  • 3
    Critical scholars teach that Daniel was written after the events it claims to predict.
  • 4
    The ultimate purpose of this website is to explain the mark of the beast.
  • 5
    Does Revelation describe events chronologically? Must it be interpreted literally? The temple in heaven, Christ’s Return, Hear/See Combinations, and the Numbers in Revelation
  • 6
    There was a book in heaven that not even Christ was able to read because it was sealed up with seven seals. But, by overcoming, He became worthy to break the seven seals and open the book.
  • 7
    This is the apex of Revelation, providing an overview of history from before Christ until the end-time, with emphasis on the end-time persecution.
  • 8
    These plagues will follow after the end-time Christian persecution and will be followed by Christ’s return. What is the purpose of these?
  • 9
    Revelation has three beasts with seven heads and ten horns each; a great red dragon, the beast from the sea, and a scarlet beast.
  • 10
    Babylon is mentioned only once in the first 15 chapters but the seventh and final plague targets her specifically. Then Revelation 17 and 18 explain who and what she is.
  • 11
    The conclusion that Jesus is ‘God’ forms the basis of the Trinity Doctrine.
  • 12
    The decision to adopt the Trinity doctrine was not taken by the church.
  • 13
    Including Modalism, Eastern Orthodoxy view of the Trinity, Elohim, and Eternal Generation
  • 14
    Discussions of the Atonement – How does God do away with sin?
  • 15
    How people are put right with God
  • 16
    Must Christians observe the Law of Moses?
  • 17
    Must Christians observe the Sabbath?
  • 18
    Are the dead still alive and aware?
  • 19
    Will the lost be tormented in hell for all eternity?
  • 20
    And why does God not make an end to all evil?
  • 21
    Key events that transformed the church into an independent religion
  • 22
    When? How? Has His return been delayed?
  • 23
    I do not have any formal theological qualifications and I am not part of any religious organization. These articles are the result of my studies over many years.