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Question and Answer

According to Genesis 2:2, God blessed the seventh day and set it apart. Shouldn't we be worshiping on Saturday, not Sunday?

People often wonder whether Sabbath worship is still required by God. Even though the Sabbath was mentioned in the creation story (Gen. 2:2), the Sabbath command was not a creation ordinance. God ceased His creative activity on the seventh day and set it apart, but He did not command His people to keep the Sabbath at that time.

The first time we see the Sabbath presented as a command is after Israel’s Exodus from Egypt (Ex. 16:23–26) with the 10 Commandments (Ex. 20:8–11). Just as the rainbow was an outward sign of God’s covenant with Noah (Gen. 9:12–17) and circumcision of God’s covenant with Abraham (Gen. 17:11), the Sabbath was a sign of the Mosaic covenant. In Exodus 31:13, God commanded the Israelites: “You must observe My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between me and you for the generations to come.”

When Jesus came, His followers no longer had to live according to the Mosaic Law; they were under the New Covenant. In Hebrews 8:13 (TLV), the author declares: “He has treated the first as old; but what is being made old and aging is close to vanishing.” Paul describes the Mosaic Law as “chiseled in letters on stone” (2 Cor. 3:7), a reference to the Ten Commandments. He says their glory is “fading away,” and the New Covenant, which endures, is even “more glorious” (2 Cor. 3:11).

How does this affect our view of the Sabbath? First, we are not required to worship on the seventh day. The Sabbath command is the only one of the Ten Commandments not repeated in the New Covenant. However, this does not mean we don’t need a day of rest and worship. Although Christians are no longer under the Law of Moses, we shouldn’t disregard it. It is God’s Word. Clearly, God commanded His people to take one day a week for physical rest and spiritual renewal. We should continue to do so, it just doesn’t have to be on the seventh day.

BY Dr. Michael Rydelnik

Dr. Michael Rydelnik is professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute and the Bible teacher on Moody Radio’s Open Line, answering listener Bible questions on over 200 stations nationwide across Moody Radio. The son of Holocaust survivors, he was raised in an observant Jewish home in Brooklyn, N.Y. As a high school student, Michael became a follower of Jesus the Messiah and began teaching the Bible almost immediately. He is the author of Understanding the Arab Israeli Conflict and The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? He is the co-editor of the Moody Bible Commentary, a commentary on the whole Bible by the faculty of Moody Bible Institute. Michael served on the translation team of the Holman CSB Bible and contributed to several other books and study Bibles. Michael is a regular contributor to the Day of Discovery television program and appeared in the Lee Stroebel video The Case for Christ. Michael and his wife, Eva, have two adult sons who call and write all the time. The Rydelniks live in Chicago, Ill., and enjoy leading study groups to Israel and hiking with their two collies.

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