Which Day Is The Sabbath

  Did Abraham, the great patriarch, keep God’s Sabbath? Absolutely! For God said, “Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments my statutes, and my laws.” (Gen. 26:5) Let’s look at biblical history to determine which day is the Sabbath.

            Succeeding generations of Israelites clearly understood from these verses that Abraham kept the seventh-day Sabbath—the Sabbath that God had “sanctified” at the creation of mankind. And in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul tells us that Abraham is the “father of the faithful.” (Romans 4:11, 16)

            Many will argue that the Ten Commandments—including the fourth one about keeping the Sabbath holy—were just part of the “Old Covenant” that God made with Israel at Mount Sinai in the days of Moses. These people contend that, because the Old Covenant ended at Christ’s death, the Ten Commandments—with the Sabbath requirement—ended also.

            But it was at the beginning of human history that God made the seventh-day Sabbath “holy time.” And about 2000 years later, Abraham, the father of the faithful, set for us an example of faithfulness by keeping God’s commandments and statues—obviously including the observance of the Sabbath day. Remember, this was still long before there was any Old Covenant with Israel.

            Hundreds of years later, we find Abraham’s descendants being led out of Egyptian slavery by Moses in the Exodus. Several weeks before the Old Covenant was proposed at Mount Sinai, God wanted to remind His people of the true Sabbath, which He had given mankind at creation. In case any of them had forgotten or become mixed up about His Sabbath—which was possible since the Israelites had been in Egyptian slavery for hundreds of years—God gave His people a series of signs to make clear to them which day He had made holy.

            Every day of the week, except Saturday, a special food from heaven called “manna” would blanket the ground in the morning like dew. The people were to gather it up each morning and eat it that same day. They could not keep it overnight, because that would cause it to breed worms and stink.

            There would be no manna on the ground on Saturdays. Every Friday, God gave them a double portion of manna—one portion for that day and another to be kept overnight and eaten on Saturday. From Friday to Saturday was the only time each week they were permitted to keep food overnight—for God was showing them that Friday was the preparation day for the Sabbath.

            Some Israelites went out and tried to find manna on the Sabbath. “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long do you people refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.’ So the people rested on the seventh day.” (Exodus 16:28-30) There can be no question about which day is the Sabbath day. Clearly it is the seventh day and not the first.