Christian Churches of God

No. CB21




The Sabbath Day

(Edition 2.0 20020217-20061102)

Children often have many questions concerning why we keep the Sabbath holy and why other children go to church on Sunday. This paper addresses some of the questions young children might have about the Sabbath. It will help them to understand God’s message and the meaning behind the weekly Sabbath.




Christian Churches of God




(Copyright ã 2002, 2006 Carrie Farris and Wade Cox)


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The Sabbath Day

Why we keep the Sabbath Day

The Sabbath is holy time. God wants us to keep His Sabbath Day always (Ex. 20:8-11). The Sabbath is so we can all rest (Deut. 5:14), study God’s word, pray to Him and think about all the things He is doing for us. It is a day of rest from doing the ordinary things that we might do on the other six days.

The Sabbath is one of God’s commandments to us. God gave us Ten Commandments and we will see below that the command to keep the Sabbath holy is the fourth one.

The Ten Commandments are:

You should have no other gods but me.

You should not make any graven images for yourselves.

You should not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

Honor your father and your mother.

You should not kill.

You should not commit adultery.

You should not steal.

You should not lie about your neighbor.

You should not covet.

We have to obey all of God’s commandments but here we are only concerned about the fourth one. We can learn more about these Ten Commandments in the paper The Ten Commandments (No. CB17).

We work six days and rest on the seventh

We are to work for six days a week. We are not to be still or lazy. Whatever we find to do we should do with all of our might (Eccl. 9:10). We should learn to work hard and always do our best no matter what the job. We should also be willing to help people who need help. This can be for people we know or for people we don’t know. It is always good to be nice to others, but we should never talk to strangers or go with people we don’t know before asking our parents if it is all right. (3Jn. 1:5-7).

The Preparation Day

The day before the Sabbath is the day we should prepare for the Sabbath (Ex. 16:5). We call this the preparation day.

The sixth day of our week is Friday. On that day we should buy our food, clean our houses and prepare our clothes for the Sabbath. We should take care of all our chores and as much preparation of our food as possible (Ex. 16:23). This is especially so women can rest and learn about God on the Sabbath too and not have to spend that time cooking and cleaning. Men also have to prepare for the Sabbath by helping their wives and the children to be ready.

Exodus 16:23 he said to them, "This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay by to be kept till the morning.'" (RSV)

Was the Sabbath changed to Sunday?

Some people say that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday, or that we do not have to keep the Sabbath at all. However, God does not change (Mal. 3:6) and neither does His Sabbath Day.

Malachi 3:6 "For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. (RSV)

Jesus said that the Law would not pass away until all is accomplished (Mat. 5:17-18). So, until all the things in the Bible are done we must keep God’s Law, and keeping the Sabbath is one of God’s Laws.

Matthew 5:17-18 "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. (RSV)

No man or church has any authority to change God’s Law. The Sabbath is a sign of God’s people (Ezek. 20:12). So those people who keep Sunday holy are not obeying God’s Law. Jesus Christ kept the Sabbath, and the Feasts, and Holy days of God; so did the apostles and the early church and so should we. Do not believe people when they say "the Sabbath was changed to Sunday…". That is not what God says in the Bible.

The Sabbath Day

The seventh day is the Sabbath. It is called Saturday in the civil calendar. The Sabbath is always on the seventh day. The Sabbath starts when it gets dark on Friday night, and ends when it gets dark on Saturday evening. It cannot be moved to any other day.

We should not work on our house or in our yard on the Sabbath.

Jeremiah 17:22 And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers. (RSV)

The Sabbath is special to God. It is the day He rested after creating everything (Gen. 2:2-3).

Genesis 2:2-3 And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation. (RSV)

Parents and other adults shouldn’t go to work on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:8-11). Children don’t go to school either. We don’t play competition sports, or go to the movies, or spend the day watching television on the Sabbath. We should not go out to eat at a restaurant on the Sabbath. We should not buy anything or sell anything on the Sabbath (Neh. 10:31).

Nehemiah 10:31 and if the peoples of the land bring in wares or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day; and we will forego the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.

As much as possible we should keep away from people, places and things that would distract us from the Sabbath. We learn to know these things as we grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Law. When we are young, we do as our parents direct us.

The command thou shall not kindle a fire thoughout your habitations (Ex. 35:3) refers to working with fire. There are people who use fire to work with metal and glass, and we are not to make a fire for that reason. It does not mean that we cannot use our stove, fireplace, or to light a candle.

Jesus’ disciples picked corn on the Sabbath and people got angry with them because they thought Jesus was breaking the Sabbath. But Jesus showed us that he was Lord of the Sabbath; not that we do not have to keep the Sabbath, but rather that it should be kept the way he did it (Mat. 12:1-12). He taught us that it is alright to pick enough food to eat on the Sabbath, but not to harvest everything and make hard work of it.

In Luke 14:1-5 it shows that it is important to take care of emergencies on the Sabbath. We can go to the hospital if we get hurt, or if we are sick, or to have a baby. We can help the needy. We should always plan ahead if it is possible, but sometimes accidents happen and people get sick, and we have to deal with these situations. God understands that and allows us to tend to these things. This is called "the ox in the ditch" situation. It is something we did not plan, but nevertheless must be dealt with, even on the Sabbath.

The Sabbath is a day to be happy, not a day to be sad. We should rejoice in the Sabbath and bring joy to the house of God (Isa. 58:13-14).

There are things we can do on the Sabbath to make it a happy time. It usually means spending the day with our family and often with other people who keep God’s Sabbath holy. Most parents organize special treats and activities for their children to do on the Sabbath. It is alright for children to play on the Sabbath but that would not include noisy rough play. Some families go to the park or other outside places so they can enjoy God’s natural creations. Learning about the One True God and His Laws can be fun too. These are usually things that we don’t do on the other six days, as it is a special time.

Keeping the Sabbath holy also includes meeting together with likeminded people so that we can fellowship and grow in the knowledge of God’s ways. This was taught by Jesus’ apostle, Paul (Heb. 10:23-25).

We should always prepare for the Sabbath. Young people will rely on their parents to do this for them. We should help each other and show that we love each other as Jesus Christ loves us. We must continue to learn about God’s Law as we grow in understanding.

In Luke 5:5-14 it tells a story about Jesus showing others that if they followed him then he could change their lives for the better. Also, with his help, they could help others do the same thing. In this story, Jesus also heals a man who had a really bad disease. Jesus made this man whole by healing him and he makes us whole by helping us become closer to his Father and our God.

The Church of God is small and we must meet together when we can. It is always good to be with other people who do what we do, and believe what we believe. There have been many attempts over time to stop worship on the seventh day. This will happen again. We should not be afraid. If we obey God’s Law He will look after us.

If you have parents who keep the Sabbath Day holy and teach you about the One True God and His Laws, then you are blessed. Remember, you are sanctified, that is made holy, by your parents before you are old enough to be baptised into the body of Jesus Christ, which is the Church of God. Every one of us has a responsibility to God to keep His Sabbath Day holy.

Refer also to the paper The Sabbath (No. 31).