An Open Letter to Christian Pastors and Theologians: A Call to Return to the Biblical Sabbath

An Open Letter to Christian Pastors and Theologians

A Call to Return to the Biblical Sabbath

By Dr. Douglas Hamp M.A., Ph.D.

Wheat Ridge, Colorado

May 28, 2018

As teachers of God’s Word, our job is to teach the text; we’re not to add or take away. (Dt 4:2) Why, then, have we abandoned the seventh-day-Sabbath? How do most pastors hold it in contempt and no longer remember or observe it? Moreover, how can some say observing it is putting oneself back under the Jewish laws and one risks going to Hell when God created it as a blessing to humanity? Where did God change it? God the Father never said it would change. Nor did our Lord Jesus, nor did Paul or the other apostles. It’s time we get back to the Sabbath; a gift from God to humanity.

The Bible never changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day; the Catholic Church openly admits they changed it. “The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday by the plenitude of that divine power which Jesus Christ bestowed upon her!” —Rev. Peter Geiermann, C.SS.R., (1946), p. 50.

We can no longer claim we don’t need to keep it because it is not reiterated in the NT when in fact it was kept by Jesus, Paul, and the apostles. Bestiality isn’t reiterated in the NT, but we teach our congregations it’s wrong; why is the Sabbath different? Why should Jesus need to restate it when He never rescinded it?

Paul’s Acts 20:7 message took place in the evening of the first day of the week, which was Saturday evening from sundown until midnight (biblical days begin after sunset not at the Roman-established midnight).  Nevertheless, even if his teaching had taken place Sunday evening, that would still not constitute a change in the Sabbath. Setting aside an offering on the first day (cf. I Cor 16:2) likewise would not constitute a change. The first day of the week, not Sabbath, was when they would handle money. John being in the Spirit on the Lord’s day (Rev 1:10) is not a change in the Sabbath; God declares His day is the Sabbath. “Call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable.” (Isa 58:13) There simply is no New Testament directive to abandon the Sabbath. None.

Let’s go back to the beginning for perspective: God the Son (Jn 1:1-3) created the seventh day and rested [וַיִּשְׁבֹּת֙ vayishbot, shabbat] from his work. Adam and Eve were there to witness God blessing and resting (lit. “shabbating”) on the seventh day which He modeled for them to continue practicing.

Nehemiah reminds us it was God himself who “came down also on Mount Sinai, spoke with them from heaven…You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, and commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand of Moses Your servant.” (Neh 9:14) The law of Moses is God’s law which is the law of Christ.

Our Lord Jesus himself kept the seventh-day Sabbath and never rescinded it; rather He reminded those who had made it a burden, that it was a day He created for man to rest and enjoy. He said we ought to keep his commandments as he kept the Father’s: “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. (Jn 15:10)

The apostle Paul repeatedly stated that we don’t “make void the law through faith…on the contrary, we establish the law. (Rom 3:31) He said “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. (Rom 7:12) Paul echoed King Solomon’s words: “keeping the commandments of God is what matters.” (I Cor 7:19) We must ask ourselves why most pastors no longer keep something that God the Son blessed, created for us, commanded us to keep and never rescinded.

Therefore, let’s boldly tell our congregations the joy of the Sabbath, God’s gift to mankind: “Call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable…then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth… the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isa 58:13-14)

Click to download: Open Letter to Pastors about Sabbath by Douglas Hamp