Bible Question:

Why do we not keep the Sabbath? I realize that Pope Constantine changed the day of worship but the Bible repeats the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy.

Bible Answer:

We do not observe the Sabbath for three reasons.

The Sabbath Is Not A New Testament Command

The command to keep the Sabbath occurs first in the Old Testament in the Ten Commandments.

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. Exodus 20:9-10 (NASB)

It is then repeated in the Old Testament (Exodus 31:13; Deuteronomy 5:14-15). But when we come to the New Testament, we do not find the command to keep the Sabbath. The New Testament repeats all of the Ten Commandments except the one about keeping the Sabbath.

Christians Worshiped On Sunday

We do not keep the Sabbath for another reason. The early church did not keep the Sabbath! They gathered together on the first day of the week – Sunday.

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread . . . Acts 20:7 (NASB)

On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. 1 Corinthians 16:2 (NASB)

The early church honored Jesus’ resurrection to life by worshiping Him on Sunday, the day of the week He chose to rise from the dead.

Old Mosaic Covenant Is Gone

When Jesus died, the veil of the temple was split or torn apart. This was the entrance to the Holy of Holies.

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split . . .  Matthew 27:50-51 (NASB)

Why did this happen? When Jesus died, the ceremonial Mosaic system ended. That system  included the priesthood and the sacrificial system involving animals. The tearing of the veil from the top to the bottom signified that we no longer needed human priests as a mediator between God and man. That is the message of Hebrews 8:7-13. Sacrifices were no longer needed because Jesus is the ultimate and perfect sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 10:11-18). He accomplished His mission (John 19:30). The ceremonial Mosaic system ended when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, instituting the new covenant (Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20; Hebrew 9:15-16). The Sabbath and its trappings disappeared and we now worship on the first of the week. It symbolized a new beginning and new life (Romans 6:6;  Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10).

If the ceremonial Mosaic system was changed, should we not expect that God might also change the day of worship?  Therefore, we should be surprised that the early church was directed to worship on the first day of the week and that all of the Ten Commandments are repeated from the Old Testament, except for the command to keep the Sabbath.


We have discovered that it is important to God when we worship Him. The New Testament also teaches that it is important how we worship God. In Hebrews 10:23-25 God has made it clear that He wants us to worship regularly and with other Christians. In John 4:23-24 Jesus reminds us that when we worship God He wants our hearts and not our ritual.

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24 (NASB)

God wants your heart if you are on your knees, standing, singing, praying, reciting creeds, reading scripture, or greeting people when you gather with other believers. He cares about how you worship, and He cares about your heart attitude. Do you really adore Him?

Tom was a member of the church and had responsibility for the building. One Sunday morning he went into the room where the organ pipes were located to check the humidifier. While he was there, hidden from the sanctuary behind a screen which covered the pipes, some young children came bursting in.

As they ran down the aisle, Tom shouted out, “Stop running!” Since the children could not see him there was a moment of stunned silence, and then came the question, “Who is there?” Tom could not resist, “God! Don’t run in my house.” The children turned and quickly walked out of the sanctuary. Today, at least one of them, now an adult, still remembers that lesson about the need to honor and reverence God from the heart.

Suggested Links:

Do we have to keep the ten commandments given in the Old Testament?
Rejection In Nazareth
Should we worship on Sunday or the Sabbath?
When should we rest and worship God? Is there a special day?