Where is it said that I must go to church service on any Sabbath day?

church sabbathQuestion:

“I can see how Saturday is the seventh day… I’ve come to realize that in order to fellowship with Christians of other denominations, Sunday is the only day that I can. This is the only day they meet. I’ve come to understand that it’s not worth arguing over a day of the week… Can you show me where it is said that I must go to church service on any Sabbath day? Please do not use ‘let us not forsake the assembly.’ This is too vague.”

New Hampshire


You wrote that you do not see the issue as being worth arguing over a day of the week. If it is just an issue of a day of the week, then I would agree with you whole heartedly. However the Bible brings out that it is much more than that. God must be quite concerned about this particular day of the week since He rested on that day from creation. He blessed and hallowed that day and He commanded us to keep it holy. In fact, when a man in Exodus went out to gather sticks on that day, contrary to the commandment, God required that he would be put to death. “Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD” (Exodus 31:15) That is very serious. We are not living under a theocracy as they were, and therefore capital punishment for disobedience to the first four commandments is no longer in effect. However, we can see that God is serious about which day we keep. In fact, it is not possible to keep holy the first day of the week, because it was never holy to begin with.

Regarding not having any Christians with which to fellowship on Saturday, it is true that most Christians gather on Sunday rather than Sabbath. However, I am sure if you look around you will find some who worship on Sabbath. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) There are many Sabbath-keeping groups around the country.

You are right that the majority of Christians honor Sunday rather than Sabbath. I do not see that it is a sin to meet with these people on Sunday, which I have done many times. Usually I do so with the intent of sharing the light of the Sabbath with them. It is a sin to work on Sabbath, and that is what the world is trying to get us to do. I believe this issue will become more prominent in the future when the Mark of the Beast will be enforced.

You brought up a very good point regarding the Sabbath. It is very clear in the Bible that the seventh day of the week (Saturday) is the Sabbath, and that this day is a day of rest. However it is not as clear regarding worship.

If the only purpose for the Sabbath is to rest our weary bodies, why not one day in six, or one day in eight. I mean, if one day in seven is good, then one day in six would be just as good, especially if you happen to work harder and need more rest. The yearly cycle is determined by the rotation of the earth around the sun. The monthly cycle is determined by the rotation of the moon around the earth. The daily cycle is determined by the rotation of the earth itself. There is no reason for the weekly cycle other than the fact that God instituted it at the creation of this earth. It is a commemoration of God’s creative power in creating the world.

“It [the Sabbath] is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”   (Exodus 31:17) God was refreshed. How was He refreshed? Was He weary? Certainly not. “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28)

God was not refreshed because He was weary. However, He was refreshed on the Sabbath. What refreshed Him? I believe He was refreshed because of His fellowship with His new creation. I also believe He wishes to be refreshed in this way every Sabbath, and He wants us to be refreshed by fellowship with Him as well.

God gave Ezekiel a plan (which was never carried out) for a sanctuary in which God would be more accessible on the Sabbath. “Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.” (Ezekiel 46:1) In this plan God’s people were expected to worship God on the Sabbath. “Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the LORD.” (Ezekiel 46:3) Here we have clear evidence that one of the purposes of the Sabbath was for the worship of God.

In Leviticus 23:3 we read, “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation [arqm “public meeting” or “assembly” (Strong’s)]; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD”.  The Sabbath is a convocation for public meetings or assemblies.

It was the custom of Jesus to enter into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” (Luke 4:16) Jesus taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath. “And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.” (Mark 1:21) “And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue.” (Mark 6:2) “And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered.” (Luke 6:6)

Paul also went into the synagogue on the Sabbath. “But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.” (Acts 13:14) Of Paul it is written, “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.” (Acts 16:13) “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” (Acts 17:2) “And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” (Acts 18:4)

The Scriptures were read on the Sabbath day. “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” (Acts 15:21) After Paul preached on the Sabbath to the Jews, the Gentiles asked him to preach to them the next Sabbath, “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath… And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” (Acts 13:42, 44) If there was no link between rest, worship of God, and assembling on the Sabbath, then the Gentiles should have asked Paul to preach to them the next day, on Sunday the first day of the week, or on some other day, but they waited a whole week for the next Sabbath day.

God says that the Sabbath is His day, not ours. It is true that the Sabbath was made for man—made for his benefit, but that does not change the fact that it is God’s holy day. “Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD.” (Exodus 31:15) The Sabbath is holy to the Lord, not holy for ourselves. “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD” (Isaiah 58:13) We are to consider the Sabbath as the holy of the Lord, and honour Him on that day.

“And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.”  (Exodus 16:23) You cannot have “the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord” on any other day than the day which He blessed and made holy. You can see here that the rest is unto the Lord, not unto ourselves. There is no other day that will do as a substitute for this holy Sabbath day, no matter how eloquent a man may preach otherwise.

Also, it is clear here that the Sabbath and worship are linked in the fact that we are to participate in “the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.” If this just meant physical rest for our own bodies alone, then many heathens and pagans have kept the Sabbath just as truly as any Jew or Christian ever did. Yet it is clear that this is not the case. From the testimony of Scripture it is clear that the Sabbath was designed for man to rest from earthly cares and devote himself to honoring, worshiping, and fellowshipping with God. I hope this helps to answer your questions.