When you think about Saturday, what comes to your mind? Kids probably think about cartoons, while parents consider it as a day to catch up on chores around the house. Others look forward to spending the day with friends or playing sports. Either way, Saturday seems to be the perfect day to relax and spend the day with loved ones. And there’s a good reason for that. Perhaps there is something ingrained in every person that seems to tell us that Saturdays are meant for family time, rest, and rejuvenation.
Perhaps, you recently found out that there is a Christian faith group that attends church on Saturdays. This may seem strange to you since Sunday is known as the day to go to church.
Seventh-day Adventists worship every day of the week, from Sunday to Saturday. That worship takes place in various forms; personal devotions in the morning or evening worship with family. Many Seventh-day Adventists institutions such as academies, universities, businesses, conference offices, and media outlets have worship with their co-workers before the work day begins. There are Adventists churches that meet together for prayer on Sundays, Wednesdays, or Fridays. Some church members gather in each others’ homes for worship during the week for small group worship. These are a few examples that show that Seventh-day Adventists worship throughout the week.
WHY IS SATURDAY SPECIAL?
The seventh day is a very special day in the Bible. Hebrew and traditional Christian calendars recognize Saturday as the seventh day of the week. The Ten Commandments are a demonstration of our love for God (the first four) and our love for others (the last six). The fourth commandment is about expressing our love to God by setting aside the day He assigned as holy. Every seventh day of the week, God commands His people to put aside their regular work and rest from their labor (Exodus 20:8-10). Resting from work allows the body to regenerate and recuperate after 6 six days of work. Sabbath and other holy days were also a time for corporate worship or “holy convocation.” When God spoke about Sabbath and other holy days, He said, “There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live. it is a Sabbath to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:3 NIV).
Seventh-day Adventists worship together on Saturdays and observe the seventh-day Sabbath because it is a demonstration of love to God. It is a day when God’s people can leave work alone, slow down, and take a deep breath.
IS KEEPING SABBATH WORKS?
Observing the seventh-day Sabbath is not about works but about resting in Jesus and His grace. It is the only commandment that calls for people to rest from works. When we keep Sabbath as God commanded, we recognize that we could never do enough to be worthy. There are many days when I am done with work and I wonder, “I didn’t do enough! I could’ve done more!” But sleep comes and I recognize that I could never do enough to be worthy. At the end of the week, no matter how much work you may have done, Sabbath rest allows us to focus on Jesus Christ and His merits. The seventh-day Sabbath is also symbolic of resting in Jesus. The Lord calls for anyone who is weary and burdened to come to Him for rest (Matthew 11:28). In Hebrews 4:10 we read that “He who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from His works as God did from His.” Sabbath rest reminds us that in Jesus we have rest – We are saved by His righteousness and not by our works. Because we are saved by His righteousness alone, He gives His people grace and power to keep His commandments in the very way He asks us to.
DOES IT MATTER WHICH DAY IS THE SABBATH?
Think about a husband and wife who celebrate their anniversary every year. Every day of the year, they show love to each other but they recognize that their wedding anniversary is a special day. They celebrate on the day as an expression for their love and devotion to each other.
Now suppose the wife decided that she wanted to change the anniversary date. Instead of celebrating on September 17th, she changes her anniversary date to September 18th. Despite her preference or reasoning, her anniversary will always be on September 17th. Imagine if each of the couple’s four children decided that they want to celebrate their parents’ anniversary on various days. They all have different reasons and feel that their parents would understand, as long as they show their appreciation. What if the couple’s friends decided to celebrate their anniversary on different dates. It’s not hard to imagine the chaos that would result from the different dates. While it might be great to receive birthday gifts throughout the year as each of my friends decide to celebrate my birthday according to their reasoning, it won’t be long until the festivities would disrupt my life.
At the end of creation, on the seventh day, “God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because He rested from all His work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:2-3 NASB). Because He knows what is best, God set apart the seventh day as the Sabbath. In His infinite wisdom and supremacy, He consecrated that day and asks for you and me to enjoy the rest and blessings of that day.