The first time we read of the Sabbath in the Bible is in Exodus 16:22-23, “And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 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.” The Hebrew word for Sabbath is ‘shabbath’ and literally means ‘an intermission.’  We see from its use that this day was meant to be a day of rest.  We read in Exodus 16:30, “So the people rested on the seventh day.”  Of course, this takes us back to the time of creation where we read in Genesis 2:1-2, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”  After six days of creation, He took a day of rest on the seventh day…the last day of the week.

It was in the giving of the Ten Commandments, where it was required that the Sabbath be recognized, and work was ceased.  Exodus 20:8-11 says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”  The day was kept holy by obeying the behavior assigned to that day.  It was a day of rest.

The keeping of the Sabbath had a specific connection to Israel, God’s earthly people.  In giving the Law, of which keeping the Sabbath was a part of, we read in Exodus 20:1-2, “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”  It is obvious that the Lord is addressing Israel in the giving of the Law.  We read later in verse 22, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL…”  Later we read of the Sabbath’s connection to Israel’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt in Deuteronomy 5:15, “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.”  The Lord Jesus spoke of the purpose of the Sabbath in Mark 2:27, “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.”  The Sabbath was intended to give a well-deserved rest to the people of God, the Israelites.

It is very interesting to note that the word ‘Sabbath’ is found 108 times in the Old Testament, it is used 50 times in the Four Gospels (where the Law was still in effect), it is used 9 times in the book of Acts, and only one time in all the books after that.  In all of Paul’s writings, he only mentioned the Sabbath once.  It is not mentioned in Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter, James, Jude, the three epistles of John or Revelation. 

We do not find any instruction for the believers during the ‘church age’ to keep the Sabbath.  In fact, the Sabbath was observed on the seventh day, the church today recognizes the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day.  It was on the first day of the week that the Lord Jesus rose from the dead (John 20:1-16).  It was on the first day of the week that the disciples began to meet (Acts 20:7).  It was on the first day of the week that the church collections were taken (1 Corinthians 16:2).  It was on the Lord’s Day when John received the Revelation (Revelation 1:9-20).  The Sabbath had its purpose for the Israelites.  Believers today are not instructed to keep the Sabbath.  (428.6)