a man standing on a rocky outcrop at sunset

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Sabbath?

The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week (Saturday), beginning at sunset Friday and ending at sunset Saturday. This 24-hour period is an opportunity to take a break from the stress and busyness of life, to be rejuvenated, to connect with friends and family, focus on relationships and to explore the wonders of nature.

Where did the Sabbath originate?

The Sabbath dates back to the beginnings of this world. In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we learn that God created the heavens and the earth, and everything in them—stars, sun, animals, birds and humans—in six days. Having completed His work, God rested on the seventh day. The Hebrew word used here for rested is shabbat, which simply means to cease from working. He “blessed the seventh day and made it holy” (Genesis 2:3). The Sabbath is a reminder that when God created the world, He carved out a specific time for a cessation of work—and that time of rest is still relevant for us today.

Why do we need the Sabbath?

Many people these days are at breaking point, suffering burnout, relationship breakdowns and mental health issues. Psychologists have long recognised that a time of rest and reflection is beneficial to people. In a society focused on achievements and possessions, the Sabbath can become a remedy for the stress and busyness of life. It is God’s gift to us: a beacon of hope and peace at the end of the week.

Who keeps the Sabbath?

Sabbath rest is not just confined to one person or one philosophy; it is designed for everyone. God made Sabbath as a gift for people throughout the ages. Millions of people around the world are Sabbath-keepers.

What do you do on the Sabbath?

The Sabbath is an amazing opportunity to forget about work, studies and daily chores and focus on the things that really matter—our wellbeing, our relationships, and the beauty of the world around us. There’s plenty to do—enjoy a walk or cycle in nature, meet up with family and friends, visit a sick friend or a relative living alone, invite people over for a meal. Many Sabbath-keepers also like to spend time working on their relationship with God, getting to know Him better and studying the Bible with other believers.

Does it really matter which day of the week is kept as the Sabbath?

Maybe you’re wondering, Can I make my rest day any day of the week? Why does it need to be Saturday? God made all the days of the week, but He singled out the seventh day and set it aside as a unique time. In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, it says that God “blessed the seventh day and made it holy” (Genesis 2:3). To bless, literally means to “make happy”. The Sabbath was blessed by God to be the happiest day of the week. God reiterated this message in the second book of the Bible, Exodus, where we find the Ten Commandments. The fourth commandment states: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy (Exodus 20:8)”. The other days of the week were not blessed. Nor were they made holy. The Sabbath day is the only day that has been specifically identified by God as having special meaning and significance.

Who changed the Sabbath day to Sunday?

The first day of the week—Sunday—is mentioned infrequently in the Bible. Nowhere does it suggest that Sunday was to be recognised as a day of rest or worship. The Bible offers not a single instance of Sunday observance. However, over a period of some centuries, Sunday-keeping became established. Some religious leaders embraced Sunday as a means of distancing themselves from the Jewish people (who were being persecuted), while pagans in the Roman Empire recognised Sunday in honour of the sun god. In AD321 Roman Emperor Constantine passed the first law elevating Sunday above the Bible Sabbath. Several years later, the church issued a decree honouring Sunday over the Sabbath of the Bible. Pagans and Christians were now united in recognising Sunday—the day of the sun—as being the day of weekly religious significance. However, it should be noted that this change has no foundation in the Bible.

Do you have more questions about Sabbath?