The Ten Commandments and the Sabbath in the New Testament

Is there any evidence in the New Testament before or after the cross that even one of the Ten Commandments was abolished? The most commonly attacked Commandment is one that defines it is God we love and worship and yet we find Paul keeping the Sabbath day, as his custom was since childhood, in a Jewish Synagogue. A custom is something you do religiously and without failure. What was Paul's CUSTOM and EXAMPLE while establishing the early Christian Church? Notice in the following verse that this is a Jewish synagogue and that Jews have all through history, without change, worshipped on Saturday as they still do today. Acts 17:1-2. The Jews and Pharisees which Paul was since CHILDHOOD, have ALWAYS kept Saturday as the Sabbath. Acts 26:4-5. This is proof conclusive of Saturday Sabbath keeping AFTER the cross. It was not only Paul's custom and example but that of Jesus also and He is our perfect example. Luke 4:16.

Most Christians seem to think that everything starts fresh in the New Testament but this could not be further from the truth. Just because the Translators divided the Bible into two books called the Old and New Testaments does not mean everything starts again. Absolutely everything from the Old Testament continues into the New Testament as if it was just one book not divided, and the only changes between the Old and the New Testaments are what we are specifically told has changed. And so you also do not establish if one of the Ten Commandments still exists in the New Testament by looking for it being repeated. To the contrary, you have to look to see if there is an unmistakable instruction that says a Commandment is gone or changed and if scripture is silent then it still exists. Are we told the Mosaic law and all its sacrifices ended at the cross? Yes! Are we told the moral law has ended or any part of it such as the Sabbath? No! To the contrary, Scripture is clear that all Ten Commandments remain. God does not work on assumptions and especially on something as important as His Moral law such as His Sabbath. If a Commandment of God was changed then the Bible would be SCREAMING the change at us.

In any case, the following New Testament scriptures listed after each of the Ten Commandments, confirm either explicitly or by example, that Jesus and the apostles viewed all the Ten Commandments as a necessary part of Christian living. You can also use the table further below if you prefer an easier way to compare the Old and the New Testaments using just a one scripture example. Note also that all the Ten Commandments, which of course includes the Sabbath, can be found in the New Testament after the cross. Read New Testament Sabbath keeping for very detailed information on the fourth Commandment.

The Ten Commandments in the New Testament Comparison Table

Comparison table of the Ten Commandments as found in the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments in the New Testament giving just one of the many examples that could be given as seen above. Note also James 2:10, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” God inspired James to write that EVERY point of the law is essential. Not only do we find all Ten Commandments in the New Testament but we also find all the Ten Commandments covered in this one verse without quoting them individually, because according to the book of James, if someone breaks any one of them, he is guilty of breaking them all.

Ten Commandments in the Old Testament Ten Commandments in the New Testament
1. “You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3 1. “You shall worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10
2. “You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: You shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my Commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6 2. “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:14
3. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Exodus 20:7 3. “That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.” 1 Timothy 6:1
4. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labour, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your 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.” Exodus 20:8-11 4. “For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day as follows: On the seventh day God rested from all his works, There remains, therefore, a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who enters God's rest has himself rested from his own works, just as God did from his.” ISV Hebrews 4:4, 9-10. See solid New Testament basis for Sabbath Keeping below.
5. “Honour your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God giveth you.” Exodus 20:12 5. “Honour your father and your mother.” Matthew 19:19
6. “You shall not kill.” Exodus 20:13 6. “You shall not kill.” Romans 13:9
7. “You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14 7. “You shall not commit adultery.” Matthew 19:18
8. “You shall not steal.” Exodus 20:15 8. “You shall not steal.” Romans 13:9
9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” Exodus 20:16 9. “You shall not bear false witness.” Romans 13:9
10. “You shall not covet your neighbour's house, you shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbour's.” Exodus 20:17 10. “You shall not covet.” Romans 7:7

So is the evidence conclusive that all Ten Commandments still stand or does the Bible indicate that we can now live in wilful deliberate sin? We are indeed saved by the Grace of God through faith in Christ, but is this a license to continue in sin? Did Jesus die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin or so we could go on living in sin? What does the only source of truth that we can fully trust have to say on this very important topic that nailed our loving Saviour to the cross? The above scriptures should leave no doubt as to the answers to these questions, but just for extra clarity, here are the answers put simply and again by scripture alone while covering the main areas of confusion and deception.

First we need to know what the Bible definition of sin is. 1 John 3:4. So where there is sin, there has to be a law. Romans 4:15. If there is no law then there can be no sin and if there is no sin then there is no need for a Saviour.

Did Paul say we can sin now that we are under Grace which would therefore prove the law was abolished? Romans 6:1-2, Romans 6:14-15.

Paul demonstrated in Galatians chapters 2, 3 and 4 and Romans 3 that no flesh is justified by the law and that righteousness comes by FAITH. Does this therefore mean that the Ten Commandments are now made null and void because of FAITH? Romans 3:31. So who is justified before God? Romans 2:13.

Did Jesus say he came to do away with the law? Matthew 5:17. Did Jesus say He was going to change the law by even so much as a single letter? Matthew 5:18, Luke 16:17. Did Jesus say we have to teach the law as well as obey it? Matthew 5:19.

Does Jesus say that those who practise lawlessness, i.e., break the Ten Commandments will enter the kingdom? Matthew 7:21-23, 1 John 2:4. So what does Jesus say that one has to do to inherit eternal life? Matthew 19:16-19.

Can we keep just nine of the Ten Commandments and are we judged by obedience to the law? James 2:10-12, Matthew 5:18, Luke 16:17.

So what are the consequences for wilful sin, i.e., wilfully disobeying even ONE of the Ten Commandments? Hebrews 10:26-29, Ephesians 5:3, 5.

What are the blessings for not living in wilful sin, i.e., obeying the Ten Commandments in loving obedience? Revelation 22:14.

The answers are indisputable and any other arguments would be in total contradiction to the words of Jesus, Paul and James just to name a few. I think Solomon summed it up well with his final conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

The Ten Commandments in the New Testament – Jesus versus Paul

In the table below we have a comparison of the last six of the Ten Commandments in the New Testament related to loving your neighbour as yourself as quoted by Jesus and Paul. They both quote five out of the last six Commandments with Jesus not mentioning the tenth Commandment on coveting while Paul did. And Paul on the other hand did not mention the fifth Commandment on honouring your Mother and Father while Jesus did. Jesus and Paul have covered all of the last six Commandments related to loving your neighbour. So you will note that what Paul had to say on the Commandments 30 years after the cross was basically no different to Jesus.

Ten Commandments in the New Testament - Jesus Ten Commandments in the New Testament - Paul
Matthew 19:16-19 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest you me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, You shall do no murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honour your father and your mother: and, You shall love your neighbour as thyself. Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Notice how both Jesus and Paul say that loving your neighbour as yourself is obeying the last six Commandments which are related to loving your fellow man. Note also that Paul further clarifies this fact by saying “and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbour as thyself.” Loving your neighbour as yourself is just a saying and a way of briefly summing up the last six Commandments and in no way abolishes any of them. Remember that Jesus and Paul are also both quoting the Old Testament. See Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Note also that Deuteronomy 6:5 summed up all the Ten Commandments as this verse is quoted 17 verses after the second reading of the Ten Commandments! See also what are the two greatest Commandments.

New Testament Sabbath Keeping Proof

We have already seen that Paul and the Apostles undoubtedly kept the Seventh Day Sabbath but some ask is there any specific reference to keeping the Sabbath after the cross, and the answer is yes. Here are just a couple. In reference to the future destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Jesus states in Matthew 24:20, “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.” Why would Jesus say pray that you don't have to flee on the Sabbath if we are not keeping it anymore? There is no way Jesus would say this unless the Sabbath was still going to be kept subsequent to His death. This is solid proof of Sabbath keeping after the cross on its own. The gospel of Luke states in Luke 23:56 that when the body of Christ was being prepared by His followers, “they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the Commandment.” Note that Luke wrote this 30-50 years after the cross. The New Covenant was sealed and set in place by the blood of Jesus when He died on the cross that Friday afternoon. Yet Luke says they are still physically keeping the Sabbath according to the Commandment after the New Covenant had begun. Galatians 3:15 states that no man can ADD to it or TAKE away from it. Any lawyer will tell you that the will and testament of a person CANNOT be changed after the death of a testator and Hebrews 9:16-17 states that the New Covenant is NOT in force until the death of the testator being Christ Jesus in this case. Luke of course would also never make a statement like this without telling us of a change on something as important as the Ten Commandments. This would have been the perfect opportunity for Luke to say something but he still states they kept it “according to the Commandment,” and after the New Covenant begun.

While an extremely clear directive is given for Sabbath keeping in Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15, the next closest passage to a command for Sabbath-keeping in the New Testament is found in Hebrews 4:9. In this verse we find the Greek word “sabbatismos”. The King James and New King James Version and a few other Bibles render the word as “rest” while the Amplified Bible the ASV, NASB, NIV, RSV and NRSV and several other translations somewhat more correctly render that word as “Sabbath rest”. A few Bibles such as the Darby translation transliterate the word as “Sabbatism”. Its literal translation however, is “Sabbath observance” and “The Scriptures” translated by The Institute for Scripture Research render it as such while the Thayer dictionary and the Bible in Basic English give the equally literal phrase “Sabbath keeping”. So how does the excuse “the Sabbath is now just resting in Jesus” constitute “Sabbath observance” or “Sabbath keeping” as some claim? And why would you have to be concerned with physically fleeing persecution on the Sabbath day as Jesus stated when the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. (Matthew 24:20) if the Sabbath was just resting in Jesus? Those who are deceived or against the Ten Commandment law of God had to justify this passage somehow and I guess that was the best explanation they could come up with.

Here are just a few points that prove the Sabbath remains a physically rest.

  1. The Greek word for rest in Hebrews 4:9 indisputably refers to a PHYSICAL rest as we have just seen.
  2. When the body of Christ was being prepared, Luke says “they rested the Sabbath day according to the Commandment.” (Luke 23:56) The New Covenant began Friday when Jesus died on the cross and yet Luke says they are still physically keeping the Sabbath according to the Commandment. Luke wrote this 30-50 years after the cross. See also is the Sabbath in the New Covenant.
  3. Isaiah 66:22-23 proves we PHYSICALLY keep the Sabbath in the New Heaven and Earth.
  4. The words of Jesus show that everyone was still PHYSICALLY keeping the Sabbath in 70 A.D. (Matthew 24:20)
  5. The Sabbath cannot be a spiritual rest if one had to worry about PHYSICALLY fleeing on this day.
  6. Our Creator God knew we needed a PHYSICAL rest at least one day a week and knowing Jesus does not change that requirement.
  7. God and His law changes not. Hebrews 13:8, Psalms 111:7-8, Luke 16:17. See also the Ten Commandments and God's Character.

In regard to taking “Sabbatismos” literally, Professor Andrew T. Lincoln, on page 213 in his symposium From Sabbath To The Lord's Day states, “The use of sabbatismos elsewhere in extant Greek literature gives an indication of its more exact shade of meaning. It is used in Plutarch, De Superstitione 3 (Moralia166A) of Sabbath observance. There are also four occurrences in post canonical literature that are independent of Hebrews 4:9. They are Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 23:3; Epiphanius, Adversus Haereses 30:2:2; Martyrium Petri et Pauli 1; Apostolic Constitutions 2:36:2. In each of these places the term denotes the observance or celebration of the Sabbath. This usage corresponds to the Septuagint usage of the cognate verb sabbatizo (cf. Exodus 16:30; Leviticus. 23:32; 26:34; 2 Chronicles. 36:21). Thus the writer to the Hebrews is saying that since the time of Joshua an observance of the Sabbath rest has been outstanding.” The literal translation then of Hebrews 4:9 is, “Therefore a Sabbath observance has been left behind for the people of God.” The internal evidence of the preceding verses would also indicate that the Sabbath observance mentioned in this verse has to be the Seventh day Sabbath and not Sunday, which did not take on the name the Lord's Day until the fourth century. In verse 8, the author of Hebrews states, “For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not afterward have spoken of another day.” On first glance in our English translations, the word “another” might give the appearance of a different day. However, in the Greek, there are two words for “another”. “Heteros” means “another of a different kind”, while “allos” means “another of the same kind”. The word used in Hebrews 4:8 is “allos”, indicating a Sabbath day of the same kind as referred to in Hebrews 4:5-8, that is, the seventh-day Sabbath. In verse 7, the author of Hebrews uses the term “certain day”. The Greek word for “certain” is “tis”. It is undoubtedly referencing a specific day and not the general thought of an eternal rest. The force of Hebrews 3:11-4:11 then must be saying that because Christians look toward the eternal rest of heaven, the type or shadow of the earthly Sabbath rest still remains or is “left behind”, literally for Christians to observe. This is very significant in light of the greater context of the book of Hebrews which deals with the entire Aaronic priesthood and its methods of worship as found in the Old Covenant being supplanted by the Melchizedek priesthood of Jesus Christ. As the author states in Hebrews 12:27, “And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things which have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain.

The Fourth Commandment from creation to eternity

There are now over 500 Sabbath keeping denominations in the world that keep the true Sabbath which equates to more than 20 million people. This count has grown by about 100 denominations from the first Ten Commandments day to the second and the count continues to grow as the truth is rediscovered by those who truly love God with all their heart, soul and might.

The Sabbath has existed since creation when God added the Seventh day to the week with the one and only purpose of a Sabbath rest. This is the only reason we have a seven day week today. God also blessed and sanctified this day for Holy use. This was done before sin had entered the World and was part of God's perfect plan. Most Christians do not know that the word translated “rested” in our English Bibles in Genesis 2:3 is actually “shabbath” in the Hebrew and means Sabbath. Here is the word Sabbath right at creation. Saturday is also called the Sabbath in over 105 languages just as it was named at creation. This dates right back to Babel in Genesis 11, where Saturday was recognized as the Sabbath day and was incorporated into the very name of the day. In English we have the Pagan name Saturday. In reference to the future destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus states in Matthew 24:20, “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.” Jesus is therefore saying that the Sabbath will be kept subsequent to His death. And Luke 23:56 states that when the body of Christ was being prepared, “they rested the Sabbath day according to the Commandment.” and this was after the New Covenant begun. There is absolutely no way that Luke would not have know about any change to the Sabbath Commandment one month after the cross yet alone more than 30 years after the cross. Isaiah also prophesied in Isaiah 66:22-23 that, “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make … and from one Sabbath to another, shall ALL flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.” We should of course expect nothing less than this solid evidence since Jesus said that not a letter of the law is going to pass as long as heaven and earth are still here. See misunderstandings on Jesus Jesus fulfilled the law or the purpose and meaning of the Ten Commandments for more on this passage in Matthew chapter five.

The Bible says where there is no law there is no transgression (Romans 4:15) so the Ten Commandments had to exist from the very beginning or Cain could not have been guilty of murder, and since the Sabbath was sanctified and made Holy before sin at creation and the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments, it had to be kept by Adam and Eve. It was also kept by Abraham, it was kept in the exodus from Egypt before the Ten Commandments were given, when God tested to see if His children would keep all the Ten Commandments by seeing if they would keep THE Seventh day as per the Commandment. It was kept by the Jews, it was kept by Jesus, it was kept by Paul, it was kept by the Apostles, it was kept by the early Church by both Jews and Gentiles, and this is also verified by Jesus who showed it would be kept in 70 AD when the temple was destroyed. History also further proves this by the fact that reliable unbiased history sources show that it was still being kept around 90-120 AD where some Christians first changed to Sunday to avoid persecution for Judaism. History shows the final change of the day began with Constantine in 321 AD in favour of Sun worship. See did Constantine change the Sabbath to Sunday for detailed information. The Sabbath was almost murdered out of existence through the dark ages when the Roman Catholic Church ruled as Church and state for those terrible 1260 dark years, and Revelation 12:17 speaks of a remnant of God's original Church that would arise after these dark ages that Satan would hate and make war with because it would start keeping all of the Ten Commandments once again. To top this all off, God showed Isaiah that we will still be keeping the Sabbath in the new Heaven and the New Earth. Here is the Sabbath being kept from the beginning and throughout all eternity which includes now. Select Catholic Ten Commandments for more on how Satan deceived most Churches into accepting Sunday as the Sabbath. See also who or what is the Antichrist.