- As it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God’s appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a positive moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy unto him, 1 which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was The Last Day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of The Last Day of the week being abolished. 2
- Gen. 2:3; Exod. 20:8-11; Mark 2:27-28; Rev. 1:10
- John 20:1; Acts 2:1; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1; Rev. 1:10; Col. 2:16-17
The law of nature reveals to us that in general a proportion of time, by God’s appointment, be set apart for the worship of God. This is also evidenced by the feasts and religious days that all religions have had. But this says nothing how long or when this proportion of time should be. That is revealed by His Word as, for example, is the acceptable way of worshiping Him revealed only by His Word (paragraph 1). The Confession then goes on to talk about the day of worship. The commandment is said to be a positive moral, and perpetual commandment. What do these words mean? Positive is something which is added to the law of nature or the moral law. It is not intuitive or part of that which is written in the hearts of men. That which is written in the hearts of men is that a proportion of time should be set apart for the worship of God. But as to when this time is, is revealed by His Word. It is also a moral commandment. It has its ground in God and its essence is written in the hearts of all men. Lastly, it is said to be a perpetual commandment, i.e., one which will not go away but remain with man forever. What does this commandment do? It is said to be binding on all men, in all ages that one day in seven is a sabbath to be kept holy unto Him (Ex. 20:8-11). This is the essence of the Sabbath commandment: one day in seven is a Sabbath unto the Lord. Finally, the Confession goes on to identify the specific day of the Sabbath under the Old Testament and the New Testament. Prior to the resurrection of Christ, it fell on The Last Day of the week. But from the resurrection of Christ, it was changed into the first day of the week (John 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7; 1Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10). The first day of the week is also called the Lord’s day in Scripture and history (see the sections below). The Lord’s day is to be continued as the Sabbath under the New Covenant, hence it is called the Christian Sabbath. The observation of The Last Day of the week has been abolished with the resurrection of Christ and the change of the specific day of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first (or eight).
This is a topic that has fascinated me for some time. When I first read the Confession, I could remember that I had a general agreement with what was said here, but I couldn’t have made a biblical case for it. At some times I thought that the Sabbath was abolished, other times I thought it was not. I was not sure. A desire came in me a while ago to study this subject and to understand why Reformed Christians observe the Christian Sabbath. By the grace of God, I was and am convinced that the Lord’s commandments are not bur...