The 4th Commandment


The 4th commandment is the one commandment out of the ten commandments of God that has the most controversy surrounding it. Now there are three groups of Christians. Those who believe that all of the ten commandments have been abolished by Jesus. Those who believe that Jesus only abolished or changed the 4th commandment concerning the sabbath day. And those, like us, who believe that all of the ten commandments still stand and are binding upon every man and woman, including the 4th commandment.

We've already dealt with the belief used by the group of Christians that say Jesus abolished the ten commandments, and shown the Bible truth in "is the law abolished?" and "under grace not under law". So on this page we are going to deal with the belief by the group of Christians that say nine of the ten commandments still stand, but Jesus either abolished or changed the 4th commandment to do with the sabbath day.

4th Commandment and Creation

What I want to show you from the Bible is that the 4th commandment concerning the sabbath day (SEE HERE) did not start at Sinai, but at the very beginning of this world. At the end of creation week, what did God do? He created a day, nothing more, nothing less, just a day. That day was the seventh day of creation week. Let's take a look at what God did:


Genesis 2:2-3 .....'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. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that in it He had rested from all His work which God had created and made.'

The majority of professing Christians will say that Adam and Eve did NOT observe the sabbath day each seventh day, and that the 4th commandment did not begin at creation. Now why, if it was not God's purpose for Adam and Eve to rest on this day also from their work (Genesis 2:15), did He create another day? What purpose was it for? Did God need rest from His work? Of course not, He doesn't get tired like we do. So was the sabbath day made for God? No, Jesus confirmed that the sabbath day was made for man.

Mark 2:27 .....'The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.'

We know that Jesus here is talking about the sabbath day of the 4th commandment, because the Pharisees have just questioned Him about His disciples picking corn on the sabbath day. Now take a close look at what Jesus said above. He is pointing back to creation week and is joining the seventh day sabbath of the 4th commandment with creation. How? Look at what He said ..... "the sabbath was MADE for man." ..... When was the sabbath MADE? On the seventh day of creation! Do you see the connection? This is so important! The sabbath day was MADE on the seventh day of creation. Take another look at the verse above in Genesis. This is the very sabbath day of the 4th commandment.

Oh but there's no actual command to Adam and Eve to keep the day, I hear someone say. Well, where's the command for Adam and Eve to love the Lord with all their heart and soul? Where's the command to not have any other God's before the Lord? Where's the command to not lie, steal, kill? How did Cain know that killing his brother was wrong? How did Joseph know that committing adultery with Potiphar's wife was wrong? How? Because God in the beginning wrote His law upon the hearts of Adam and Eve and their descendants. And it was only because of how far man had fallen from God, that He had to write His law, the ten commandments, upon the stone tablets.

Exodus 20:8-11 .....'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.'

We can clearly see that the 4th commandment is pointing to that seventh day of creation. You have to completely reject the words of God contained in this commandment to suggest that the seventh day of creation is not the seventh day sabbath as per the 4th commandment. Look at the words of God in this commandment, they are so clear!

4th Commandment and Eternity

Will the 4th commandment concerning the sabbath day be kept on the new earth? Yes it will. Take a look at the following Bible verse from the prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 66:22-23 .....'For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the LORD.'

As we can see, this Bible verse is clearly talking about the new earth where we will live for eternity, and it confirms that every sabbath, we will go to worship God. But what about the new moon? Well, new moon is just a way of saying "every month". What will we do every month? Take a look at the following Bible verse in Revelation:

Revelation 22:2 .....'In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.'

We will go to the new Jerusalem every sabbath day to worship God, and also every month to worship Him and eat new fruit from the tree of life. What a wonderful God we have! I'm looking forward to those days!

Now why, when the sabbath day was instituted at creation, and confirmed in the ten commandments and binding upon every man and woman who wanted to serve God (Isaiah 56), would it be abolished by Christ Jesus, only to be reinstated for eternity on the new earth? Makes no sense. The fact is, the 4th commandment was never abolished by Jesus, and still remains binding in the eternal law of God. So let's look at the Bible verses that those Christians use who believe the 4th commandment to be abolshed.

Is The 4th Commandment Abolished?

BIBLE VERSE 1 - Colossians 2:16-17 .....'Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or the new moon, or of the sabbath days; which are a shadow of things to come.'

This popular Bible verse that is applied to the sabbath of the 4th commandment is taken completely out of context and some key words are ignored. Paul is not talking about the seventh day sabbath here, but the ceremonial monthly and yearly sabbaths. Notice that word "therefore"? This means that we cannot understand this verse, unless we also study the previous verses. So what do the previous Bible verses say? ..... Colossians 2:14-15 .....'Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.' ..... The handwriting of ordinances are NOT the bible ten commandments, which were written on the stone tablets by the finger of God and placed inside the ark. The handwriting of ordinances were the laws of Moses written in the book of the law and placed outside the ark. Also it says above that these ordinances were "against us". The ten commandments were not against us, how could they be? They were laws of love! And if you read Deuteronomy 31:26, you will see that it was the ceremonial laws written in the book of the law by Moses that were against us.

Now think about this carefully. It says above in verse 17 of Colossians 2, that these "sabbath days" were a shadow of things to come. Now we know that the ceremonial laws pointed to Christ Jesus and were a shadow of Jesus. But the seventh day weekly sabbath of the 4th commandment was instituted BEFORE sin entered the world at creation. So how could it be a shadow of anything? It's impossible!

Just to confirm that Paul was talking about the ceremonial sabbaths and not the sabbath of the 4th commandment, take a look at Colossians 2:16 again and compare it with this Bible verse ..... Ezekiel 45:17 ....'And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.'

BIBLE VERSE 2 - Romans 14:5 ..... 'One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.'

No sabbath day of the 4th commandment mentioned here. This Bible verse cannot be used against the 4th commandment. Paul is clearly talking about those Jews who continued to keep the ceremonial days that were no longer binding because they pointed to Christ Jesus. The same with Colossians 2 above. Paul is telling the Jews that they cannot judge people who do not keep the ceremonial days anymore, because they were done away with at the cross. Also, if you look at this in context again, you will see that Paul in Romans 14:1 is talking about disputes over "doubtful things". The 4th commandment that was first instituted at creation BEFORE sin entered the world, is NOT a doubtful thing. The ten commandments of God are not doubtful things.

Please see Did Jesus Abolish the Sabbath for much more information on this subject.

Why The 4th Commandment CANNOT be Changed

If you study the book of Hebrews you will see why the sabbath of the 4th commandment cannot be abolished OR changed to another day. And in Hebrews 9:16-17 we have the key to understanding why it cannot be changed.

Hebrews 9:16-17 .....'For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.'

Now in the Old Testament, the covenant was sealed and set in place with the blood of bulls, and it could not then be changed or altered in any way. The same in the New Testament, the new covenant was sealed and set in place with the blood of Jesus, and Galatians 3:15 confirms that no man can ADD anything to it or TAKE anything away from it. Ask any lawyer and they will tell you that once a person has died, the will and testament of that person CANNOT be changed. As we can see in Hebrews 9 above, the new covenant could not be in force until the death of Christ (the testator). Now, did Christ Jesus CHANGE or ABOLISH the sabbath day of the 4th commandment during His life? No, there is not one hint of Him doing that in the Bible. The fact is that it was man (NOT the apostles) who changed the 4th commandment AFTER the death of Christ, AFTER the new covenant was sealed by Jesus' blood.


Do you see this truth? It is a known fact that the "change" to the sabbath was done BY MAN (not the apostles), AFTER the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Therefore it CANNOT be part of the new covenant. It was not Jesus' plan to change the 4th commandment, otherwise He would have done it WHILE HE LIVED.

See HERE for more information about who changed the sabbath.

The 4th commandment was instituted at creation by Jesus Christ Himself. It was confirmed on the stone tablets with the ten commandments. Revelation confirms that God's people are those who keep His commandments (Rev. 12 & 14). Isaiah confirms that the sabbath day of the 4th commandment will still be in effect in eternity. Jesus never changed or abolished the 4th commandment. So there is no doubt whatsoever that the 4th commandment is still binding today. Will you choose to obey your Creator God and keep His commands over the tradition of man?