In an increasingly secular world, the personal and social benefits of Sabbath-keeping are continually eroding. The church—not just the world—is finding it increasingly difficult to defend the traditional view that the fourth commandment is still binding on us, and that God wants us to honor the first day of the week, the Lord's Day, as a Christian Sabbath. This book examines some of the issues raised in this debate, and argues that the Sabbath principle is one which is still binding, relevant, necessary, and beneficial.
“If the Sabbath principle is merely part of the law of Moses, it could be argued that it is no longer binding. However, it is not grounded in the Mosaic law, but in the creation narrative. The Sabbath principle is of ancient origin—as old as creation itself. For this reason, too, it was not merely a gift to Israel—it is something binding on all of humankind, simply because it is part of the fabric of the world which we inhabit.” (Page 18)
“So what did God do on the seventh day of the creation week? Genesis 2:2–3 uses several words to describe God’s activity—or lack of it—on this day. First, he did no more work; second, he rested; third, he blessed the day; fourth, he made it holy.” (Page 19)
“No; his purpose is to establish a chronological pattern, to call the attention of man, whom he has already created, to the fact that in his world there are special places and special times for drawing close to God and for honouring him.” (Page 20)
“The meaning of the word ‘blessed’ can be determined from its opposite, which is ‘cursed’. To be cursed by God is to be out of his favour, outside his friendship, and subject to his judgement. To be blessed, on the other hand, is to be in a special relationship with him, and to be the object of his unique favour. In this sense, God, who had invented time, placed the seventh day in a unique position relative to himself.” (Page 19)
“The day is now the first day of the week, the Israel is all of God’s people (a spiritual, not an ethnic, Israel), and the covenant is now the new covenant, which has no need of ritual and ceremony.” (Page 59)
Dr. Campbell's book is a joy to read. It is well-written and easy to understand.
—Dr. Joel Beeke, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Dr. Iain D. Campbell is the pastor of a church on the Isle of Lewis. He trained for the ministry at the University of Glasgow and at the Free Church College Edinburgh. Campbell is the author of several other books published by Day One: On the First Day of the week: God, the Christian and the Sabbath, The Gospel according to Ruth, Opening up Exodus, Opening up Matthew, and Seven Wonders of the World.