Was Public Worship a Part of Sabbath Observance?

I heard a Sabbathkeeper argue for a “deeper” understanding of the Sabbath. This is fine and I have argued for the same thing, however a growing number of people are saying that public worship was not a part of Sabbath observance. They argue that the Sabbath was primarily meant to be a one on one “date” between the individual and God and that there was no worship or communal component to the Sabbath.

The idea is that the Sabbath was a day for “individual rest” and not one of “corporate worship.” One individual told me in an email, “Adventists took the Sabbath which was meant for individual communion with God and rest and made it a day of corporate worship.” Then the person sought to defend this assertion by saying that “the fourth commandment says nothing about worship.”

Independent Celebration

While it is true that the fourth commandment does not say anything about worship, one must recognize first of all that the commandment does not imply that it is a totally independent endeavor. The Sabbath commandment speaks of a rest that includes ones workers and others. It includes a manservent, maidservent, and even cattle. All of these are to be participants in the benefits of the Sabbath rest. In addition, the commandment was meant to “do good” to others rather than in an independent “me and God” experience.

Sabbath Include Worship?

Just as the Sabbath was not meant as an individualistic endeavor, it also includes a worship. The Bible says, in Leviticus 23:3, that the Sabbath was meant to be a Holy Convocation. A convocation is a gathering. The Sabbath was to include a holy religious gathering.

Thus the Sabbath was not meant to be a individualistic “rest” from others, but a corporate “rest” with others as we do good to others and we worship the Creator God.

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