Elias Brasil de Souza is dean of the Adventist Seminary of Northeast Brazil.

Sabbath has a central place in our worship. As Creation’s memorial, the seventh-day Sabbath reveals that God is the Creator and we are His creatures.

Sabbath had its origins in a sinless world; it is a special gift from God that enables the human race to experience a small taste of heaven here on earth. According to Genesis 2:3, God performed three acts that day to indicate the importance of the Sabbath: He rested, blessed, and sanctified it.


A. God rested on the Sabbath. The verb “rest” (shabat) means to cease labor or activity. Thus God’s rest was not the result of exhaustion or fatigue, but an interruption from His previous activities. God rested because it was His intention that people should rest; the Creator set an example that should be followed by human beings.

B. God blessed the Sabbath. “The blessing upon Sabbath implied that it was reserved as a special object of divine favor and a day that would bring blessings to His creatures.”1

C. God sanctified the Sabbath. To “sanctify” means to make something sacred or holy, separated and destined for sacred use. The Sabbath was set apart to enrich our relationship with God. God blessed and sanctified the seventh day because on that day, He ceased all His work. He blessed and sanctified Sabbath for humanity, not for Himself. It is His presence that brings blessing and sanctification to the Sabbath. God did not set aside or sanctify any other day of the week.


Sabbath is a time to stop and reflect on the fact that God is the Creator of all things and the Supreme source of everything we have and are. Sabbath is a separate time that has been set aside for us to enjoy in a special way our relationship as children of God.

Sabbath reminds us of redemption (Exod. 20:2; Deut. 5:12-15). When Christ performed miracles on Sabbath, He emphasized the redeeming character of that day.

Keeping the Sabbath holy is a sign of loyalty to God (Exod. 20:8). Sabbath observance will become extremely important in the last days of this earth’s history. When materialistic and atheistic philosophies deny that God is the Creator of all things, Sabbath reminds us that God is the Creator (Rev. 14:6, 7). At the heart of the Ten Commandments, the words “Remember the Sabbath day” are proof of our trust, love, and submission to our Creator.


How do we keep the Sabbath? The Bible shows us how to keep the Sabbath through principles and orientations that can be applied to each dimension of life. Three important points related to Exodus 20:8-11 should determine our attitude regarding Sabbath observance:

A. “Remember” involves our family, employees, guests, animals, and even our partners.2

B. “Remember” suggests that every seven days we have an appointment of supreme importance with our Creator, the King of the Universe, when we offer Him praise and worship.

C. “Remember” means that, at the beginning of the week, we should plan the commitments and activities of the week so that at sundown on Friday evening, we are ready for the Sabbath’s entrance. Sabbath should be remembered every day of the week, and that remembrance involves the entire family.

The prophet Isaiah teaches us that the observance of Sabbath involves more than not working; it includes our words, thoughts, and attitudes (Isa. 58:13, 14).

Therefore, we should avoid unnecessary trips and physical activities such as playing ball and swimming.3 We should set aside our secular activities. How can we attend school, do homework, take exams, visit exhibitions, or watch games on Sabbath? How can we listen to radio programs, read novels, go to social meetings and picnics, or habitually neglect attending worship? How can we read secular magazines, do chores, go shopping, spend unnecessary time in physical rest, or go out to satisfy selfish desires? How can we do any of the things that take our mind off of God and our Christian’s illuminated conscience?

We should also keep the Sabbath with our words. “The fourth commandment is virtually transgressed by conversing upon worldly things or by engaging in light and trifling conversation.”4

In His ministry, our Savior valued the Sabbath and led by example. Christ did not nullify the Sabbath; on the contrary, He proclaimed Himself Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28) and showed the true purpose of Sabbath when He said, “The Sabbath was made for man” (verse 27).


Dear brothers and sisters, the seventh-day Sabbath is much more than a day; it is a sign of our loyalty to God. Through the observance of the seventh day of the week, we confess our faith in God the Creator and give Him our worship and loyalty

No other relationship prospers unless we dedicate time to Him. We also need to dedicate time to the people we love. The Sabbath is set aside for us to strengthen our relationships with our Creator and with our family. The seventh day is a special time for us to show our love and loyalty, especially to God.

Finally, let us remember the words of Jesus in John 13:17: “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

1 Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, 1:220.
2 Ellen G. White, Evangelism, 245.
3 ——, Selected Messages, 3:258, 265.
4 ——, Testimonies for the Church, 2:704.

Elias Brasil de Souza is dean of the Adventist Seminary of Northeast Brazil.