Acts 1 – do Christians keep the Sabbath in Acts?

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Acts 1:12

(Act 1:11) Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
(Act 1:12) Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.

Many Adventists continue the principle of the Pharisees that dictates how far one may walk on the sabbath before one is considered to have “worked.” Apart from places where the term “sabbath day’s journey” is used, they have no support for this in the Bible.

Numbers 35:4 mentions 1000 cubits, Joshua 3:4 mentions 2000 cubits. It was on these that the Jews based a tradition, still followed by some Adventists, that one may not walk further than 2000 cubits on the sabbath. This equated to a bit under a mile.

What does it actually mean when the early Christians described something as a “sabbath day’s journey?” Does it really mean they kept the sabbath, and didn’t walk very far on that day?

The early Christians grew up in a Jewish culture, and retained many of the same mannerisms and expressions of that culture. Whether or not the Christians kept the sabbath, it is not surprising that they still used the terminology. It is similar to modern society which still refers to one of its commercial holidays as Christmas, though in secular society it often has little to do with Christ. It was a term taken from Catholicism – and Protestantism, which does celebrate the Incarnation of Our Lord, but does not consider the celebration to be a Mass, has kept using the term. Why, then, do we expect people 2000 years ago to be different? They simply used the terminology they were familiar with.

Finally, considering that 40 days after the resurrection of Christ, which the Bible shows was on a Sunday, could not be on a sabbath but rather a Thursday, here we have people walking a sabbath day’s journey on a day which was not the sabbath at all – further support for it simply being an expression in the language of their time.

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