Many who understand the importance of observing the seventh-day Sabbath also acknowledge the necessity of calling on the personal Name of the One they worship —Almighty Yahweh. The two go hand-in-hand as instructed in the Ten Commandments.
The Fourth Commandment obligates the True Worshiper to keep the weekly Sabbath on the seventh day, while the Third Commandment tells us not to be negligent when it comes to calling on His true Name: “Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh your Elohim in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain,” Exodus 20:7. “Vain” is the Hebrew shoaw and means to make waste or ruin. When we substitute His personal Name with titles we are bringing His Name to waste or ruin, and therefore are in violation of the Third Commandment.
Sabbath keepers are aware of the many arguments leveled against the seventh-day Sabbath. Perhaps you at one time also raised the same points before you came to understand that the Bible upholds only one weekly day of worship, the seventh day. Maybe just like pre-converted Paul who had persecuted the early Assembly but who then came to the Truth, you eventually came to the Truth as well and discovered that worship on the first day of the week is not endorsed anywhere in the Scriptures. You found that all of those common rationalizations used against the true Sabbath day were baseless (request our two-part audio taped sermon series, Sabbath or Sunday, Parts 1 and 2).
But are you aware that the very same kinds of unsupported arguments employed against the Sabbath are also raised in an effort to refute the truth of the Name Yahweh and the Name of His Son, Yahshua? And just as those contentions against the Sabbath collapsed under the weight of Scriptural proof, likewise the various allegations against the Name.
Following are a dozen common, flawed arguments leveled at both the Sabbath and the Name (shown in bold type). We will answer each in the true light of the Word.
- I am not a Jew, therefore I do not need to keep the Jewish Sabbath.
The Sabbath was established at the creation of the universe when Yahweh Himself rested on the seventh day, long before there were any Jews, Genesis 2:2-3. Just because the Jews have been most visible in keeping the Sabbath down through history does not mean it is a “Jewish” Sabbath. The Israelites kept the Sabbath, even though 11 of their 12 tribes were not Jewish (see 2Kings 16:1,6-7, where the Jews are at war with Israel). In Acts 13 we find Gentiles keeping the Sabbath as well as Jews, vv. 42, 44, 46. The Savior said that the Sabbath was made for man, not just for Jews, Mark 2:27.
- I am not a Jew, therefore I do not need to use the Hebrew Name Yahweh.
Yahweh never refers to His Name as Hebrew or Jewish, even though it was revealed predominately to a Hebrew-speaking people. Psalm 86:9 prophesies that ALL nations will worship Him and glorify His Name. A person’s nationality has no bearing on whether he calls on the personal Name of the Father of all creation. Yahweh Himself told Moses, “This is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” Joel 2:32 foretold that in the last days, whoever calls on the Name Yahweh will be delivered. You need not be Jewish or speak Hebrew to do so.
- I keep holy whatever day I wish, so long as I keep a day to Him.
Nowhere does Yahweh give man the prerogative to make any day holy. He never allows us the liberty to decide ourselves how we will worship Him. He sets the conditions, and His people follow them. Some may point to Romans 14:5 as giving them liberty when choosing a weekly worship day. This passage, however, merely refers to fasting on any one day, not Sabbath keeping, as verse 6 makes clear.
- I can call Him whatever I wish. He understands who I mean.
Again, nowhere in the Scriptures is such a right granted to man, and He never says He “knows who we mean” when we call on Him using other names. Just the opposite is true. He tells us not even to mention the names of other supposed deities (using the same titles), Exodus 23:13. And in Isaiah 42:8 He says, “Yahweh is my Name, and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Being our personal Father, He demands that we use His personal Name. The title “God” has as a root meaning, “to pour as in a molten image” (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Is this an acceptable title to use for the true Creator of the universe? Paul said there are “gods many and lords many.” How can these generic designations please the Heavenly Father when applied to Him? (1Cor. 8:5)
- Any day can be a Sabbath.
The fact is, Yahweh blessed only one day of the week, at the end of the creation week, and He commands us specifically to keep holy the seventh day also: “But the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahweh…Yahweh blessed the seventh day and hallowed it,”Exodus 20:8-11. He never set apart any other weekday for regular Sabbath rest.
- The Father has many names.
Psalm 83:18 says His Name alone is Yahweh. Romans 10:13 says we are saved by calling upon His Name not His many titles. He has several titles, like El Elyon (“El Most High”), El Shaddai (“El All-powerful”), and Yahweh Zebaoth (“Yahweh of Hosts”), but only one Name is attributed to Him in the Bible — the personal, revealed Name Yahweh.
- The Sabbath was changed to Sunday.
Not one verse in the Scriptures changes the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day of the week. It was not the Scriptures but the Roman Church that made that portentous change. Dr. Edward Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual, writes, “There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday…It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week…where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament.” The Roman Church admits that it alone authorized the change. Note: “Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the church [Roman Catholic] outside the Bible,” Catholic Virginian, Oct. 3, 1947.
- His Name changes from language to language just like other names.
If this is true, why didn’t original Hebrew names like Abraham, Martha, David and even Satan change when they were brought into the English translations? What about Hebraic descriptive terms like Sabbath, Rabbi, and Maranatha, all of which exist unchanged in the English Bible? The fact is, names are transliterated, meaning the same sound is brought over into the new language virtually unaltered.
You would not change your name if you visited Russia or Argentina; your name on your passport would remain as before. When reading newspapers we never find an English translation or substitute for foreign names like Putin or Sharon. Commercials on Spanish television always leave retail names like Chevrolet and Coca-Cola untouched. Names are not language-dependent. They stand on their own, regardless of the language spoken. Again, names are transliterated, not translated.
- The Sabbath was first given to Moses and was just for Israel.
The implication is that the law came into existence at Sinai, including the Fourth Commandment — the Sabbath Commandment. But we can see the law in operation in Genesis and all the way back to creation. Being part of the law, the Sabbath was also in force from the creation of man. We read of Abraham in the Book of Genesis, “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws,” Genesis 26:5.
- The Name Yahweh was first given to Moses at the burning bush and was unknown previously.
Yahweh’s Name is first mentioned in Genesis 2:4. We read that after the birth of Adam’s grandson Enos, “then began men to call upon the name of Yahweh,” Genesis 4:26. In Genesis 22:14 we find this, “And Abraham called the name of that place Yahweh-yireh: as it is said to this day, ‘In the mount of Yahweh it shall be seen.’” Here’s proof that Yahweh’s Name was known and called upon long before Moses and even before the flood.
- Sunday worship is far more common and poses fewer difficulties than Sabbath keeping.
Sin is far more common than righteousness, too, but that shouldn’t mean we choose sin over obedience. Revelation 12:9 says that Satan deceives the entire world. Whatever is popular and easy, therefore, must be closely examined and proved against the Word. Yahshua the Messiah said the way of Truth is a narrow way and few are going to find it and follow it, Matthew 7:13-14. Therefore, the Truth will be accepted only by a relatively few, and that includes the truth of the true Sabbath, 2Peter 2:2.
- “God” and “Lord” are far more common than “Yahweh,” and less misunderstood.
Yahweh’s people are to come out of the world and be separate, 2Corinthians 6:17. Our convictions are not based on popular practice or public opinion polls. We are told in Psalm 22:22 that Yahshua declared Yahweh’s Name to His brethren, and so are we to do so. Regardless of what otherwise may be fashionable or common, Yahweh’s people will know His Name and be called by it, Daniel 9:19. True Worshipers get their standards from the Word, not the world.
- Our salvation is not in a specific day but in the Messiah.
When Yahshua was asked about entering into everlasting life, He responded by admonishing, “keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17). Hebrews 5:8-9 tells us a key fact about Yahshua, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” He set the example for us by His obedient life as He kept the weekly Sabbath as well as all of the commandments.
- Our salvation is not in a specific name but in the person and authority of the Messiah.
Acts 4:12 clearly says that there is salvation in no other Name. Joel 2:32 tells us that whoever calls on Yahweh’s Name will be delivered. The Name “Yahshua” means “Yahweh is salvation.” The Name Yahshua also defines the person, and the person of the Messiah is manifest by His one Name. You cannot separate the two.
- Time was lost and we do not know which day is the Sabbath.
The sequence of days in the week has never been “lost” or reshuffled. In the past, calendar dates have been adjusted to put the Gregorian calendar back in synchronization with the seasons, but never have the weekdays themselves been rearranged. Even in a leap year when an extra day is added in February, the sequence of our weekdays remains unchanged. The Hebrews kept every seventh day as the Sabbath down through history, and to confirm it we need only go back to the time of Yahshua, who Himself kept the Sabbath as commanded in the law. Never have any days been lost since. The Jews have diligently seen to that.
- The exact pronunciation of the Name was lost over time.
The Encyclopaedia Judaica tells us, “The true pronunciation of the name YHWH was never lost. Several Greek writers of the Christian Church testify that the name was pronounced ‘Yahweh.’ ” (Vol. 7, p. 680). This fact is confirmed by the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, had used the form Yahweh, thus this pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was never really lost. Greek transcriptions also indicated that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh” (15th edition, Vol. X, p. 786). Other references, including The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, Catholic Encyclopedia, and Eerdman’s andUnger’s Bible dictionaries, confirm that the original pronunciation was “Yahweh.”
- Early believers worshiped on Sunday, not on the Sabbath.
The Apostles kept the seventh-day Sabbath. It was on the Sabbath day that they went regularly into the synagogue to worship. InActs 16:13 we also read, “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.” Paul customarily taught on the Sabbath: “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,” Acts 17:2. Yahshua kept the Sabbath as well (see Matt. 12:2; Mark 6:2, Luke 13:10). Request our booklet, Popular Arguments Against the Sabbath for a fuller discourse.
- Early believers used “Jehovah” and “Jesus,” not “Yahweh” and “Yahshua.”
Neither Jehovah nor Jesus was ever used by early believers because the letter “J” did not come into existence until the 15th century. “Jehovah” is a ghost word that was never used in the Scriptures for the Heavenly Father. This hybrid name, invented by the confessor to Pope Leo X, was formed by taking the vowels of Adonai and inserting them into the Tetragrammaton, YHWH. The letter “J” did not exist in Hebrew or Greek and the “v” should be a “w,” from the third Hebrew letter waw of the Tetragrammaton.
- The Sabbath was nailed to the cross and was done away with.
If this were true then Paul, the supposed champion of Christianity, knew nothing about it. We find him observing the so-called “Jewish” Sabbath long after the Savior’s death and resurrection when a whole city of Gentiles came to hear him and Barnabas preach the Word on the Sabbath, Acts 13:42-46. We learn that what was nailed to the tree in Colossians 2:14 was the handwriting of ordinances (Greek dogma, man-made rules) that were “against us.” Yahweh’s law is never characterized as against us or contrary to us. Paul in Romans 7:12 informs us, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” In Acts 18:4 he preached to both Jews and Gentiles on the Sabbath.
- When the Savior died Israelites were speaking Greek and so we call Him by a Greek name.
The language of Galilee and Jerusalem has always been Hebrew (or its close sister, Aramaic). Passages showing that Yahshua spoke Hebrew by using Hebrew terms and sentences include Matthew 27:46; Mark 5:41, and 7:34. Clearly, He was not speaking Greek to Jews in Galilee.
- The Sabbath is not commanded in the New Testament.
This is a widely held fallacy. Hebrews 4:9 is a direct injunction to keep the seventh-day Sabbath in the New Testament: “There remains therefore a rest to the people of Elohim.” The word “rest” is sabbatismos, whose verbal form means “to keep Sabbath” and is also found several places in the Septuagint Old Testament. Verse 10 explains that this is speaking of the weekly Sabbath: “For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as Yahweh did from His.” How much clearer can the New Testament be to keep the Sabbath as Yahweh did at the end of the creation week?
- The Name Yahweh does not appear in the New Testament.
Yahshua in His prayer to His Father specifically said that He had “declared unto them [the world] your name and will declare it,”John 17:26. In His model prayer of Matthew 6, Yahshua attested to the sacredness of the Name with the statement, “Hallowed be thy name.” He spoke the Name numerous times in the New Testament when He quoted Old Testament passages containing the Name Yahweh, including Matthew 4:10 (from Deut. 6:13); Matthew 21:42 (Ps. 118:23); Mark 7:6 (Isa. 29:13); Luke 20:37 (Ex. 3:4-6) and John 6:45 (Isa. 54:13).
- Salvation is not through a special 24-hour day.
Certainly we cannot earn our own salvation. Salvation is a gift given only by Yahweh through Yahshua. He does, however, give that gift to those He deems worthy through their obedience, and denies salvation to the disobedient. “And being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him,” Hebrews 5:9. On the other hand, Paul wrote, “Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of Elohim?” 1Corinthians 6:9. Then he defines unrighteousness by listing many examples of lawbreaking. The Sabbath is part of the royal law, and therefore to violate it is to break the law and join the ranks of the unrighteous.
- Salvation does not depend on the correct pronouncing of a name.
Salvation comes to those who know their Savior, as He was our example of doing the Father’s will. Joel 2:32 says that whoever calls on the Name of Yahweh will be delivered. Luke 24:47 tells us that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among all nations. In the KJV we read in Psalm 68:4 to “extol Him by His Name Yah,” which is a short or poetic form of the Name Yahweh. Here, we are expressly told to use His Name. Being that the Savior’s Name Yahshua means “Yahweh is salvation,” when we call on the personal, true Name of the Messiah Yahshua, we are accepting the salvation of the Father. When we say, “It doesn’t make any difference what I call Him,” we are choosing to worship as we alone see fit, rather than to do as He commands us and honor His Name, Ps. 66:2,4.