"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to The Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days The Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore The Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." (Exodus 20:8-11 RSV)

Exodus tells us that "The Lord created Heaven and Earth", and that He rested on the seventh day, and that by the fourth commandment, we are obligated to honor Him on the Sabbath.

My Question: In light of the fact that Exodus mentions Heaven in this passage, are Catholics obligated to follow the 4th Commandment in Heaven?


3 Answers 3


Strictly speaking, Catholics are not 'obligated' to keep the 'Sabbath' (on earth, let alone in heaven):

2175 Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ: "Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death"106 - Catechism of the Catholic Church (emphasis added)


106. St. Justin, I Apol. 67:PG 6,429 and 432.

For further clarification on the Catholic view of the correct attitude to the moral law (which includes the commandment to observe the Sabbath) refer to the Catechism's teaching on the moral law.

Earthly sabbaths under the Old Covenant were a prefigurement of the true Sabbath rest that we fore-taste upon regeneration and that will be fully manifested in heaven:

3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

“As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said,

“They shall not enter my rest.”

6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God[a] would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. - Hebrews 4:3-11 ESV

In heaven, it is arguable that 'obligation' will be an even less appropriate term to be applied to the saints generally as they are made perfect and manifest pure worship in Spirit and Truth - beholding the Lord in beatific vision in perpetual sabbath rest.


In the Lords prayer it says "On earth as it is in Heaven". This shows us that in Heaven the will of God is followed. If he wills the sabbath for rest, deductively one could establish that the will is for the sabbath to be a rest for in heaven also.

Luke 17:21 NKJV

nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.

Now if the commandment applies to you, and also the kingdom of God is within you. Then deductively the command applies to the kingdom.

John 14:15 NKJV

If you love Me, keep My commandments.


The prophet Isaiah speaks to the theme of the new heavens and a new earth. We would do well to consider, therefore, what he has to say about the Sabbath within the context of new heavens and a new earth:

Regarding new heavens and a new earth the prophets says in Isaiah 65:17 -

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to [n]mind.

And in Isaiah 66:22 he says -

“For just as the new heavens and the new earth
Which I make will endure before Me,” declares the Lord,
“So your offspring and your name will endure.

And then right after that -- verse 23 -

“And it shall be from new moon to new moon
And from sabbath to sabbath,
All [a]mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says the Lord.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .