The Sabbath, Intro

THE SABBATH, INTRODUCTION.

Bible Study Guide/ The Forgotten Day: The Seventh Day Sabbath/ 86-001, (Exodus 20:8)/ Key Text: In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed meetings, and they shall hallow My Sabbaths. (Ezekiel 44:24, NKJV)

Lesson Objectives: The purpose of this study is to introduce the subject of the Sabbath and highlight 13 simple facts to think about on this crucial subject.

Opening Remarks: What day is the Sabbath day? The Seventh Day Sabbath is perhaps the most controversial subject among Christians today. Some Christians are unaware that God’s Seventh day Sabbath is Saturday. Some acknowledge this truth but are somewhat reluctant to embrace this teaching.

The Bible tells us from the book of Daniel that a “persecuting power” would come and desire to change God’s laws, which it did – the Seventh day Sabbath became the first day sabbath without God’s approval. The book of Daniel also refers to this change of God’s law by the “antichrist power” as reaching to the host of heaven and “trampling the heavenly sanctuary under foot” (Dan 8:13).

We find the same expression used in Hebrews chapter ten in reference to willful sin. “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has “trampled underfoot” the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:26–29, NASB95)

Beloved, this passage warns us that there remains no sacrifice to cover willful sin and to continue in willful sin is to trample the Son of God under foot and to treat Christ’s work on the cross as an unholy thing despite being under grace. To willfully disregard the Sabbath command, is to “trample the Son of God under foot” since He is the Lord of the Sabbath. This is a warning we should take very seriously!

The change to the Sabbath day came about over hundreds of years. It also resulted in the death of millions of faithful Christians— who lost their lives for obeying God’s command. This is another fact that most Christians are unaware of. (We will develop/ prove this point in the upcoming Lessons).

GET THE BASICS:

[1] Which day of the week is the Sabbath day? The seventh day (see Ex. 20:8)

Sabbath (šǎb·bāṯ): —1. Sabbath, i.e., the seventh day of the week, known in many cultures as “Saturday,” an important day dedicated to rest and worship (Ex 16:23); 2. week, i.e., unit of seven days (Lev 23:15); 3. sabbath, rest period, i.e., a period of time for resting, which may or not be the seventh day of the week, with a focus on this as a period for rest (Lev 16:31; 23:32; 25:2, 4,6, 8; 26:34, 35, 43; 2 Ch 36:21) [James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament), 1997].

[2] What is the meaning of the word “Sabbath?” The Sabbath is “derivation of a Hebrew word which means “cease” or “desist.” The sabbath was a day (from Friday evening until Saturday evening in Jesus’ time) when all ordinary work stopped. The Scriptures relate that God gave his people the sabbath as an opportunity to serve him, and as a reminder of two great truths in the Bible—creation and redemption.” [Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker encyclopedia of the Bible, 1988, 2, 1874].

[3] What biblical phrases are associated with the word ‘Sabbath?’

  1. Sabbatical Year: A year when the fields were to be left alone to observe a Sabbath for the land. Occurred every seventh year.
  • Day after the Sabbath: Sunday –the day on which the priest was to bring a sheaf offering before God (Lev 23:11, 15). Also, Christ rose on this day (the first day of the week).
  • Day before the Sabbath: Friday — the day on which preparations for the Sabbath were made. Christ was crucified on this day (the sixth day of the week).
  • Sabbaths of Years: The seventh year of service when a Hebrew slave was to be released. (Also see the related topics such as –Year of Jubilee, Year of Release, Release, Sabbaths of Years, Week of Years)

13 BIBLE FACTS ABOUT THE SABBATH.

[1] The word translated “rested” in our English Bibles in Genesis 2:3 is actually “shabbath” in the Hebrew and means Sabbath. “Saturday” is called the Sabbath in more than 105 languages just as it was named at creation. This dates back to Babel in Genesis 11 where Saturday was recognized as the Sabbath day and was incorporated into the very name of the day. In English we have the Pagan name, Saturday.

[2] The Day of Rest: After working the first six days of the week in creating this earth, God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-3). This stamped that day as God’s rest day, or Sabbath day, as Sabbath day means rest day.

  • To illustrate: When a person is born on a certain day, that day thus becomes his birthday. So, when God rested upon the seventh day, that day became His rest or Sabbath day. Therefore, the seventh day must always be God’s Sabbath day. Can you change your birthday from the day on which you were born to one on which you were not born? No. Neither can you change God’s rest day to a day on which He did not rest. Hence the seventh day is still God’s Sabbath day.

[3] The institution of the Sabbath: God is the author of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created by God (Gen 2:3); blessed by God (Gen. 2:3); sanctified by God (Exod. 20:11); Grounds of its institution (Gen 2:2, 3; Ex 20:11).

From the very beginning the seventh day was observed as the Sabbath, holy to God (Ex 20:9–11); and “made for man” (Mark 2:27). Note: The Sabbath was made before the fall, hence it is not a “type” — for types were not introduced until after the fall. The only reason we have the seventh day of the week is because God added it at creation for this one and only purpose.

[4] It is a memorial of creation (Exodus 20:11; 31:17): Every time we rest upon the seventh day, as God did at creation, we commemorate that grand event. God warns us that a persecuting power would change His law and this happened by a Church changing the Sabbath to Sunday and by the blood of millions of saints. (Daniel 7:25). Jesus says it was made for man (Mark 2:27), that is, for the race, as the word man is here unlimited; hence for the Gentile as well as for the Jew.

[5] The Sabbath cannot be a Jewish institution — (as many claim) –as it was made 2,300 years before there ever was a Jew! In fact, the Bible never calls it “the Jewish Sabbath,” but always “the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Men should be cautious how they stigmatize God’s Holy rest day. The Sabbath was given to Adam, the head of the human race, (Mark 2:27; Genesis 2:1-3)

[6] It was a part of God’s Ten Commandment Law before Sinai. God tested His children to see if they would keep His Commandments. How did God test them? By seeing if they would keep the Seventh day. (Exodus 16:4-30) Then God placed it in the heart of His moral law, (Exodus 20:1-17). Why did He place it there if it was not like the other nine precepts, which all admit to be immutable?

The seventh day Sabbath was commanded by the voice of the living God (Deut. 4:12–13); Then God wrote the Commandment with His own finger, (Exodus 31:18); He engraved it in the enduring stone indicating its imperishable nature, (Deut. 5:22); It was sacredly preserved in the Ark in the Holy of Holies. (Deut. 10:5)

[7] Consequences of breaking the Sabbath: God destroyed the Israelites in the wilderness because they profaned the Sabbath, (Ezekiel 20:12-13); It is the sign of the true God by which we are to know Him from false gods, (Ezekiel 20:20); He destroyed Jerusalem for its violation. (Jeremiah 17:27); He sent the Israelites into Babylonish captivity for breaking it (Nehemiah 13:18).

[8] The Sabbath’s blessings: God has promised to bless all who keep the Sabbath, (Isaiah 56:2, 6); He desires for us to call his Sabbath day a “delight” (Isaiah 58:13); He has pronounced a special blessing on all the Gentiles who will keep it, (Isaiah 56:2, 6).

[9] The Restoration of the Sabbath: After the holy Sabbath has been trodden down “many generations,” it is to be restored in the last days. (Isaiah 58:12-13)

[10] Christ and the Sabbath: Jesus was/ and still is “the Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28) –that is, to love and protect it, as the husband is the lord of the wife, to love and cherish her. When Jesus Christ came, He kept the seventh day all His life, (Luke 4:16; John 15:10); Thus, He followed His Father’s example at creation. Should we not also follow the example of both the Father and the Son?

[11] The seventh day is the Lord’s Day. (See Revelation 1:10; Mark 2:28; Isaiah 58:13; Exodus 20:10). Instead of abolishing the Sabbath, Jesus taught how it should be observed, (Matthew 12:1-13); He taught His disciples that they should do nothing upon the Sabbath day but what was “lawful” (Matthew 12:12); He instructed His apostles that the Sabbath would still be kept forty years after His resurrection, (Matthew 24:20)

[12] No other day has ever been sanctified as the day of rest. The Sabbath Day begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday. (see Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11; Isaiah 58:13-14; 56:1-8; Acts 17:2; Acts 18:4, 11; Luke 4:16; Mark 2:27-28; Matthew 12:10-12; Hebrews 4:1-11; Genesis 1:5, 13-14; Nehemiah 13:19)

[13] The sacredness of Sunday as the “new” day of worship has no any biblical support whatsoever. I am not that rich, but I am prepared to make this pledge: Give me only one Bible verse that explicitly states that God has abolished the fourth commandment (the Seventh-day Sabbath) and replace it with a “new” command to observe Sunday (the first day of the week) as the new day of worship, and I will give you a 100 USD. I am prepared to write you a check today.

NOTE: There are many more facts that we will bring to you as we journey through this series. This was just a sample set of facts to serve as introduction to this crucial subject.

DEVOTIONAL IMPLICATION: The Sabbath, among other things, is a sign of sanctification. The Sabbath is a sign of God’s transforming power, a sign of holiness or sanctification.

The Lord declared, “Truly you shall keep My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you (set you apart for Myself).” (Exodus 31:13, AMP) “And hallow (separate and keep holy) My Sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord your God.” (Ezekiel 20:20, AMP)

The Sabbath, therefore beloved, also is a sign of God as the Sanctifier. As people are sanctified by Christ’s blood (Heb. 13:12), the Sabbath is also a sign of the believer’s acceptance of His blood for the forgiveness of sins.

ACTION STEP: What response do you think this lesson should inspires us to do? “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Beloved, of all commandments, God chose the forth: the Sabbath, and instructed us (all mankind, not just the Jews) to “remember” the Sabbath, because He knew that one day people would attempt to disregard, destroy, forget, and eventually trample it under foot. The Sabbath is as important today as it was in Eden. The Sabbath serve as a sign between God and His people (Ez. 20:8). The Sabbath command will be a deciding factor in the greater battle between Christ and Satan (Rev 12:17; 13) just before Jesus comes again. Today, God is calling each one of us to “keep the commandments” and have “the faith of Jesus” (Rev 14:12) – that would include the obedience to the fourth command!

Just as God has set the Sabbath aside for a holy purpose, so He has set His people apart for a holy purpose—to be His special witnesses. Their communion with Him on that day leads to holiness; they learn to depend not on their own resources but on the God, who sanctifies them. Will you avail yourself today to be sanctified by the Lord? But first, would you obey this command: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8, NKJV). Keep it holy, and you will be blessed! Amen.

Have a Blessed Day: “Moreover, also I gave them My Sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might understand and realize that I am the Lord who sanctifies them”(Ezekiel 20:12, AMP)

The Gospel’s Voice/ Bible Study Guide/ Doctrines/ The Seventh-Day Sabbath / Lesson # 1.