The Importance Of The Sabbath
Exodus 20:8-11 sums it up nicely here:
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Here we find the concept of keeping the Sabbath holy as it refers to God taking a day to rest after He created the earth in six days. The idea of taking time to rest and reflect with God is so important that God made it the fourth of the Ten Commandments.
The first point to realize is that the Sabbath is important otherwise God wouldnt have made a point to make it a day of rest and command us to honor it. Did God need to rest? Doubtful. But I do think that He wanted to make a point for us to understand the importance of taking a day of the week to rest. Working seven days in a row week after week isnt healthy. Our bodies werent designed for it and God plainly instructs us to take a break because its that important.
Sabbath Began At Creation
The Bible introduces the Sabbath at the end of the first week of earths existence. Genesis 1 shows how God created the heavens and the earth and everything in it in six literal days. Days that were made of six literal evenings and mornings .
And after He saw that all He made was very good, He went on to make another daythe seventh day. Genesis 2:2-3 says:
And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation .
God didnt make this rest day because He was tired or needed rest after all that work of creating. In fact, the Bible tells us that He does not faint or grow weary .
Instead, He made a point to stop and meditate on how it was good.
Then He did three significant things to make the day special and different from the other six:
Notice that its because He rested on the seventh day that He blessed it and sanctified it as a memorial of His creation work.
Theres no mystery about where the Sabbath originated.
Bible Verses About Sabbath In Ot
This is the day which the Lord has made Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
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 of the Lord your God in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.read more.For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you.Six days you shall labor and do all your work,but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.read more.You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.
For forty years I loathed that generation,And said they are a people who err in their heart,And they do not know My ways.Therefore I swore in My anger,Truly they shall not enter into My rest.
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Can I Honor God While Working On The Sabbath
Complexities are some of lifes most enduring realities.
I awoke one Sabbath morning to a foot or more of fresh snow on the ground from the previous nights storm. Through my nine-year-old eyes, it was a delightful, beautiful thing. In the experienced eyes of my mother, however, it meant taking me and my 14-year-old brother with her to shovel the walks at the family motel on the weeks holiest of days.
But Mom, were not supposed to work on Sunday, my scripturally minded brother said, concerned we were flippantly tossing aside a critical biblical command.
Well, this needs to be done, Mom said, her face expressing some of her own worry at making us help her on a Sabbath morning. We dont want our guests walking through snow and slipping on ice.
This exchangemy only scrap of memory from that dayhas become an unforgettable lesson that helps me confront similar Sabbath-day work dilemmas now, more than 20 years later. My mom was teaching us how to balance competing commandmentsin this case, the command to not do any work on the Sabbath and the command to work and honor previously-made obligations and promises to our fellowman .
Since then, Ive wondered: Is it possible to honor God while working on the Sabbath?
Paul: Let No One Pass Judgment
Two passages in particular from the apostle Paul spell out the implications of Jesuss lordship over the Sabbath. The first is Colossians 2:1617:
Let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
What Paul says here is remarkable, Tom Schreiner writes, for he lumps the Sabbath together with food laws, festivals like Passover, and new moons. All of these constitute shadows that anticipate the coming of Christ . And since Christ has now come, observing the Sabbath is no longer a matter of obedience or disobedience. Rather, Paul says, Let no one pass judgment on you.
Romans 14:5 holds a similarly striking claim. Consider Pauls words here alongside a typical old-covenant statement about the Sabbath.
You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death.
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
For the sake of Christian freedom and mutual love, Paul says simply and remarkably, Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind .
Remember The Sabbath Day: What The Bible Says About The Sabbath Rest
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:8-11
This is the fourth Commandment out of the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai, and has caused a lot of controversy in the Body of Christ. What is God commanding here? Some people have very strong feelings about what this commandment means. Others are not sure. None of us want to be guilty of breaking this commandment.
The first thing we must remember is that the commands in the Old Testament have been raised to a higher degree in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the emphasis was on the outward keeping of the law. All along, what God really wanted was the principle of that law to be within the hearts of His people. So when Jesus came, He expanded on the laws of the Old Testament, and showed what the Lord was really looking for within us. It is within the heart of man where He most desires to see holiness and obedience.
The Rest of God
The Benefit of Rest
Keeping the Sabbath rest pertains not only to resting our own bodies, but the land we live in as well.
Hebrews: We Who Have Believed Enter That Rest
The author of Hebrews brings us closer to the heart of why the new covenant does not require a literal seventh-day rest. Christs first coming did not abolish rest rather, it ushered in a deeper kind of rest than the Sabbath could ever offer.
According to Hebrews 4, Israels Sabbath day always pointed forward to a far greater day: the still-future day when all creation will enter fully into the rest foreshadowed and promised in Genesis 2:23, the very first seventh day. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God . The ultimate Sabbath rest is coming, when Gods people will enjoy work without toil, hearts without sin, and an earth without thorns.
Yet even now, Hebrews implies, we feel the first waves of the coming rest. In Christ, we have tasted . . . the powers of the age to come , rest included. For, the author writes, We who have believed enter that rest not will enter, but enter: fully later, truly now.
And how do we enter that rest? Not mainly by putting aside our weekly labors for one day in seven, but by believing: We who have believed enter that rest. Faith in Jesus Christ brings the rest of the seventh day into every day.
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What Does The Bible Say About The Sabbath
Sabbathwhat does the Bible say aboutthe Sabbath
In the beginning, God laid outthe plans of His work and began to bring themto pass. The lastdayof Gods plans wastheseventh day, adayof rest thatwasmade holy, blessed, andset apart .
It wasmade holy becausethe Lord God rested fromall His work He had done inthe creation. There are hundreds of Biblical references tothe Sabbath day. One ofthe larger landmarks onthis topic comes in Exodus chapter twenty, whenthe Lord visited the earth in His strength and power. He gave the Ten Commandments, the Covenant with mankind, andtheSabbathdaymadethe top four commandments man isto adhere to . In this command, weareto remember the Sabbath dayand keep it holy. We are reminded thatthe Sabbath dayisthe seventh dayofthe week andweshouldnotdoany work onthis day.
The scholars ofthe Biblical world will say thiswasathinginthe Old Testaments andnot required forthe new primarily inthe New Testament afterthe death of Jesus Christ. While Jesus was alive theseventh day Sabbathwasstillbeing kept and honored. It was kept customarily by Jesus Christ Himself . When Jesus was killed, the women followed toseewhere His body would lay andtheyleftto keep the Sabbath dayas commanded by Moses, before returning todothe ointments and spices forthe body . It wasnotjust JESUS custom to keep the Sabbath Paul alsohadthis custom as well, evenafterthe death and resurrection of Jesus Christ .
Unclean Spirit Seeking A Home
43 When an unclean spirit leaves a person, it wanders through dry places looking for a place to rest. But it doesnt find any.44 Then it says, Ill go back to the house I left. When it arrives, it finds the place vacant, cleaned up, and decorated.45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself. They go in and make their home there. That person is worse off at the end than at the beginning. This is the way it will be also for this evil generation.
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The Writings And The Prophets
The Israelites were punished for breaking the Sabbath . They were promised blessings for keeping the Sabbath . Doesnt this show the importance of the Sabbath?
It shows the importance of the Sabbath in the old covenant system. As a sign, and as part of the tablets of the covenant, it showed covenant allegiance. The Israelites broke all aspects of the covenant, and they were punished with the curses that were attached to the covenant .
Their disobedience regarding the Sabbath, as well as their disobedience in worship rituals, was an external sign of their unbelief. The blessings were physical, and the curses were physical, characteristic of the old covenant but not of the new.
The Jews were conquered again in A.D. 70, but Sabbath-breaking was not the reason. Their primary sin in the first century was the rejection of the Messiah, who was far more important than the Sabbath. They had rejected the new covenant. Jesus was the test commandment of the first century. Christ is the basis of our salvation.
In brief, God punished the Israelites for Sabbath-breaking because the Sabbath was a requirement for the time they lived in, for the covenant they lived under. But that cannot prove that the physical details of the Sabbath are still required in a new age.
The Sabbath was a blessing for both Jews and gentiles . Doesnt that show that both Jews and gentiles should keep it today?
Does The Bible Say The Sabbath Changed From Saturday To Sunday
Thats a great question, and I love the implication of the question, namely, that the Sabbath did change. Part of the problem we face in our time is a lot of people think the Sabbath is entirely passé.
One place Id begin is with Revelation 1:10 where John says, I was in the Spirit on the Lords day.
For those who think that the Sabbath is completely ended with the coming of Jesus and that all days are alike in the new covenant , they misuse a statement of Paul. The fact that John says there is a Lords day in the new covenant shows there is a day set apart in a unique way for the Lord. And so thats a place to begin.
I think Colossians chapter 2, which talks about the Sabbath being past, shows that the old Sabbaththe Sabbaths literally in Greek are passed away. And then we look at the Apostolic practice of frequently meeting on the first day, and we begin to see this pattern emerging from the New Testament: that whereas Jews rested on the seventh day, Christians rest and worship on the first day.
This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with W. Robert Godfreyand has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visitAsk.Ligonier.orgor message us onor.
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What Activities Constitute Work
In the years after the temple was rebuilt following the exile , scribes and rabbis studied the words of Scripture, interpreting every detail. What kinds of work could be allowed on the Sabbath within the Law? For example, according to the Law, no work was to be done on the Sabbath, so that meant burdens were not to be carried on that day. So scholars debated what constituted a burden. On the surface, the scribes had good reasons for interpreting the Law carefully since they did not want anyone to break it inadvertently. But their interpretations increasingly emphasized external adherence to the Law rather than cultivating an attitude of submission before God. Obeying their own interpretations became a source of pride instead of an expression of love for God.
Jesus healings on the Sabbath enraged the religious teachers who classified healing as work and therefore prohibited it . He revealed the rabbis hypocrisy with his response.
The Pharisees said to him, Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath? answered, Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.
Then he said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.
Does Jesus Keep The Sabbath
In the New Testament, we see the clearest picture of Gods presence taking up space on earth and dwelling with Gods people in the person of Jesus. The Gospel tells us that Jesus had a lot to say about the Sabbath and the true rest that God intends for his people.
Lets take a look at an example from the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew sets up for his readers a series of connected stories where Jesus is confronted by Israels religious leaders and teachers. In one particular instance on the Sabbath day, the leaders object to Jesus friends picking corn as theyre walking through a field and to Jesus healing a mans shriveled hand . Was Jesus ignoring the command to keep the Sabbath found in the Hebrew Scriptures ?
Jesus responds with an argument that redefines the Sabbath, asserts his role as the promised Messiah, and points to his divinity . The Pharisees are understandably upset by this. But to Jesus, Sabbath observance pointed to something greater.
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