Sabbath, June 13, 2009
“No other institution which was committed to the Jews tended so fully to distinguish them from surrounding nations as did the Sabbath. God designed that its observance should designate them as His worshipers. It was to be a token of their separation from idolatry, and their connection with the true God. But in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ. When the command was given to Israel, ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,’ the Lord said also to them, ‘Ye shall be holy men unto Me.’ Exodus 20:8; 22:31. Only thus could the Sabbath distinguish Israel as the worshipers of God.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 283.
JESUS, THE SABBATH, AND THE PHARISEES
1. From what time on has the seventh-day been sanctified as the day of rest and worship? What was recorded about Jesus and the Sabbath?
Genesis 2:2, 3 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
“The Sabbath was hallowed at the creation. As ordained for man, it had its origin when ‘the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.’ Job 38:7. Peace brooded over the world; for earth was in harmony with heaven. ‘God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good;’ and He rested in the joy of His completed work. Genesis 1:31.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 281.
2. What type of field did Jesus and His disciples pass through one Sabbath? What did the disciples do that the Pharisees condemned as Sabbath breaking?
Matthew 12:1, 2 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
Luke 6:1 And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.
“Upon one Sabbath day, as the Saviour and His disciples returned from the place of worship, they passed through a field of ripening grain. Jesus had continued His work to a late hour, and while passing through the fields, the disciples began to gather the heads of grain, and to eat the kernels after rubbing them in their hands. On any other day this act would have excited no comment, for one passing through a field of grain, an orchard, or a vineyard, was at liberty to gather what he desired to eat. See Deuteronomy 23:24, 25. But to do this on the Sabbath was held to be an act of desecration. Not only was the gathering of the grain a kind of reaping, but the rubbing of it in the hands was a kind of threshing. Thus, in the opinion of the rabbis, there was a double offense.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 284.
THE CASES OF DAVID AND OF THE PRIESTS
3. Did the disciples pick and rub the ears of grain as would a common laborer or because of need? How did this compare to the example of David which Jesus gave?
Matthew 12:3, 4 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
Mark 2:25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
“Now that the disciples are attacked, He cites His accusers to examples from the Old Testament, acts performed on the Sabbath by those who were in the service of God.
“If it was right for David to satisfy his hunger by eating of the bread that had been set apart to a holy use, then it was right for the disciples to supply their need by plucking the grain upon the sacred hours of the Sabbath.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 284, 285.
4. What other example did Jesus mention to make a distinction between common work and acceptable service on the Sabbath?
Matthew 12:5, 6 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
“Again, the priests in the temple performed greater labor on the Sabbath than upon other days. The same labor in secular business would be sinful; but the work of the priests was in the service of God. They were performing those rites that pointed to the redeeming power of Christ, and their labor was in harmony with the object of the Sabbath. But now Christ Himself had come. The disciples, in doing the work of Christ, were engaged in God’s service, and that which was necessary for the accomplishment of this work it was right to do on the Sabbath day.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 285.
5. Was this example applicable only to the temple service or also to cases of need?
Matthew 12:6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
“Christ would teach His disciples and His enemies that the service of God is first of all. The object of God’s work in this world is the redemption of man; therefore that which is necessary to be done on the Sabbath in the accomplishment of this work is in accord with the Sabbath law.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 285.
THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW
6. How should we understand the spirit and the practice of the law?
Matthew 12:7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
“Jesus did not let the matter pass with administering a rebuke to His enemies. He declared that in their blindness they had mistaken the object of the Sabbath. He said, ‘If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.’ Matthew 12:7. Their many heartless rites could not supply the lack of that truthful integrity and tender love which will ever characterize the true worshiper of God.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 285, 286.
7. For what purpose did the Lord institute the Sabbath? How should this day be observed?
Mark 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.
“The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world. It had been made known to man in Eden, and,like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation. Of that law of which the fourth commandment forms a part, Christ declares, ‘Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law.’ So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator’s power. And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God’s holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun. ‘From one Sabbath to another’ the inhabitants of the glorified new earth shall go up ‘to worship before Me, saith the Lord.’ Matthew 5:18; Isaiah 66:23.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 283.
“‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,’ Jesus said. The institutions that God has established are for the benefit of mankind.
‘All things are for your sakes.’… 2 Corinthians 4:15…. The law of Ten Commandments, of which the Sabbath forms a part, God gave to His people as a blessing. ‘The Lord commanded us,’ said Moses, ‘to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive.’ Deuteronomy 6:24.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 288.
THE AUTHORITY PRESENTS ITS TRUE MEANING
8. Who has the authority to establish how to observe the holy day of rest–traditions and human laws, or the Son of God?
Mark 2:28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
1 Samuel 2:30 Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
“Jesus then crowned His argument by declaring Himself the ‘Lord of the Sabbath’–One above all question and above all law. This infinite Judge acquits the disciples of blame, appealing to the very statutes they are accused of violating.
“‘Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.’ These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord’s day. It belongs to Christ. For ‘all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.’ John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 285, 288.
MEDICAL MINISTRY AND SABBATH OBSERVANCE
“Those who are connected with our sanitariums are to be taught to regard the Sabbath question as the great test for this time. God desires His people to bind medical missionary work up with the work of the third angel’s message.” –Medical Ministry, p. 160.
“All who love God will show that they bear His sign by keeping His commandments. They are the restorers of paths to dwell in. The Lord says: ‘If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath,… and call the Sabbath a delight,… then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord….’ Isaiah 58:13, 14. Thus genuine medical missionary work is bound up inseparably with the keeping of God’s commandments, of which the Sabbath is especially mentioned, since it is the great memorial of God’s creative work. Its observance is bound up with the work of restoring the moral image of God in man.… This ministry, rightly performed, will bring rich blessings to the church.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 265, 266.
“Often physicians are called upon on the Sabbath to minister to the sick, and it is impossible for them to take time for rest and devotion. The Saviour has shown us by His example that it is right to relieve suffering on this day; but physicians and nurses should do no unnecessary work. Ordinary treatment, and operations that can wait, should be deferred till the next day. Let the patients know that physicians must have one day for rest. The Lord says, ‘Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations.’ Exodus 31:13.” –Medical Ministry, p. 214.