Sabbath, August 22, 2015
“Since the Sabbath is the memorial of creative power, it is the day above all others when we should acquaint ourselves with God through His works. In the minds of the children the very thought of the Sabbath should be bound up with the beauty of natural things. Happy is the family who can go to the place of worship on the Sabbath as Jesus and His disciples went to the synagogue–across the fields, along the shores of the lake, or through the groves. Happy the father and mother who can teach their children God’s written word with illustrations from the open pages of the book of nature; who can gather under the green trees, in the fresh, pure air, to study the word and to sing the praise of the Father above.” –Education, p. 251.
Established in the beginning
1. When was the sacred day of rest instituted? Who participated in the work of creation and thus also in the Sabbath?
Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And 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. 3And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.
“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.
“Because He had rested upon the Sabbath, ‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it’–set it apart to a holy use. He gave it to Adam as a day of rest. It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God’s power and His love…
“All things were created by the Son of God. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.’ John 1:1-3. And since the Sabbath is a memorial of the work of creation, it is a token of the love and power of Christ.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 281.
Education in Sabbath observance
2. During the forty years the Israelites encamped in the wilderness, why did the manna not fall on the seventh day? What special provision was there for the people’s sustenance when the manna was not provided?
Exodus 16:25, 4, 5, 16, 19, 20, 24 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it in the field…. 4Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. 5And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily…. 16Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the numbers of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents…. 19And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. 20Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them…. 24And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
“Every week during their long sojourn in the wilderness the Israelites witnessed a threefold miracle, designed to impress their minds with the sacredness of the Sabbath: a double quantity of manna fell on the sixth day, none on the seventh, and the portion needed for the Sabbath was preserved sweet and pure, when if any were kept over at any other time it became unfit for use.
“In the circumstances connected with the giving of the manna, we have conclusive evidence that the Sabbath was not instituted, as many claim, when the law was given at Sinai. Before the Israelites came to Sinai they understood the Sabbath to be obligatory upon them. In being obliged to gather every Friday a double portion of manna in preparation for the Sabbath, when none would fall, the sacred nature of the day of rest was continually impressed upon them. And when some of the people went out on the Sabbath to gather manna, the Lord asked, ‘How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?’ ” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 296, 297.
Day of rest and holy convocation
3. What did the Lord say about the Sabbath day when He gave the Ten Commandments and later? What phrase in the fourth commandment indicates that the Sabbath is for all people?
Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10But 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: 11For 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.
Leviticus 23:3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.
“The Sabbath was given to all mankind to commemorate the work of creation. The great Jehovah, when He had laid the foundations of the earth, when He had dressed the whole world in its garb of beauty, and created all the wonders of the land and the sea, instituted the Sabbath day and made it holy. When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, the Sabbath was set apart as God’s memorial. God sanctified and blessed the day in which He has rested from all His wondrous work. And this Sabbath, sanctified of God, was to be kept for a perpetual covenant. It was a memorial that was to stand from age to age, till the close of earth’s history….
“There are those who hold that the Sabbath was given only for the Jews; but God has never said this…; but the very fact that the desert of Sinai, and not Palestine, was the place selected by Him in which to proclaim His law, reveals that He intended it for all mankind. The law of ten commandments is as old as creation. Therefore the Sabbath institution has no special relation to the Jews, any more than to all other created beings. God has made the observance of the Sabbath obligatory upon all men.” –Lift Him Up, p. 53.
The most consistent Sabbath Keeper
4. Who observed the Sabbath for His entire life, joining the worship services in the synagogue? Describe one of the miracles that Jesus performed on the Sabbath, thereby confirming that it is a sacred day.
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.
Matthew12:10-13 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. 11And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. 13Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
“During His childhood and youth, Jesus had worshiped among His brethren in the synagogue at Nazareth…. As He again appeared among them, their interest and expectation were excited to the highest pitch. Here were the familiar forms and faces of those whom He had known from infancy. Here were His mother, His brothers and sisters, and all eyes were turned upon Him as He entered the synagogue upon the Sabbath day, and took His place among the worshipers….
“Upon another Sabbath, as Jesus entered a synagogue. He saw there a man who had a withered hand…. The Saviour well knew that in healing on the Sabbath He would be regarded as a transgressor, but He did not hesitate to break down the wall of traditional requirements….
“In the healing of the withered hand, Jesus condemned the custom of the Jews, and left the fourth commandment standing as God had given it. ‘It is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days,’ He declared. By sweeping away the senseless restrictions of the Jews, Christ honored the Sabbath….” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 236, 286, 287.
Kept by the apostles and early Christians
5. What did the first Christians do at the time of Jesus’ death? Like Him, how did the apostles spend the Sabbath day?
Luke 23:54-56 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. 55And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. 56And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
Acts 13:42-44 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
“Now Jesus rested from the work of redemption; and though there was grief among those who loved Him on earth, yet there was joy in heaven.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 769.
“The Saviour was buried on Friday, the sixth day of the week. The women prepared spices and ointments with which to embalm their Lord, and laid them aside, until the Sabbath was past. Not even the work of embalming the body of Jesus would they do upon the Sabbath day.
“ ‘And when the Sabbath was past,… very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.’ Mark 16:1, 2.” –The Story of Jesus, p. 157.
After the death of Christ the disciples ‘rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.’ After the ascension of Christ, Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, preached to both Jews and Gentiles ‘on the Sabbath day.’ ” –Signs of the Times, November 12, 1894.
The Sabbath in the future
6. For what did Jesus tell the first Christians to pray when Jerusalem would be besieged in the future? Where will the redeemed have the privilege of worshiping God on the Sabbath day?
Matthew 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.
Isaiah 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.
“He who made the Sabbath did not abolish it, nailing it to His cross. The Sabbath was not rendered null and void by His death. Forty years after His crucifixion it was still to be held sacred. For forty years the disciples were to pray that their flight might not be on the Sabbath day….
“When there shall be a ‘restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began’ (Acts 3:21), the creation Sabbath, the day on which Jesus lay at rest in Joseph’s tomb, will still be a day of rest and rejoicing. Heaven and earth will unite in praise, as ‘from one Sabbath to another’ (Isaiah 66:23) the nations of the saved shall bow in joyful worship to God and the Lamb.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 630, 769, 770.
“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 … ‘worship before Me, saith the Lord.’ ” –The Faith I Live By, p. 37.
Blessings for today
7. How does God view those who honor His holy day and refuse to profane it? What blessings are reserved for those who faithfully observe the day that He sanctified and blessed?
Isaiah 56:2, 4, 5; 58:13, 14 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil…. 4For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; 5Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off…. 58:13If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: 14Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
“The Sabbath … is God’s time, not ours; when we trespass upon it we are stealing from God…. God has given us the whole of six days in which to do our work, and has reserved only one to Himself. This should be a day of blessing to us–a day when we should lay aside all our secular matters and center our thoughts upon God and heaven….
“But while we worship God, we are not to consider this a drudgery. The Sabbath of the Lord is to be made a blessing to us and to our children. They are to look upon the Sabbath as a day of delight, a day which God has sanctified; and they will so consider it if they are properly instructed.” –In Heavenly Places, p. 152.
“God teaches that we should assemble in His house to cultivate the attributes of perfect love. This will fit the dwellers of earth for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for all who love Him. There they will assemble in the sanctuary from Sabbath to Sabbath, from one new moon to another, to unite in loftiest strains of song, in praise and thanksgiving to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 37.
For additional study
“The Sabbath is not introduced as a new institution but as having been founded at creation. It is to be remembered and observed as the memorial of the Creator’s work. Pointing to God as the Maker of the heavens and the earth, it distinguishes the true God from all false gods. All who keep the seventh day signify by this act that they are worshipers of Jehovah. Thus the Sabbath is the sign of man’s allegiance to God as long as there are any upon the earth to serve Him. The fourth commandment is the only one of all the ten in which are found both the name and the title of the Lawgiver. It is the only one that shows by whose authority the law is given. Thus it contains the seal of God, affixed to His law as evidence of its authenticity and binding force.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 307.
- When is one truly able to receive and appreciate the blessing of the holy Sabbath day?
- When the Sabbath is consistently respected now, how does this lay the foundation for one’s fidelity to His will when His day will come under attack in the future?
- The Lord has made the Sabbath a unique sign between Him and His people. How does one’s faithfulness to Him in this regard exalt its sacredness now and bless others?