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Let us look together, at the Bible teaching about the Sabbath. The word itself comes from the Hebrew word "SHABBATH" (Strong's H 7676) meaning to 'repose', that is to desist from exertion and the first very clear connection with this concept is shown in Genesis 2:2
"And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made."
Nowhere can we find any instruction to anyone to 'keep the Sabbath', until we come to the reference to 'the Holy Sabbath' in Exodus 16:23, 30
"Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath, unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake today........V.30..so the people rested on the Sabbath day."
In this article we are going to consider a few verses of Scripture from both the Old and New Testaments concerning the purpose the Father had in mind for His nation, Israel, with regard to the Sabbath, or the seventh day of the week.
The laws and ordinances which God gave to Israel through Moses, were all encompassing and designed to cause Israel to remember God and all he had done for them. In this 'remembering', there was one set of ordinances which were the Historical and Commemorative Feasts.
One of those Feasts , the Passover, is spoken of in Exodus 12:26. It was inaugurated on the fourteenth day of the first month, with the following comment from the Father......
"And it shall come to pass when your children shall say unto you, WHAT MEAN YE BY THIS SERVICE? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt"
The Feast of Tabernacles was the last of the three great annual festivals at which every man of Israel was required to appear before the Lord. It was the culminating Festival of the ingathering when all Israel dwelt in booths, which reminded them of the march through the wilderness. (Lev 23:43). It occurred almost immediately after the Day of Atonement, on which day the people were purged ceremonially of their sinfulness.
The weekly Sabbath was appointed to Israel, and ONLY to Israel, for a twofold purpose.....
1. To force the twelve tribes of Israel to rest from work.
2. To remind all Israel that God was the creator of heaven and earth.
The following relevant passages of Scripture clearly show the significance of the SABBATH, which was given to Israel. There is no record that anyone prior to this time, EVER kept the Sabbath, or were ordered to do so.
EXODUS 20:8,11 "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy...For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day.......and hallowed it."
EXODUS 31:17 " It is a sign.........BETWEEN ME AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL FOREVER. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth and on the seventh day he rested."
LEVITICUS 23:3 " Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is a sabbath of rest, AN HOLY CONVOCATION.......the sabbath of the Lord"
Our attention now moves to the New Testament, where we will study the conflict which occurred between the Lord Jesus Christ, and the leaders of the Jews, on the observance of the Sabbath as the Law demanded, as He preached the Gospel. As we consider this matter, we must keep in mind the words of the Apostle Paul concerning the Law of Moses given to Israel, words written by Paul some years after the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus.
THE LAW AND THE SABBATH:
The Apostle Paul writes so very clearly.....
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Gal 3:24)
The Law of Moses was designed to teach and prepare true believers for the principles of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus, which He taught so clearly...."Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but FULFIL." (Matt.5:17)
Jesus was confronted by the hypocritical leaders of the Jews, who watched His every move to see if He offended their misguided interpretations of God's laws, particularly those relating to the Sabbath. The result of this careful scrutiny was that the Lord Jesus posed a series of questions to them, such as the two following......
LUKE 6:9 "Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?"
LUKE 13:14 "Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?"
They had missed the whole point concerning the Sabbath.....it was all about GOD..LOVE..COMPASSION...REST.......The Lord Jesus sums up all this in Mark 2:27-28.
"The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. Therefore, the son of man is Lord also of the sabbath."
The teaching of the Lord Jesus showed clearly that serving God on a full time basis, was the message of the Gospel, not the keeping of the Law and of Sabbaths and Holy days.
We turn lastly and again, to the teaching of the Apostle Paul written in Colossians 2:16....
"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of THE SABBATH DAYS."
THE NEW COVENANT CHURCH:
All those baptised into Christ are members of the 'new Covenant Church' and like the early disciples, gather together on the first day of the week to remember the sacrifice the Lord Jesus made that we might have eternal life in a world renewed. (Acts 20:7)
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