Things to consider about the Sabbath
Some say that to please God one must believe in Jesus, renounce and repent of all your sins, AND keep the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath. This is what we will look into in this article.
There are only two instances in Scripture where God spoke audibly to all who were present. One was at the baptism of Jesus (Matt. -17) and the other when the Ten Commandments were first given to the Israelites, shortly after they left
Egypt. Below is a quote from one of these two instances.
“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. ‘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.”
Here God told the Israelites not to work on the sabbath, or seventh day of each week, but to rest: even as God rested after creating the heavens and the earth – including its plants, trees, animals and birds – in only six days.
So the first question for Sabbath keepers is this: Do you believe God created the heavens and the earth in only six days? If not then why take the seventh day seriously if you don’t believe what it is supposed to be a reminder of the God who said that He made everything in only six days: and then rested? And according to Scripture: He made man, animals, and birds -- not one from one another -- but independently from the ground: meaning that there is no reason for men -- who don't believe that God meant what He said -- to add "millions of years" to what God Himself, plainly told us about how long it took Him to make the heavens, the earth, and all life forms that were upon it. For more on this subject see Gen. 2:7, Genesis 2:19, Psalm 33:6-10, 148:5, Mark 10:6 and Hebrews 11:3.
Another Scripture that talks about fasting and living to please God and that also mentions the Sabbath is Isaiah 58. We start from verse five.
“Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed, and for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD? 6) “Is this not the fast which I chose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? 7) “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8)“Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9) “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10)“And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday. 11) “And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. 12)“And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell. 13)“If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and shall honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure, and speaking your own word, 14)
“Then you will take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
And in the next chapter of Isaiah, their shortcomings are elaborated on, but the sabbath was not mentioned: perhaps because it was less (or much less) important to God than the various evil things they were doing. In other words, from the passage above it appears that one could serve God and help others on the Sabbath, and that God was quite concerned about their doing just that: as opposed to stealing, telling lies, conceiving mischief, or seeking out, and/or serving false gods (Psalm 16:4). See also Isaiah 1:10-23, and note that God was a lot more interested in His people observing justice and looking after the poor, than He was in their mockery of not doing so while making sure that they kept the Sabbaths and festivals.
Consider also what Isaiah said in chapter one -- even comparing Israel's leaders of that day to Sodom and Gomorrah:
"Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah. What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me? says the LORD ... bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies -- I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me. ... So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you, Yes even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. ... (because) Your hands are covered with blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless; Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. ... (for) Your rulers are rebels, and companions of thieves ... (who) love bribes and chase after rewards. They Do not defend the fatherless, nor does the widow's plea come before them." Isa. 1:10-11, 13-17, 21-23
Jesus and the Sabbath: In Matt. 12:1-8 we are told that:
“At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath through the grain fields, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. 2) But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, ‘Behold, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.’ 3) But He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did, when he became hungry, he and his companions; 4) how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor those with him, but for the priests alone?’ 5) ‘Or … that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath, and are innocent? 6) But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here. 7) ‘But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. 8) For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.’
God wants you -- including your time, talents, money, and everything you own. Consider the following and their implications.
1) The rich man who came to Jesus claimed that he had kept the Ten Commandments, yet when he asked the Lord what else he was ‘still lacking,’ to inherit eternal life he was told: ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ Matt. 19:16-24
2) With regard to tithing (in Malachi ), we again have reason to think that God is even more interested in your heart than your pocketbook. We say this because we are told only eight verses later that God makes a distinction between “the one who serves God” vs. “the one who do not serve Him.” Mal.
3) Jesus said that the apostle Paul was “… a chosen instrument of Mine.” Acts
4) With regard to food and the Sabbath and judging others, the apostle Paul said:
“One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands of falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. … For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, the He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” Rom. 14:2-5, 6-10
“Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day – things which are a mere shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” Col. 1:16-17
So we see here that it is OK to keep the Sabbath, but those who do are not supposed to look down on those who don't -- and especially if the keepers are devoting their lives to caring for the poor, downtrodden, and oppressed.
5) The purpose of the Old Testament Law was to point people to Christ and a one-on-one relationship with God the Father and His Son and realize that God wants more than a ritual-type relationship. In this regard we are told in Romans 10$ that “ ... Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." See also Prov. 3:3; Isa. 57:15; 58:6-14; Jer. ; -17. Hos. 2:18-23; 12:6; Joel 3:13; Mal. 3:18; John 10:14-27; 12:26; 14:23; 17:3; Rom. 3:20-23; Gal. 3:17-29; 2:15-21.
6) When the early Church met together to discuss the newly converted Gentile believers and whether or not they needed to keep the Old Testament Laws, their decision was as follows:
“The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings. Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabus and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourself free from such things, you will do well.” Acts 15:23-29
Note that neither circumcision nor Sabbath observance are not on the list; however, other obvious sins are spoken clearly against, such as lying, sorcery (or taking drugs), homosexuality, murder, kidnapping, etc. : I Cor. 6;9-11 and Rev. 21:8.
7) Out with old and in with the New, “for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Cor. 3:6. “Behold, Days are coming, says the LORD, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt; For they did not continue in my covenant, and I did not care for them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of
after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts. And I will be their God, and they will be My people. … When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” Heb. 8:8-10, 13 Israel
8) And looking around He said ‘Behold My mother and My brother, for whoever does the will of God, he is My mother and sister and brother.” Mark 3;34-35 See also Mark 8:34-38, 14;23, and 18;28-30.
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