We all love to rest. A time to sleep, reflect, pray, and raise a shield against the assault of daily demands on our lives.
One would think such a beautiful thing would not face resistance. That would be like drawing a warm bath, lighting candles, sipping a glass of wine, and then someone turns on the light, puts ice in your bath, and hands you a cup of vinegar. Why resist such a treasure?
Yet, almost every Christian who discovers I love and keep the Sabbath likes to pour iced vinegar on my respect for one of the ten commandments of God. Why is that?
The honest answer is we (the church) have been deceived by Satan, who rubbed his icy hands on the single commandment that identifies who we worship, namely the God who created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, then rested on the seventh day.
Before you decide whether to read the rest of the article, I want to say that Satan deceives...that's his job. If you reflect on your Christian growth and all that you have learned, you will see that there are things you believed that turned out to be false and there were truths that turned out to amaze you.
But, as I have learned, where there is the prevalence of truth, there you will find the abundance of solitude. Thus it has been with the topic of the Sabbath.
The fact that Satan deceives is the only explanation why someone would even think to resist such a beautiful commandment of God.
When I say resist, I mean those preachers who teach us that the Sabbath is "done away with." Those preachers learn from their theologian leaders that the Sabbath is for the Jews.
I'm not a Jew, you say. Well, aside from the fact that under the New Covenant there is neither Jew nor Gentile...(all are Israel by faith)...the Sabbath was in place long before there was a Jew.
If you are not offended and want to learn more, venture with me as I show the beauty of God's commandments, which under the New Covenant, are written on our hearts...
This article will prove to you that not only is the Sabbath still relevant to Christians today, but it is the mark that identifies to whom we belong.
Let's explore the beauty of rest.
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25)
Tails and Thumbs
Before diving into the specific scriptures that bejewel God's Sabbath, let's explore the glory that reveals God's jewelry.
Creation. There are evolutionists, then there are logical minds. We can choose to believe that all things happened or all things were created. Kids believe magic begets all things, grownups believe all that exists is engineered. I won't spend too much time on the nonsense of things creating themselves, but I will point out a few things that highlight the futility of worshipping things that are created.
As I was feeding my cats this evening, I noticed a couple of things. As my male cat hopped onto the dryer (the equivalent of a one-story building to us), I realized his tail is an amazing feat of creation to provide balance. When I was opening the can of food for him, I realized the thumb is likewise a feat of creation.
What this has to do with worship is this: either you foolishly limit yourself to worshipping created things like the sun or saints in heaven, or you worship the one who thought of everything, like tails and thumbs.
Creation and the Mark
We all know God created the world and everything in it in six days and rested on the seventh. But, what most don't realize is the Book of Revelation delineates a mark between two entities, God or Satan; and that seal is the Sabbath:
- Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads (Rev. 14:1).
- It [the beast] also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads (Rev. 13:16).
- They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads (Rev. 22:4).
- Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it (Eze. 9:4)
It appears from these verses, the mark has to do with either the name of the beast or the name of God. The forehead represents belief. In whom do we believe, the God of creation, or the created god of this world? Look at the following verse carefully:
- I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and be careful to obey my rules, and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God" (Eze. 19-20).
Here, God says the Sabbath is a sign (or mark) between us and Him to know that He is the LORD. It is the single identifying mark of a relationship.
In case we still want to deny this fact, let's look at Revelation to see how we identify with Him:
- He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give Him glory because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water (Rev. 14:7).
This clearly identifies the God whom we worship...the God who created the heavens and earth and who rested (Gen. 2:2-3).
Given Israel's history of worshipping the sun gods of the heathens (Baal and Molech), it makes sense that the Sabbath is a sign given to delineate between the true God whom we worship and any false God. We worship the creator not the created things. We worship on the seventh day, not SUN-day.
Lord of the Sabbath
One of the most abominable and blasphemous things I've ever heard is "Jesus did away with the Sabbath."
If He did such a thing, He would be a false prophet and a sinner. So, obviously, those who state such a thing are not intentionally calling our savior a sinner, but they listen to people who went to a theological cemetery (or seminary). I call it a cemetery because they are full of dead works. Do not listen to anyone who even intimates that Jesus broke a commandment!
Here is the verse that they use to blaspheme the Lord of the Sabbath:
- "One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"
- And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?" And 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" (Mark 2:23-28).
While most people who desire lawlessness would automatically interpret this to mean "Jesus changed the rules," on the contrary, Jesus explained the right way to keep the Sabbath. Like with most things the Pharisees added to the Torah, Jesus explained the heart of the Torah, namely love and mercy. The Rabbis added restrictions and Jesus came to lift those burdens and reveal the beauty of the commandments (Matt. 11:28-30).
The commandment of the Sabbath is to cease all servile work; but, if someone is hungry or you have to "work" to give them shelter, then you are not violating the commandment but fulfilling it...it's the heart that matters. Jesus was not violating the Sabbath but showing the religious leaders the heart of the commandment like He did all things.
Sabbath for Whom?
I can quote scripture until my tongue bleeds, and there will be a Christian who says, "the Sabbath is for the Jews"
Like the evolution argument, I won't spend too much time here.
Nevermind the fact that the Sabbath was instituted long before there was a Jew.
Let's look at what Jesus said:
And he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).
Jesus did not say "Sabbath was made for Jew, not Jew for the Sabbath," he said man, as in mankind.
From Genesis to Revelation, God makes it clear that the Sabbath is the mark between Him and those who are His. Why is that so important?
The heathen worshiped idols (created things); He commanded His people to worship the Creator...His signature is the seventh day.
It is that crucial. It's about who belongs to Him.
I've heard well-meaning Christians say, "Since Jesus did away with the Sabbath, we can worship on any day, every day."
I've already established Jesus did not "do away with the sabbath"
But as regards a day, God asks us to keep it holy (which means set apart). If we can treat any day as a sabbath, then how can we set it apart if all days are the same?
Regarding which day, Saturday or Sunday, let's hear from a pope on the matter:
- “Protestants do not realize that by observing Sunday, they accept the authority of the spokesperson of the Church, the Pope” (Our Sunday Visitor, February 5, 1950).
- “Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change [Saturday Sabbath to Sunday] was her act... And the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things” (H.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons).
Obviously, the reformers neglected this all-important point. How about we start a new reformation and center it around ALL of God's commandments?!
Enter Into Rest
So, why the confusion? Why did the reformers reform everything except this one important thing?
Because Satan knows how important it is. He knows the distinguishing mark between those who worship the creator and those who worship the created. He himself is created; therefore, in order for men to worship him, he needs to denigrate the Sabbath, the seal between God and man.
Because of false teachers, Christians use many verses to justify Sunday worship. But there is beauty in the Sabbath...the following verse is a sparkling jewel on the engagement ring between God and His people. Here it is:
- There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest..." (Heb. 4:9-11).
How important is this rest?
Imagine laying in fields of grain with your lost pets, basking in the glory of God, Your head is resting comfortably in the arms of Jesus. That seems great, but we cannot even imagine the glory of this rest:
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9).
Whatever joy we can imagine, God magnifies. That is His rest. So, why do we not follow His weekly pattern to get a weekly taste of what lays in store for us...why not celebrate...