“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall thou labour, and do all thy work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work…For 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” (Exodus 20: 8-11)
Somewhere along the way, we lost our edge when we gave up our Sabbath. Our Israel nations threw away one of the greatest gifts we ever received from God. Of course, we know from the Bible, in particular Numbers 15: 32, that there was always difficulty in keeping the Sabbath, yet, it is a fact that during those times when the nations of Israel were in most concert with this Law of God, the greater their power. Break this link, as we almost totally have over the past fifty years, and it is rather easy to spot one of the reasons for the decline of values, our prosperity, our health and our greatness. The Bible warns us of this consequence in Isaiah 58: 13, 14 and 59: 2. Our iniquity in this sense has greatly separated us from our God and we are paying a mighty penalty because, as the Bible says, we have “turned our foot from the Sabbath.” We were told in Exodus 31: 13-17 that the Sabbaths were to be “a sign between the Lord God Almighty and Israel and we should keep it holy unto us.” It is a sad testimony to these last days that we have obliterated the sign. Ironically, centuries of respecting the Sabbath is but another mark of identification of true Israel.
From an individual standpoint, one days rest in seven is a physical necessity and at one time, men of medicine would be quick to point this out. Of course, any mention of keeping the Sabbath today is invariably scoffed at, or results in a retort like, “I’m not working, today, I’m going to watch a little sports on television, or do a little shopping, or play a little golf, etc.” This is not resting. But, more importantly, it’s not keeping the Sabbath because the Sabbath is something much more than a day of rest. Initially, the Sabbath was a memorial of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage but without knowing our identity, this doesn’t mean very much to true Israel today. Still, what should mean everything to us is the opportunity to stand back from the hurly burly of a stressful world and reflect on the wonder of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and to praise our Saviour and Redeemer for lifting the bondage of sin, both from an individual and national perspective. It’s not “Sabbath keeping” to spend an hour in church, then going for lunch at a restaurant or off to the office for an afternoon’s work.
At one time our Israel nations had laws on the books to prevent business from being contracted on the Sabbath, including sports and other events designed with a profit motive. You couldn’t even impose unnecessary labour on Israelites on the Sabbath. I read somewhere that at the World Exhibition in Paris in the year 1900, neither the British nor the United States would participate on Sundays. If you think back, they were the glory days, especially for the British Empire. Obviously, our government and church leaders better understood the power of Sabbath keeping in those days. Sadly, without the knowledge of our identity, we can’t possibly understand that what has happened with our Sabbath is but the sad outcome of the loss of our dominion (Genesis 27: 40). That, for the most part, the Sabbath has been set aside for profit by enemies of Jesus Christ who wish nothing better than to tighten their yoke of control. The portrayal of Israelites as sheep certainly captures a people who are so easily led astray.
The Sabbath is only one of the Ten Commandments but its almost total abolition has brought us down. I was reading a small book entitled “The Royal Law – Coronation Souvenir 1937” and was struck by this small paragraph that emphasized the then British allegiance to God’s Law. “God’s Word – the Royal Law as it is called in the Coronation Service – is the safest guide for the Nation. Indeed, the Ten Commandments, the Decalogue, given by God through Moses on Mount Sinai comprehend the greatest wisdom and philosophy of the ages, and are in fact God’s Moral Law for the good government of the world. If men let go any one of these Ten Commandments they become morally and spiritually poorer. These Commandments make plain our duty towards God and Man.” The Sabbath is only one of the Ten Commandments we have let go but we shut our eyes to its importance by our refusal to at least reflect upon the severe punishment God had imposed for Sabbath breaking or that “He swore in His wrath that they should not enter into His rest.”
Now, you can’t enter into an article on the Sabbath without someone suggesting that Saturday, not Sunday, is the proper Sabbath, pointing out that the seventh day is clearly Saturday. I’m not going to get into this controversy, other than to say the “Seventh Day Sabbath” was a moveable Sabbath counted from a specific national event and there is overwhelming evidence that the Lord’s Day (Sunday) came into effect upon the Crucifixion of Christ. Obviously, the vast majority of Christendom believes this as well. Nevertheless, I will perhaps write on this at another time.
Finally, there is another Sabbath that we have to quickly consider, that is, the Lord’s Rest. Those who read my article, “The Prophecy of the Lord’s Great Week” know that I believe the passages at the outset of this article not only refer to our 24 hour days as we know them but to a broader meaning as well and a possible dual fulfillment. In 2 Peter 3: 8 we learn, “…that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” So, to God, a day is as a thousand years. It follows then, that Exodus 20: 9-10 also refers to God’s Great Week, His plan is to leave mankind to their own devices for six days, or, six thousand years, this followed by one day, or, one thousand years, when the Lord will come to earth to rule His Millennial Kingdom. To finish this article, I would like to re-print the last paragraph of my September, 2002 article.
“Now there is one more bit of dating that might be worthy of mention. Bishop Ussher dates the fall of Adam as 4004 BC. Howard Rand, the late and great Bible scholar, dates it 3996 BC. Rand wrote, “Bishop Ussher’s system of chronology as given in the King James Version of the Bible is the nearest of any in its accuracy in timing events. His only error, as far as [the] system is concerned, was in assuming that the birth of our Saviour was four years after instead of four years before the commonly quoted 4000 A.M. So, Rand subtracts 4 BC (his estimate of the year of Christ’s birth) from the commonly quoted 4000 BC and arrives at 3996. This is simple and reasonable. However, what if Christ was born in 2 BC, as calculated in TKC Feb, 2002 “Can We Learn From the First Advent.” This would mean that the fall of Adam took place on 3998 BC, that is, the commonly quoted 4000 BC less 2 BC. If so, the 6,000 years will expire in 2003AD.
Perhaps the greatest Sabbath of all is soon to take place.