Monday, October 5, 2009

The Sabbath and Moses

The Sabbath, already in the world, already introduced to the people of God, becomes a part of the revealed will of God, the Law in the following passage:

Exodus 20:8-11. "Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you , nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."

a. Note how the Lord connects this command to His original introduction of the Sabbath in Genesis. The motivation for keeping the Sabbath in any generation is simply the fact that God rested from His creative works. He establishes this practice then, not as a local custom, but as a universal way to relate to God as Creator and finisher of works. He who is saved from the dead works of sin which only cursed him, understands that his works are finished in Christ's great work, thus giving the Sabbath even more meaning :

Hebrews 4:10. "For he who has entered His rest [in the Spirit ] has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His."

b. From the Exodus 20 accounting we glean that God expected strangers to keep this day holy also. Foreigners. Non-Jews traveling with Israel. Gentiles. No word is given to the Gentile after he leaves the gates of the Jew, but while he is with them, he is not exempt from so special a time.

c. Note that this commandment is the longest of the ten, yet it would seem, the most mis-understood of all.

d. Especially of importance to those who sincerely wish to know God's will in this matter is the placement of Sabbath-breaking alongside murder, adultery, theft, lying, covetousness, idol worship, pantheism, disrespect to parents, and blasphemy . Whatever we are led to think about Sabbath observance for our day, there is no question about the seriousness of this practice for the people of God in the wilderness.

e. In keeping with the last point, does it not seem strange that even men of the world and especially great majorities of the Church honor nine of the ten commandments, but this seventh day thing is set aside in most minds?

f. By stating in clear words "...the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God" there is forever laid to rest the idea of a "first-day" Sabbath. If the day is to be changed for some given reason down the road, let it not wear the name of God's original day. To speak of the Sabbath is to speak of the seventh day, by God's definition.

g. Many have therefore resorted to a New Testament phrase to differentiate between Saturday and Sunday: The Lord's Day. It may not be totally clear what is meant by this title, but the first clue is in the passage we now study, where the Sabbath is referred to as "the Sabbath [day] of the Lord ..." That is, the Lord's Day. Surely every Jew through the apostles at least would have understood it that way, does it not seem probable? So when John, a Jew, says in Revelation, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day," is it likely that he spoke of Sunday?

h. No mention is made in this text regarding exactly how to keep the Sabbath holy. Other Scriptures develop the point that it is not the seventh day as a meeting day, but the seventh day as a day of rest that is being advanced here.

The Sabbath is thus introduced formally to the world, and calls upon us yet today to decide what our connection is to be. is a website I put together a few months back to get the word out to believers that they need to pray for North Korea. Just about every day I'm writing a blog featuring some news, a book, or a story of North Korea. There's a live news feed on the site, lists of resources, picture essays, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together!

And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Who are you? Would love to fellowship with believers who respond on my site.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

This is Hannah Bevills, Editor for which is a social network made specifically for Christians, by Christians, to directly fulfill Christian's needs. We embarked on this endeavor to offer the ENTIRE christian community an outlet to join together as one (no matter denomination) and better spread the good word of Christianity. has many great features aside from the obvious like christian TV, prayer request or even find a church/receive advice. We have emailed you because we have interest in collaborating with you and your blog to help us spread the good word. I look forward to an email regarding the matter, Thanks!

God Bless

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