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Chapter 86

Reasons for Sabbathkeeping

In what way is the true God distinguished from all false gods?
"The Lord is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting king... The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. He hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion." Jeremiah 10:10-12.

How did Paul explain to the idolatrous Athenians the identity of the true God?
"Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you, God that made the world and all things therein." Acts 17:23, 24.

What did the apostles tell the idolaters at Lystra?
"Turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein." Acts 14:15. (See also Revelation 10:6; 14:6, 7.)

What is the reason given in the fourth commandment for keeping the Sabbath holy?
"For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day." Exodus 20:11.
NOTE: The Sabbath is the great memorial of the creative power of the true and living God. God's design in making the Sabbath was that man might never forget Him, the Creator of all things.

"Religious ideas and practices among all peoples, in varying degrees, have been associated with all the time divisions which men have adopted. But in connection only with the week is religion obviously the explanation of its origin, and the week only is uniformly attributed to command of God. The week exists because of the Sabbath. It is historically and scientifically true that the Sabbath was made by God." --W.O. Carver, Sabbath Observance, pp. 34-35. Copyright, 1940, by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.

When we remember that millions of the world's inhabitants today are idolaters, and then since the Fall, idolatry, with its train of resultant evils, has ever been a prevailing sin, and then, think that the observance of the Sabbath, as God ordained it, would have prevented all this, we can better appreciate the value of the Sabbath institution, and of Sabbathkeeping.

What is the Sabbath to those who keep it holy?
"And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God." Ezekiel 20:20.
NOTE: "The observance of the Sabbath connects man with the origin of his race, with the six days' creation, and with the Creator Himself. . . The Sabbath thus becomes a sign by which the believers in a historical Revelation are distinguished from those who have allowed these great facts to fade from their remembrance (Exodus 31:31) . . . The observance of the Sabbath, then, becomes the characteristic of those who cherish the recollections of the origin of their race, and who worship God not merely as Elohim, the Everlasting Almighty, but a Jehovah, the historical God, the Creator, who has revealed Himself to man from the dawn of his existence as the God of love, and afterwards of mercy and grace, of promise and performance." --James G. Murphy, Commentary on the Book of Exodus, pp. 143-144.

How important is it that we come to know God?
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3.

Is there any danger that the people of God may forget Him?
"Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes." Deuteronomy 8:11.

What other reason is given for keeping the Bible Sabbath?
"Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you." Exodus 31:13.
NOTE: To sanctify is to make holy, or to set apart for a holy use. The sanctification, or making holy, of sinful beings can be wrought only by the creative power of God through Christ by the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 1:30 we are told that Christ is made unto us "sanctification;" and in Ephesians 2:10, it is said that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." The Sabbath, therefore, is a sign of what Christ is to the believer, because it is a reminder of the creative power of God manifested in the work of regeneration. It is the sign of the power of God, therefore, in both creation and redemption. To the believer it is the evidence, or sign, that he knows the true God, who, through Christ, created all things, and who, through Christ, redeems the sinner and makes him whole.

What special reason did Israel have for keeping the Sabbath?
"And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day." Deuteronomy 5:15.
NOTE: In their bondage the Israelites had to some extent lost the knowledge of God, and departed from His precepts. In consequence of the oppression, especially the rigorous exactions made upon them by the Pharaoh of the Exodus, Sabbath observance was doubtless extremely difficult if not entirely impossible. Deliverance from this oppression was therefore an additional reason for their keeping the Sabbath. Since Egyptian bondage is illustrative of the bondage of sin, everyone who has been delivered from sin may regard himself as having the same reason for keeping the Sabbath as had the Israelites who were released from Egyptian bondage.

As God brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, so He brings us out of the bondage of sin. Why did He bring His people out of Egypt?
"He brought forth His people... and gave them the lands of the heathen;... that they might observe His statutes, and keep His laws." Psalm 105:43-45.
NOTE: Their deliverance from Egyptian bondage was a reason for the keeping not only of the fourth commandment but of every precept of God's law. This is indicated by the preamble to the law as given on Sinai: "I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of bondage," prefacing "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:2-3. (See also Leviticus 19:35-37; Deuteronomy 10:19; 15:12-15; 24:17-18.) Likewise, God calls everyone who, through Christ, has been delivered from the bondage of sin, to keep not only the Sabbath, but every precept of His holy law. "Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil." Isaiah 56:2.

What does the word "sabbath" mean?
NOTE: Previous to the Fall, God designed that man's time should be occupied with pleasant, invigorating labor. (Genesis 2:15.) Wearisome toil came in consequence of sin. (Genesis 3:17-19.) Since the Fall the Sabbath may bring physical rest to both man and beast of burden (Exodus 23:12) but physical rest was not its original and primary design or purpose. Cessation from the ordinary labors of the week was ordained, not because these are sinful in themselves, but that man might have a frequently recurring period for the contemplation of the Creator and His works.

Was it God's plan that the Seventh day Sabbath be used as a day for public worship?
"Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation." Leviticus 23:3.
NOTE: A convocation is an assembly of people.

Copyright © 1988 Research Institute for Better Reading, Inc., used by permission by Project Restore, Inc. at www.projectrestore.com
Created: 07/18/02 Updated: 01/31/05