The Sabbath is a Gift for the World, not a Burden Just for the Jews

They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you…. Exodus 16:29 NLT 

Regardless of our personal stand on wedding rings or wedding watches for that matter, we all understand that in many cultures the wedding ring is a gift symbolizing a relationship. Men will pick out a ring that they hope

their fiancés will appreciate and they usually pay a pretty penny for it. Now both parties realize the ring is not the relationship itself but they cherish their rings because of what they represent. Now imagine if a wife told her husband she threw her ring away because after all she has him and no longer needs what the ring represents? Wouldn’t the husband be hurt that his gift was not appreciated?

Or take for example your nation’s flag. On April 25, 1976 The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team were playing a home game against the visiting Chicago Cubs. While the Dodgers were up to bat, two men ran onto the outfield with a United States flag, and opened up a lighter. Rick Monday, the Cubs’ outfielder saw they were trying to burn the flag right there in front of the crowd. He ran and grabbed the flag away from the men before they could catch it on fire. He took the flag to the Dodger’s dugout while the entire crowd cheered for the opposing team’s outfielder who just saved the United States flag. The Dodger’s even put a message on the board saluting the Cubs’ outfielder, “Rick Monday you made a great play!” The crowd cherished and protected the flag because of what it represented. The flag is not our country it is a piece of cloth, but we honor our flags because they represent our country. 

Even though married couples have each other they do not throw their wedding rings away. I even heard a pastor who was against wearing wedding rings counsel a couple who were no longer wearing their rings to keep them away. He counseled them to keep their rings in a special box. So please lets not get sidetracked and miss my point here. The real marriage does not do away with the ring symbolizing the marriage. The real country does not do away with it’s flag symbolizing the country. Likewise God has given us the Sabbath as a gift. He gives us a weekly rest to remind us of His promise to save us by resting our faith in Him alone. He gives us the gift of not working that day to remind us that our works do not save us. God alone saves us. 

Now I have heard people say that  Jesus replaced the weekly Sabbath when He gave us spiritual rest. I have heard people say that in Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus gives us a spiritual rest, thus doing away with the Sabbath. However throwing away the weekly Sabbath because we have a spiritual rest now would be the same thing as throwing away wedding ring (or watch) because we now have the wedding, or going ahead and burning our nation’s flag because we now have a nation. People keep their rings and the marriage. People honor their nation’s flag and their country. Fact is in the Old Testament we had a spiritual rest and the weekly Sabbath just like in the New Testament. We have had the Sabbath ever since creation as an eternal sign of the rest we have always had in God in both the Old and New Testament. The Sabbath never saved anyone in the Old Testament or New Testament. We have always been saved by grace, and not by works, and the Sabbath is the everlasting sign and promise that we were created by God’s works and not our own, and that we were redeemed by God’s work on the cross and not our own in both the Old and New Testament. 

Tell the people of Israel: ‘Be careful to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you from generation to generation. It is given so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy. You must keep the Sabbath day, for it is a holy day for you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the Lord. Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day by observing it from generation to generation. This is a covenant obligation for all time. It is a permanent sign of my covenant with the people of Israel. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and was refreshed. Exodus 31:13-17 NLT

The Sabbath is a sign of God’s promise that He alone makes us holy. Our works don’t sanctify or make us holy. No work is to be done on the Sabbath to symbolize that God’s people understand they are not saved by their works. They are saved in the Old Testament as well as New Testament by resting their faith in God’s works and merits. The rest Jesus offered in Matthew 11:28-30 is the rest the people had in the Old Testament. 

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your oxen and donkeys and other livestock, and any foreigners living among you. All your male and female servants must rest as you do. Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day. Exodus 5:12-15 NLT 

The weekly Sabbath was given as a sign in the Old Testament that their own works did not save them from slavery. God’s works saved them from slavery. In Egypt the Jews did all the work so Pharaoh could rest. God gave them the Sabbath as a gift to remind them He would do all the work so they could rest. In Eden the Sabbath was a sign for Adam and Eve to know that “It was God who made us and not we ourselves.” At Sinai the Sabbath was a sign that God worked out their salvation from Egyptian bondage and they did not save themselves. 

Was the Sabbath rest an Old Testament sign for the Jews alone?

I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord, who serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant. Isaiah 56:6 NLT

The Sabbath is a sign that we are God’s people regardless if we are Jews or foreigners. The Sabbath was not given to the Jews as a sign they were Jews. It was given to the Jews as a sign they were God’s people. That same sign is given to the foreigners that they are God’s people. Old or New Testament, Jew or Gentile, the Sabbath is God’s eternal gift reminding us every week that we are saved by resting our faith in His promises of grace. Like a wedding ring, like a flag, the Sabbath is God’s gift symbolizing every week the rest we have in Him. We don’t throw wedding rings or wedding watches away because we have marriage. We don’t burn flags because we have our country. Likewise we don’t throw the weekly Sabbath away because we have Jesus. The Sabbath is His gift reminding us of His amazing grace. 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

You may study more about the Sabbath here.

Mark 16; First Day Texts in The Bible

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Since all four gospels record the ressurection of course, I decided to spend some time here in Mark 16 addressing the first day of the week texts in the Bible to see if any of them say that the first day of the week is now holy. Three references to the first day of the week are found in Mark 16 but let’s take a look at them all.

 

Notes on the Eight New Testament Sunday (first day) Texts. Do any of these inform us of a transfer of the Sabbath from Saturday (seventh day) to Sunday (first day)?

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. Matthew 28:1

Note: Mary waited until the first day of the week when the Sabbath would be over. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the [mother] of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first [day] of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. Mark 16:1

Note: They were not coming to worship but to work. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

Now when [Jesus] was risen early the first [day] of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. Mark 16:9

Note: Another verse mentioning the first day of the week but no command to keep it holy. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

And] she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told [it] unto the residue: neither believed they them. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. Mark 16:10-14

Note: Here it says they believed not. So this obviously was not a meeting of believers on the first day of the week. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

Now upon the first [day] of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain [others] with them. Luke 24:1                                           

 

Note: No indication of a change in God’s law. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

The first [day] of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. John 20:1

Note: No mention of the Sabbath being changed from Saturday to Sunday.

Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you. John 20:19

Note: This is not an assembly for worship but for “fear of the Jews.” Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

And upon the first [day] of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing [him] said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted. And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene. Acts 20:7-14

Note: There many lights, because this is a Saturday night meeting. Remember the day begins at evening. See Genesis 1:5 and Leviticus 23:32. Paul preached till Dawn Sunday morning and then walked 20 miles to Assos, something he would never have done on the Holy Sabbath. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 1 Corinthians 16:1,2

 

Note: Taking up an offering does not make a day holy. No reference here is even made of a worship service. Paul informed all the churches, including Corinth to lay aside money at home for the poor so that when he passed through he could easily pick it up to take to them. See Acts 11:29,30 and Romans 15:25,26. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

We clearly see that there is no text in the Bible telling us that Sunday is the new Sabbath. Meanwhile when it comes to keeping Jesus’ New Testament Sabbath, which is still Saturday, or man’s Sabbath which is Sunday, Jesus tells us plainly:

But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:9

If ye love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15