Remember the Sabbath
Did you ever stop to think why Christians keep Sunday? Did they get it from the Bible? Is there a clear-cut command that says, "Thou shalt keep Sunday?" Why did Jesus worship on Saturday? Was it only because He was a good Jew? Or does it go beyond that? Does it make any difference which day we observe, as long as we keep one day in seven? What does the Bible actually say? "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day....Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all the work He had created and made" (Gen. 2:2- 3).
Go grab a calendar. See which day is the seventh day and then you'll know the Biblical Sabbath. And remember, GOD GAVE MANKIND the gift of the Sabbath from creation. Adam and Eve weren't Jewish! And yet God expected them to remember the seventh day Sabbath as a memorial of creation.
When we assemble on our God-given Sabbath, we know we're worshipping the King of Creation. Any other "sabbath" is simply man-made! The Great Creator God only blessed the seventh day with His Presence, and therefore set it apart as special. We shouldn't accept any cheap imitations or substitutes, whether it's the Muslim Friday or traditional Sunday!
Since mankind lost or neglected the truth about God's Sabbath, the Creator chose to reveal it again when He was in the process of making Israel into His Servant-Nation. God instructed them, in order that they could teach others: "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.... 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" (Ex. 20:8-11).
Notice: God claims the Sabbath as His. He doesn't refer to it as the "Jewish Sabbath." Though it became known as that to distinguish it from the various pagan days of worship (Ga. 4:10). "The Lord's day" was meant for all mankind to enjoy and appreciate (Mat. 12:8; Isa. 56:6). And the early Church, composed of both Jews and Gentiles, did celebrate the proper Sabbath together for over THREE HUNDRED YEARS! That's longer than the U.S. has known independence!
When GODrestored the Sabbath to Israel, it was the same SEVENTH DAY SABBATH instituted at Creation. It wasn't changed to a different day. And its purpose remained the same: to reveal the CREATOR and commemorate His majestic works of art!
Jesus honored His Father by keeping God's commandments. The fourth commandment is to remember the Sabbath day. Christ didn't forget the importance of attending Sabbath services (Lk. 4:16) - NEVER ON A SUNDAY- and the apostle Paul encourages us to avoid the habit of skipping Church services (Heb. 10:25). After all, it is a commanded assembly (Lev. 23:3) that offers us a chance to better understand the Scriptures (Acts 19:8). Why miss out?
As well as reminding us of God's awesome ability, the Sabbath is a memorial of Israel's deliverance from Egypt (Deut. 5:15). It also foreshadows our future redemption from European tyranny and portrays our ongoing deliverance from sin (Isa. 14:3; Ga. 5:1). The plagues God sent against Egypt identified Him as the Creator God: the One who could control the forces of nature and intervene in the affairs of nations. When God pours out the seven last plagues on Europe's Babylonish system, bringing it to its knees, it'll reveal Him alone as the Most High God and Holy Father (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 14:7)!
The Sabbath day, a memorial of creation and Israel's liberation, reminds us relief from sin is coming. We'll finally be able to rest from temptation and enjoy righteousness (II Pet. 3:13)! When we're truly born again we'll be free from sin; it'll be a thing of the past (I Jn. 3:9). This serenity awaits us in the Promised Land of God's Kingdom (Heb. 4:1- 11). God is reproducing Himself - Christ in us - and will add the "finishing touch" at our resurrection (Rom. 8:21-23).
Jesus cut through all the red tape of entangling human traditions, and kept the Sabbath day as God intended (Mk. 7:7). Yet it was prophesied that some would tamper with how and when we're to observe God's Sabbath day, and forcibly attempt to replace it with their own (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 17:5). This Sabbath question is destined to become a bloody issue again (Rev. 13:17; 14:13). But for those who really want to know the truth, God's entrusted the Jews to keep the knowledge of the true Sabbath day (Rom. 9:4). And the Jews don't worship on Sunday! They follow the Biblical practice of celebrating the Sabbath: from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. God even pronounces a blessing on everyone who's properly keeping the Sabbath just before Christ's return, despite political pressure to do otherwise (Isa. 56:1-2).
Why not take time out to get to know God? Although He enjoys our contact daily, God's set aside every seventh day as a special opportunity to learn more about Him and life. Don't settle for counterfeits or attempt to adopt days copied from others (Deut. 12:30).
GOD'S RESERVED THE SEVENTH DAY FOR HIS PEOPLE. It was a regular part of Jesus' life and the early Church's custom. In fact, all the righteous priests and prophets, patriarches and kings, throughout Biblical history, have kept God's holy Sabbath. Why not follow their example? Don't forget!
About the Author
David Ben-Ariel, an American author who has travelled widely and who has lived throughout Israel, shares a special focus on the Middle East and great interest in Jerusalem, reflected in hard-hitting articles that help others improve their understanding of that troubled region. Check out www.benariel.com