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Just a Day - The Misunderstood Sabbath
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Just a Day
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The Misunderstood Sabbath
 
            Most people feel the Sabbath has little value because they see a day as just a 24 hour period with no greater or lesser value than any other 24 hour period, but is the Sabbath “just a day” or does it mean something much more? The common misconception is that the Sabbath is some form of punishment applied to the human race because of sin. But what does GOD say HIS Sabbath is?
 
If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight… (Isa 58:13)
 
            GOD tells us that the Sabbath is a delight, not a punishment.
            So if it is not a punishment, then what is it?
 
 To determine this, we have to determine what gives some things value.  For an example let’s use the American Flag.
A flag is generally just a piece of cloth with markings on it. A piece of cloth normally has little value. The ink we would use to put the stars and stripes on the flag would have little value also, but the stars and stripes applied to this piece of cloth give it a distinguishing mark that represents the people and authority of the United States of America. So something that would normally have little or no value can represent something of extreme or priceless value. In this case, the American people.
 
 
So what does the Sabbath represent? What gives the Sabbath value?
            Let’s ask GOD what HE says the Sabbath is…
 
      Ezekiel 20:12 Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a SIGN between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.
 
      Ezekiel 20:20 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.
 
      Exodus 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, 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.
 
Notice the word SIGN that is underlined in each of the above verses; let’s take a closer look at that. The word used in the original Hebrew writings of the bible was “owth”, the word “owth” had many similar definitions as seen below:
 
      owth {oth}: sign(s), token(s), ensign(s), miracles, mark, signal, a distinguishing mark, banner, remembrance, miraculous sign, omen, warning, token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof.
 
Notice where the word “owth” can also mean “a distinguishing mark”? Let’s use that in the previous verses to get a better understanding of them. Remember, we are not adding to or taking away from the bible since the word “owth” also means “a distinguishing mark”.
 
      Ezekiel 20:12 Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a distinguishing mark between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.
 
      Ezekiel 20:20 And hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a distinguishing mark between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your GOD.
 
      Exodus 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a distinguishing mark between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
 
Now we can see where the Sabbath is a distinguishing mark upon us as followers of GOD. Just as the stars and stripes turn a piece of cloth into a symbol of American authority the keeping of GOD’s holy Sabbath signifies that we recognize the GOD of the bible as our one and only GOD. Our profession of faith which we mainly give verbally now is reinforced through our actions for the entire world to see!
 
But even more the Sabbath is GOD’s official memorial that solidifies that HE alone is creator of the universe. As shown in the Sabbath commandment below:
 
      “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, 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, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made the 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
 
This is the forth commandment that GOD himself wrote with His own finger in stone. Remember the entire bible is “inspired” by GOD, but the Ten Commandments are the only part of the bible actually authored by GOD HIMSELF! And in this forth commandment GOD officially signs that HE alone is the creator of “heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is”.
 
So when the bible tells us to…
 
“Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Rev 14:7
 
            …what commandment are they referring too? Obviously the forth commandment as it is the only one that officially establishes that the GOD of the bible is the one who is the creator of all. If we abolish the forth commandment we abolish GOD’s claim to creation of the universe and therefore His claim to authority over our lives.
 
GOD’s signature of authority resides in the fourth commandment. All laws have a signature of authority that consists of three parts…
 
A name, a title and a Jurisdiction.
 
An example would be: George Bush, President of the United States of America.
 
Whenever the president signs a new law into effect it has these three parts. Without these things the law is invalid as it has no authority supporting it. Within GOD’s forth commandment we find…
the LORD (name)
made (title, HE is the creator)
the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is (jurisdiction)
 
When Satan strives to obliterate the Sabbath commandment he is doing so in order to do away with GOD’s claim to creator of the universe and therefore also GOD’s authority over our lives.
 
Did you know the Sabbath also represents love?
Love is always dependant upon how the person receiving the love perceives love. If you were to ask 10 different women how they know when they are being loved they would give you 10 different answers. One might say she feels love when her husband gives her attention, another might say she feels love when her husband gives her gifts, a third may say she feels loved when her husband makes the time to take her away for peaceful vacations, they all perceive love in a different way.
 
So how does GOD perceive love?
 
      If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. – John 15:10
 
      If ye love me, keep my commandments. - John 14:15
 
We can see through these two verses that GOD perceives love as obedience to His commandments.  Just as the physical act of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was an act of his love for us, when we obey GOD’s commandments our love becomes more than just a word, it becomes a physical manifestation of our love for GOD. If words were all that were needed then Jesus need not have had to die on the cross, he could have just “said” to accept him and we would be saved, but physical action was needed to show His true love for us all.
 
So when is the Sabbath and is it still in effect? To find out let’s study a few verses:
 
      O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! - Deuteronomy 5:29
 
Well, GOD said his commandments are forever, all ten of them…
 
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law…   Matthew 5:17
 
And Jesus said he didn’t come to change any of the law…
 
For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. Isaiah 66:22,23
 
God says here that in the future even after judgment day we will be keeping the Sabbath. If the Sabbath is some form of punishment for sin, why will we still be expected to keep it after sin is abolished?
 
Finally let’s do a quick study of Hebrews chapter 4
 
For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works... (Hebrews 4:4)
 
This Establishes the context of this chapter, they are speaking of the seventh day Sabbath commanded by GOD, notice it specifically mentions the seventh day, which is our Saturday.
 
...For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. (Hebrews 4:8)
 
If Jesus had abolished the Sabbath or set up another wouldn't HE have said so? According to this verse he did not.
 
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9)
 
            In the translators notes for the King James Version from where these verses are taken it states: “rest: or, keeping of a Sabbath”. So there is a direct command in the New Testament to keep the Sabbath.  It is even better stated here in the Bible in Plain English translation.
 
"So that there is still a Sabbath-keeping for the people of God"
 Hebrews 4:9 Bible in Basic English
 
But why does GOD use a “day” to represent authority over the universe and our lives? To understand this let’s go back to the Garden of Eden where Satan is tempting Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge in the center of the garden. Satan said to Eve in the garden,
 
For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity. Gen 3:5
 
Eve gave in to Satan’s temptation and ate of the tree hoping to become like GOD, but instead all she learned was what it meant to disobey GOD. Her eyes were opened but not to all the knowledge GOD had as Satan promised because the tree had no real power, it was simply put there as a test of obedience to give Adam and Eve a choice and therefore freewill.
 
      Will you obey, or disobey?
The tree was a test of Adam and Eve’s loyalty and obedience to GOD, which was its only real purpose. The Sabbath that was established at creation has the same purpose. The day in itself has no power; it’s no different than any other day. But it gives us a choice, a chance to say with our actions,
 “Yes GOD, our father in heaven, I love you and will obey because of that love!”
 
Maybe after all this you still don’t really understand the importance of the Sabbath day. But if it’s important to GOD isn’t that enough for it to be important to you? In the end it is simply a question of love, allegiance and obedience.
 
      In summary, keeping the Saturday seventh day Sabbath physically shows through your actions in addition to your words that you wish to display your love for GOD through obedience to HIS commandments and that you also recognize HIM as the one true and only creator of the universe and therefore the top authority in your life.
 
We at Piney Forest Seventh Day Adventist Church warmly invite you to worship with us on Saturday mornings at 11am. Stand with us and show GOD you wish to obey HIM and only HIM with your words and actions. Join with us to show our love for Jesus through our obedience to His commandments and to work to spread his gospel through mission and ministries.
 
Thank you for visiting our website and taking the time to review this lesson on the importance of the Sabbath commandment.
 
Feel free to email us with any questions at call2christ@comcast.net or click here to go to our website home page for more information about our church.
Peace and GOD BLESS!
Amen!
-Ken Elliott Jr