Just A Day Part 2 - How do we "keep the Sabbath"?
(Note from Author: The views presented in this article are the authors own and not necessarily the views of the Seventh Day Adventist Church – Author, Ken Elliott JR.)
Just a Day Part 2 - How do we keep the Sabbath?
How do we keep the Sabbath?
This is an issue that Satan has gone to great lengths to make confusing in order to discourage Christians from even trying to keep the Sabbath day holy. In actuality GOD intended for the Sabbath, as well as all ten of HIS commandments to be easy, straightforward and even enjoyable to keep. There are basically three simple, interlocking aspects to keeping the Sabbath holy. Worship, no buying or selling, and the most controversial aspect of Sabbath keeping, to refrain from work.
The fourth commandment states:
“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)
Let’s look at worship first. What does the fourth commandment mean by “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy”? In Genesis 2, verses 2 and 3 we read,
“And on the seventh day God ended his work that he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work that God created and made.” (Genesis 2:2, 3)
The above verse shows us that GOD blessed and sanctified the Sabbath Day as a memorial to the fact that HE, GOD alone, created the universe which also establishes the reason why we are “to keep it [the Sabbath day] holy”, but the question is “how” do we “keep it holy”?
For that, let’s read Leviticus 23, verse 3,
Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day [is] the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work [therein]: it [is] the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:3)
The above verse uses the term “an holy convocation”, the original word for “convocation” is the Hebrew word “miqra” which literally means “public meeting”. Within the forth commandment is the command for a “holy public meeting” to be held on the Sabbath day. By obeying this command for a “holy public meeting”, and assembling for worship on the Sabbath day we acknowledge that the GOD of the Holy Bible alone is the one true creator of everything in the universe, including humanity, and that we are therefore obligated to recognize HIS authority in our lives.
The Sabbath day is further established as the eternal day of gathering for worship in Isaiah 66 verses 22 and 23, in it we read,
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)
In the verse above we are shown that GOD expects us to gather, or in HIS own words “come to worship”, on the Sabbath day, not just now in the present but in the “new heaven and the new earth” which will be created after judgment day. We will be expected to gather or “come to worship” on the Sabbath day forever. Gathering in remembrance or out of respect for someone is a common practice. An example would be gathering for a birthday celebration to honor a friend or relative or the gathering we do on holidays for many different reasons. We take many days off every year in remembrance of important events, but claim not to understand the importance of taking a day off when GOD tells us to. Gathering to show appreciation, loyalty or respect is something mankind has done for thousands of years, so for GOD to expect us to gather on a certain day to show respect for HIS creative power and loyalty for HIS law just shows HIM that we consider HIM and only HIM as the true authority in our lives.
The bible also tells us that if we love Jesus we are to live as Jesus did and the bible clearly shows that it was the “custom” of Jesus to attend worship and teach on the Sabbath day as we read in Luke 4 verse 16,
And he [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read. (Luke 4:16)
So the seventh day of the week, the biblical Sabbath, is the day GOD expects us to gather for worship and “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy”.
Next, let’s deal with the most controversial aspect of Sabbath keeping, the command to do no work. This is going to take a little more explaining, so bear with me. Satan has had thousands of years to twist and distort the bible on this issue, so it is not as easy to explain, this is going to take a small amount of study to understand.
There are two things we need to go over before interpreting the commandment to do no work on the Sabbath day.
First we need to understand that GOD can never lie. The bible says in Titus 1, verse 2,
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began (Titus 1:2)
If GOD cannot lie, then whatever HE says or commands must be an absolute truth. So when we read in 1 John 5:3,
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3)
…we must understand that since GOD cannot tell a lie, and since HE also says that HIS commandments are not “grievous” then there is no way that we can correctly apply GOD’s commandments to our lives or the lives of others in a way that would cause a burden, or be “grievous”, in their lives or ours. GOD is perfection and so is HIS law, if we are using the law to hurt or hinder another human being then we are misusing GOD’s law and have stepped outside the intent of the law.
Which brings us to the second thing we need to understand to properly interpret GOD’s law?
All laws have intent. Intent is the purpose for which the law was created. To explain this adequately we will use two examples.
In our first example, let’s say a police officer sees a car speeding along the highway above the posted speed limit. The officer catches the car, pulls it over, and questions the driver. While questioning the driver the officer discovers that the driver has no logical or necessary reason to be driving above the speed limit. He issues the driver a speeding ticket and sends him on his way.
In our second example, let’s say we have the exact same kind of situation. A police officer spots a speeding driver and pulls him over. When the officer investigates the driver this time he discovers that the speeder is a worried father rushing his injured child to the hospital, the child is obviously in distress and needs immediate medical attention. Instead of giving the driver a speeding ticket, this time the officer instructs the driver to follow him, he returns to his police cruiser, turns on his lights and sirens and escorts the father and son to the hospital.
Now, in both cases the driver was driving above the speed limit, but in only one case was the speeding law being broken because the intent of the law was never created to keep people from getting the help they needed or impeding any other emergency situation. The driver in the first example was breaking the law because he violated the intent of the law, since the intent of a speeding law is to keep traffic at a steady pace without any one driver creating a hazard for other drivers or pedestrians. But in the second example the intent of the law was not being violated since the law was not created to cause undue suffering or hinder a person needing help to be able to obtain that help.
In this same way GOD’s law was created with certain intent in mind and that intent was to help mankind live free, happy and healthy lives.
Now that we understand the concepts of GOD’s law not being “grievous” and that it also has a specific intent let’s move on.
The first thing we need to study is Exodus chapter 5, because it is here in Exodus chapter 5 that we see the first instance of GOD’s people being ordered to work on the Sabbath day.
In this chapter we see Moses and Aaron go to talk with Pharaoh to ask for the release of the Jewish slaves in Egypt as they were ordered to do by GOD. This angers Pharaoh, who responds by telling Moses and Aaron,
…”Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens.” (Exodus 5:5)
The original word “rest” used in the above verse is the word “Shabath”, which is a Hebrew word for “keeping the Sabbath”. The Jews were being allowed to keep their Sabbath day but Pharaoh, angered that Moses and Aaron had requested the release of the slaves, then orders the Jewish nation to work on the Sabbath day to gather straw for the brick they needed to build with. He does this in an attempt to show his authority over GOD’s on the Jewish Nation.
And Pharaoh commanded the same day [which would be the Sabbath day –author] the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labor therein; and let them not regard vain words. (Exodus 5: 6-9)
Instead of refusing to do the work, the Jewish nation gathered straw and worked on the Sabbath day, as we can read in Exodus 5 chapter 12,
So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. (Exodus 5:12)
The Jewish people did not like being forced to work on the Sabbath and they complained of this to their captors and taskmasters, but there is no record of them laying down their lives in refusal to follow the command of Pharaoh, and even though it seems that the Jewish nation broke the commandment to not work on the Sabbath day GOD did not punish them, instead GOD intervened on behalf of his people and sent 10 plagues upon Egypt to force Pharaoh to release the Jewish nation. GOD knew that if his children had been left alone they would have obeyed HIS will. And also there was one other factor that allowed the Jewish people to work without breaking GOD’s law.
The Jewish nation during this time period still understood the intent of the law. The Jewish nation understood also that they were biblically commanded to do what their masters had ordered them to do as we read in Colossians 3 verse 22,
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; (Colossians 3:22)
…and they also understood that it was their masters who were held responsible by GOD for making sure they were not ordered to work on the Sabbath day.
There are two verses that talk about the master’s responsibility to ensure his servants the Sabbath day of rest from labor. As we read them notice that the verses are addressed directly to masters or what in modern times would more appropriately be called employers, as well as just individual persons.
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: (Exodus 20:10)
Notice in Exodus 20 above it specifically points out that you are not to make your “manservant, nor thy maidservant” do any work. This is further reinforced in our second verse, Deuteronomy 5:14,
“that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.”
In these two verses it shows that the masters are responsible for making sure their slaves, or in modern times employees, have the Sabbath day free from labor. The Jewish nation of Pharaoh’s time still understood this aspect of the law, and knew that GOD would save them for being oppressed by Pharaoh, not punish them for breaking the law. The Jewish nation understood that the law was made to help and protect them, and that it was not created as something that could be used by their enemies to turn them against GOD. It has been Satan’s interference since the time of Jesus that has taught men that to obey GOD’s law means to suffer. Satan has tried to introduce doctrine into current Christian beliefs that would seem to say you are not to work on the Sabbath day even if it means that your family will suffer from the lack of the basic needs of survival, food, clothing and shelter. He, Satan, has done this in an attempt to discourage Christians from even attempting to keep the Sabbath.
Jesus would even try to correct this false teaching to the Pharisees of his time by saying,
“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath:” (Mark 2:27)
When Jesus made this statement He was not abolishing the Sabbath, He had been spotted gathering corn to feed the hungry and He was trying to reestablish the intent of the law in the eyes of the Pharisees, who had added so much to GOD’s law that it was now a grievous burden to the lives of the people it was meant to protect and help. Jesus was not breaking the law, even though he was working on the Sabbath, since the law’s intent was never to keep people from feeding their family or taking care of their loved ones. Also, since people do not starve to death in a day’s time we can safely assume this was not some type of emergency situation and also if Jesus wanted to make the point that no work should ever be done on the Sabbath He could have easily waited for sundown since, if it wasn’t an emergency, the people could have waited to eat.
Instead Jesus shows us that the well being of the people is outside the intent of the law. In Luke chapter 14, as Jesus is eating bread with a Pharisees he heals a man of dropsy and then says,
And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day? (Luke 14:5)
In this instance Jesus was trying to make the Pharisees understand that if the life of an animal were important enough to do work on the Sabbath how much more important was the life of a human, and if the well being of animals should be tended to on the Sabbath so should the well being of people.
It becomes very clear with a study of the bible, that doing what is necessary to survive is not considered breaking the Sabbath. Satan has tried to make it seem that work should not be done in almost any case except extreme emergencies or medical conditions, but this cannot be proven with the bible, it is only Satan’s attempt to try and convince mankind that obeying GOD is too much of a burden and should be avoided. Unfortunately to a great extent Satan has been very successful in his attempts to slander GOD’s law in these ways.
One instance in which Satan distorts the bible to try and convince mankind that no work can be done on the Sabbath is the bible passages in Numbers detailing a man who gathers sticks on the Sabbath and is stoned for it. Satan tries to convince modern Christianity into believing that the man is stoned for doing the work, but let’s take a close look at that passage and see why the man is really stoned to death.
In Numbers 15 verses 32 through 36 we read,
And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses. (Numbers 15: 32-36)
At first glance at this passage it would seem the man is stoned for the act of gathering sticks on the Sabbath day, but how can this be since Jesus himself gathered corn on the Sabbath day as we can read in Mathew 12 verse 1,
At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. (Matthew 12:1)
If the man was gathering sticks and Jesus gathered corn these actions are basically exactly alike, why is one allowed and one punishable by death? For the answer we simply have to look a few verses earlier in Numbers, just before the verses where the man is gathering the sticks. In Numbers 15, verses 30 and 31 we read,
But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him. (Numbers 15:30, 31)
Just after these two verses we are given the example of the man gathering sticks. We notice that the context of these verses is that the man was acting “presumptuously” and the phrase “he hath despised the word of the LORD” is used. Many people will teach that because the man was gathering sticks that meant he was “presumptuous” and that “he despised the word of the LORD”, but did the act of Jesus gathering corn mean that Jesus was also presumptuous and despised the word of the LORD?
Of course not.
One definition of presumptuous is to be arrogant. The man gathering wood in the woods was not in need of the wood as he was surrounded by millions of fellow Jews, he did not need to be gathering the wood, instead he was arrogantly, and through his actions, trying to put his own authority above GOD’s. The verse tells us that he “despised the word of the LORD.” The act of work alone does not mean you despise the word of the LORD, if it did then when Jesus worked on the Sabbath it would also have meant Jesus despised the word of the LORD which we know could never be true.
To simplify, what we have in Numbers chapter 15 is an instance where a man takes it upon himself to put his own authority above GOD’s. This man did not wish to answer to GOD; he only wanted to answer to himself. His act of work did not mean he was “presumptuous” and that “he despised the word of the LORD”. He was presumptuous and despised the word of the LORD because he didn’t want to obey GOD, then he went and did the work to show he wanted to answer only to himself. He was not stoned for doing work; he was stoned for trying to put himself and his own authority above GOD’s authority.
The penalty of stoning seems harsh, but we also have to remember that with possibly millions of Jews wandering in the desert the law had to be strictly upheld or else the situation the Jewish nation was currently in would have rapidly dwindled into chaos, which could have ultimately meant the end of humanity, as without a people on earth to uphold GOD’s laws there would have been no one left to teach the world not to sin.
Also, I need to point out that the Jews did not immediately stone the man when they caught him working, they had to take the man to Moses and Aaron who then got word directly from GOD. If it was the Jews custom to immediately stone a person for doing work why did they have to consult Moses and Aaron who then had to consult GOD himself for final judgment?
The answer is simple; they did not immediately stone the man because it was not their custom to immediately stone someone for working on the Sabbath as modern interpretation would lead us to believe. The Jews had to go all the way to GOD himself for final judgment because only GOD could know what was in the accused man’s heart and why the accused man was actually doing the work. In the man’s heart GOD found arrogance and that the man despised GOD’s word and law, so he had broken GOD’s law and was put to death as punishment. The accused man was not put to death just for the simple act of gathering wood, as that would be senseless.
A further example of what is allowed on the Sabbath day can be found in Matthew chapter 25 verses 34 through 40. In these verses we see an image of Jesus on judgment day separating those who obeyed GOD and cared for their fellow man and those who did not. For the people who did care for their fellow man the verses read,
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:34-40)
In the above verses we see that Jesus expects us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, take care of the sick and shelter those in need. If feeding and clothing people are necessary actions for pleasing Jesus on judgment day, how could it be considered evil on the Sabbath day?
Obviously it can’t be.
In actuality Jesus taught that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day…
And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. (Mark 3:4)
Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the Sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it? (Luke 6:9)
Obviously from the verses in Matthew doing what is necessary to feed and clothe our families would certainly be allowed on the Sabbath day under Jesus’ teachings as long as it was necessary work that needed to be done to ensure the well being of our families.
Observance of the Sabbath day was never intended to hinder our ability to survive and provide for the ones we love; it was only meant to give us a day to spend in worship together toward GOD and a rest from our weekly chores to spend with our family and fellow Christians.
Finally let’s deal with the third aspect of Sabbath keeping, not to buy and sell.
There is no direct commandment not to buy and sell on the Sabbath day. Instead the need to refrain from buying and selling on the Sabbath comes from Nehemiah 10, verse 31,
And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the Sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the Sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt. (Nehemiah 10:31)
Basically what was happening in this chapter is that non-Jews were coming to the Jews to sell their wares. The people who were coming to the Jews to sell were doing their normal everyday jobs as vendors. Had the Jews purchased from them they would have been enabling the outsiders to work on the Sabbath which would have been counterproductive to the Jews mission to teach the law and obedience of GOD.
Also in modern times, the act of buying and selling could cause an employer to force his or her employee to work on the Sabbath thereby denying them their Sabbath day of rest per GOD’s command.
For example, let’s imagine we are going to a restaurant to eat on the Sabbath day. Maybe the waitress who is working at the restaurant wanted her Sabbath day off, but since the restaurant manager knew there would be customers in the restaurant that day he orders the waitress to work. As we read in the earlier section about working on the Sabbath day the waitress should do what her employer commands and the employer has taken it upon himself to break GOD’s law by forcing an employee to work on the Sabbath, but we still have not helped our fellow Christian by creating a reason for her to be forced to work in the first place by showing up to do business. If the world followed all GOD’s commandments then nobody would be showing up to eat at that restaurant on the Sabbath day and the waitress would have been guaranteed the day free from labor. We should always refrain from buying and selling, other than emergencies, when it could result in someone having to do their regular everyday occupation so that all Christians can enjoy their day of rest.
Keep in mind, no where in this article have I said it was ok to break GOD’s law in any way. What I have pointed out is that doing things that are required for basic human survival are outside the intent of why the law was created and therefore not a violation of the law. If ordered by a master, superior or government to do something directly in violation of GOD’s law such as stealing, killing (other than defense of oneself, one’s family or one’s country) or holding worship on a day other than the Sabbath day we are to uphold GOD’s law first and foremost. The responsibility for our employers to provide us the day free from labor is directly written into the fourth commandment but no change in the day of worship, or other changes anywhere in the law is allowed. GOD himself is our ultimate master and HIS commandments supersede all others commands.
Many Christians over the years have lost jobs, entire careers and sometimes even their lives in their devotion to keeping GOD’s law. This article is not meant to take away from their sacrifices in any way. On the contrary, the author of this article has nothing but the highest respect for any Christian’s who have made any sacrifice to uphold the law of GOD. I firmly believe it should be the right of every person on earth to have their day of worship free from labor without the worry of repercussions in any form. I have only written this because I could see that Satan has done with the Sabbath commandment what he has done with almost all things of GOD. He has twisted and distorted its purpose in an attempt to make Christians believe the Sabbath was a burden instead of the blessing it truly is and to try and scare Christians away from even attempting to try and keep GOD’s Sabbath commandment.
In summary, to keep the Sabbath do three simple things. Attend worship on the Sabbath day as commanded by GOD. Do not buy and sell if it interferes with someone else’s day of rest. And refrain from work unless it would result in your inability to obtain the basic necessities of life. GOD did not create the Sabbath day for our enemy Satan to use as a tool against us; neither did he create it as something that would cause us to starve our families. We should make it one of our most important life goals to follow all of GOD’s Ten Commandments to the fullest including not doing work on the Sabbath Day, but if you have to work on the Sabbath to provide for your families basic survival needs, then for the time being do as your employer tells you. Your employers are not supposed to be making you choose between feeding your family and obeying GOD’s law and GOD is fully aware of this fact. Pray for GOD to help you find a way to support yourself and your family that does not involve Sabbath work. GOD knows what is on your heart and in time HE will help you find a way to do what HE needs you to do and live the way HE wants you to live.
I hope you have enjoyed this lesson on how to keep the Sabbath and that it has been helpful to you. Peace and GOD BLESS
Kenneth Elliott jr. -2009
** Addendum regarding this interpretation of Sabbath Keeping and the apparent conflict this interpretation may seem to have with Bible Prophecy in regards to end time events.
It is widely believed in many Sabbath Keeping congregations that Sabbath work may in some way be connected to the coming “Mark of the Beast”. But in order to understand the truth of this we have to use the Holy Bible as our precedent. Whenever followers of GOD were challenged to break HIS commandments in the bible it has always been directly related to the act of “worship”.
We have several examples in the stories of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were asked to bow to the golden idol and refused, in Daniel and the lions den for praying to GOD, and finally in Mordecai for refusing to show reverence to Haman. In these examples we see that it was always the issue of “worship” that was challenged, not work or any other concept. It was always the issue of who would they bow down or pray to in worship that was being challenged. We have a coming “Mark of the Beast” that we know through careful bible study will be a counterfeit of GOD’s mark, which is the Sabbath, and in this we can expect that one day to worship GOD on the Sabbath or to enter any Sabbath Keeping church on the Sabbath with the intent to worship GOD will get Sabbath Keepers arrested or worse. So if we use the bible as our guide and precedent for interpreting bible prophecy we can easily see that this articles interpretation of Sabbath keeping in no way conflicts with the standard Sabbath keeping church’s established view of bible prophecy. It will be an issue of “worship”, not work.
I was not born a Sabbath keeping Christian. I one day decided that I truly wanted to follow GOD and that in order to do so fully I needed to understand GOD’s word as well as possible. So I began to pray and ask GOD to help me understand HIS Holy Bible in only the way HE meant for it to be understood, without interference from previous teachings, my own predispositions or my own pride. I also began to study and heavily contemplate GOD’s word. These studies lead me to the fact that the keeping of all GOD’s commandments, including the keeping of HIS Holy Sabbath, was of extreme importance to GOD. But those same studies also lead me to realize that GOD’s law is a blessing and gift, not a “test of loyalty”. GOD calls HIS law the “Perfect Law of Liberty”. It was given to mankind not to burden them, but to free them. We think of freedom in concepts such as freedom of speech, freedom to own property, or freedom to assemble. But GOD’s idea of freedom is monumentally better. In GOD and HIS Perfect Law of Liberty we attain freedom from sickness, freedom from fear, freedom from stress, freedom from worry, death, and all other freedoms that would ensure mankind’s peace, health and safety for all eternity.
Coming to these realizations was not easy. Changing from one set of beliefs, especially those concerning your faith and religion can be nearly impossible. You have to be willing, for lack of a better term, to “break your programming” and learn to accept what the bible is telling you directly instead of simply what you have been “told” the bible says.
In this case the Holy Bible tells me that GOD’s law is not a burden, nor is it grievous. GOD also tells us that HIS Sabbath is a “delight” and therefore that is the only way I can teach it. Because of new understanding, and my decision to “break my programming”, I can no longer teach someone that our wonderful, loving Father in heaven, the KING of all creation tortures HIS own children in some mythical realm called “HELL”, and in that same vein no longer can I teach that that same awesome GOD would ask us to sacrifice our own selves or our family’s well-being to “prove our loyalty to GOD”. Saying GOD burns people forever is a slander to his name and character, and teaching that GOD expects people to risk starving their children for the sake of HIS law in my opinion does the same thing. In actuality it totally obliterates the reason the law was given in the first place! The law was given to PROTECT the people, never to harm them.
One day, according to bible prophecy, men under Satan’s influence will attack Sabbath keepers for trying to keep the law, but GOD himself would never ask us harm ourselves or each other in any way.
My Father in heaven is infinite in love, mercy, understanding, and forgiveness. And I choose to teach the interpretation that gives the most glory to GOD!
The world has taught that keeping GOD’s law and Sabbath is a burden, even some Sabbath Keeping organizations have, inadvertently, taught Sabbath keeping in a way that has made it a burden, and I feel that because of this we are turning our own children, and present and future generations of believers, away from GOD. Look in the churches? Where are the children and young adults? There are fewer and fewer every year. Do we continue to teach the burden, or do we teach GOD’s mercy and understanding instead? What would bring them back quicker?
I would much rather arrive at GOD’s feet on judgment day dragging as many imperfect sinners as myself with me, than to arrive empty handed because I had used GOD’s own law, to drive away HIS lost or straying children.
At this period in time, when we are so near the end, that is simply not acceptable.
In an attempt to be completely honest and transparent I also many times find myself ordered to work on the Sabbath day. I only do so if I am ordered by an employer, which is implied in my current job, and also if it would affect my family’s basic survival needs. I would never voluntarily work overtime on the Sabbath day because I wanted that new big screen TV as that would be choosing my own wants over obedience to GOD. I also choose shifts that would not interfere with my ability to attend worship, which may land me on evening and night shifts for my entire life but is a small sacrifice to make for my love of GOD. Instead I work, pray and attend college in hopes that one day the LORD will help me find the job I need in order to never have to work on HIS Sabbath day again. I have faith in my Father that HE will help me attain that. But to be fair I have asked myself, “If I were not in this position would I still interpret or teach Sabbath observance in this way?” After much study I can honestly say I would teach it exactly as represented in this article, for I feel it shows the full love and mercy GOD has for HIS children on earth. I only include this part in case there is someone reading this who finds themselves in the same or similar situation and feels, for the lack of a better term “stuck” and unable to free them selves from their current employment in order to fully obey GOD.
Our Father in heaven is the most holy, wonderful, awesome, merciful, beautiful, magnificent, understanding, forgiving, and loving GOD of Creation, and we need to teach that about HIM in ways that show that version of our Perfect GOD to the world and to our children.
- Ken Elliott JR 2009
There once was a Camp Master who ran a summer camp, and a Father who had a Child whom he wished to attend that camp one summer. The Father knew that every child that attended the camp was to be given certain chores to do, in this way the children would learn responsibility. But the Father, worried about the health and well-being of his Child, ordered the Camp Master to always allow his Child to have the seventh day free from work to rest. After instructing the Camp Master of this the Father left his Child at the camp and returned home for the summer.
Once the Father was gone the Camp Master decided he knew better than the Father and that it would be better for the camp and the children if they were all made to do thier chores seven days a week, and if they did not do thier chores every day they would not be able to eat. The Child of the Father that commanded the Camp Master to only work his child six days a week complained of the command to work every day, but the child also had no way home and needed to eat, so the child did what the Camp Master commanded in order to eat during the summer. The Child knew his Father's rules were only to help him and never to harm him for his Father loved him more than anything and would return soon to take him home from the camp.
At the end of the summer the Father returned for his Child. The Father rebuked the Camp Master for having disobeyed his request to allow his Child to rest every seventh day. Then the Father comforted his Child and returned home. The Father never again had anything to do with the Camp Master.
This parable touches on the story of Moses, Aaron, the Pharoah and the 10 Plagues. It is also to help explain the fourth commandment as presented in Exodus and Dueteronomy as well as when Jesus said, "The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath". This does not do away with the Sabbath but only shows it was never meant to cause suffering.
Quote showing that the coming "Mark of the Beast" will be about who, how and when we choose to worship.
“The civil authorities should be urged to cooperate with the church in maintaining and strengthening this public worship of God, and to support with their own authority the regulations set down by the church’s pastors. For it is only in this way that the faithful will understand why it is Sunday and not the Sabbath day that we now keep holy” (Roman Catechism, 1985, emphasis supplied).