Remember the Sabbath to Keep It Holy

Let's take a look at the Sabbath commandment a little more carefully and understand why this day is so important to God and why this seventh day of the week is so important for us.

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What does the Sabbath Day mean to you? Is it special? When I look at some of the commentaries on Sabbath they are very quick to tell you, well that doesn't mean to say, well that doesn't mean for us today, and many religions will tell you, I can read you religion after religion that endorses the Ten Commandments, but they say when you come to number four, as we would number them, or most Protestants would, or number three as the Catholics would number them, Keep the Sabbath Day Holy, they would tell you well that's the principle of one in seven. So just take one in seven. So it really doesn't mean that that day is very special.

Is it just like any other twenty-four hour period to you except you just go to church on that day? What is the Sabbath Day to you? Could you possible minimize its importance and ultimately forget it? The Israelites did. The Israelites did. And are you aware that it's the one commandment that God had to re-teach Israel? When they were in the wilderness God gave them manna. He gave them six days of manna. On the sixth day they could gather double. If they tried to gather double on the fifth, or fourth, or third, or second, it spoiled, and stank, and smelled the next morning. But not on the sixth day. When they gathered it that day it lasted through the seventh day. And God said He did this for them because He wanted to teach them the Sabbath Day, number one. And number two, He wanted to find out whether or not they would walk in His laws or not. It was a test commandment for Israel; we'll see that, in Exodus 16 . The title of this sermon is "Remember the Sabbath. Keep it Holy."

Remember the Sabbath. Keep it holy. Now I'm not putting the Sabbath up above every other commandment. Some religions do, that keep the seventh day. I'm not putting it up above, but I'm not putting it below, either. And it is interesting that its place in the Ten Commandments is approximately in the middle. Number four, as we do. Maybe not quite the middle as Catholics would number them. They make numbers one and two together. They kind of number two for them, don't take God's name in vain and number three, for them, is the Sabbath. Then they make two out of the last commandment. Don't covet your neighbor's wife and don't covet your neighbor's goods. So they make nine and ten out of coveting, instead of numbers one and two. So, but the point being, all of them have it, but it's right in the middle. God didn't leave it at the end where you could conveniently forget it or at the beginning. Well, I'm just starting off, oh; I skip that one at the beginning. It's right in the middle and yet they left it out.

I'll share with you when I come to Hebrews:4:9 some of the comments that are made about that. No we don't do that it can't mean the weekly Sabbath; we don't want that to mean the weekly Sabbath. And yet if you check the Greek word we find that Greek word, indeed, means keeping the Sabbath we find out in checking some of the Greek commentaries and the Greek lexicons.

Let's take a look, first of all, at Exodus:16:4-5 , and let's ask why is this command so important, what are some of the purposes of this commandment, when should we keep it, and how will we use that wonderful fourth commandment.

Exodus:16:4-5 , we read what God did with the Israelites, and as He taught them about the fourth commandment, before there ever was a codified list of the Ten Commandments. Now we believe the Ten Commandments were in existence, were known, throughout the years of the patriarchs and the early prophets. We believe that God taught His law. He taught the basis of His law. But in Exodus:16:4 we read this. Then said the Lord to Moses, behold, I will rain bread from Heaven for you, the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day. But I may prove them whether they will walk in My law or not. Exodus:16:5 . And it shall come to pass that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.

So, they taught the people that, told them what they should do. Skipping down to Exodus:16:19-20 , and Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. So if you went and gathered, and they went and gathered it up but if they leave it until the morning, it's going to stink. Exodus:16:20 , notwithstanding, they harkened not to Moses but some of them left it until the morning and it bred worms and stank. Moses was upset at them because it stinks throughout the whole camp. I remember one year we had somebody who brought fish, fresh fish, and put it in the microwave. Everybody in the building knew what he was eating. Not just in the dining area, in the whole building. We had to make a ban; you cannot cook fish here at lunchtime. That's before we had Connie and her services in the kitchen to make lunch for those. They had fish and I mean it stank throughout the whole, what is that smell, they walk in the building, what is that smell, it's fish. Well this wasn't fish, but this stank, okay, this really stank.

Alright, let's take a look at Exodus:16:23-30 . And he said to them, this is that which the Lord has said; tomorrow is the rest of the Holy Sabbath to the Lord. Shabbat means rest.

Cessation of work, rest, Shabbat. Tomorrow is the rest of the Holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake that which you will bake today, seethe that, boil that which you are going to boil and that which remains over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. So, you want to use this manna, you want to bake it, whatever you're going to bake, do it today. And they laid up until the morning as Moses told them, and it did not stink. Neither was there any worms in it . So they gathered twice as much on the sixth day, kept it over, and it didn't stink, and no worms.

Exodus:16:25 . And Moses said eat that today for today is the Sabbath to the Lord, today you shall not find it in the field. So, God's not going to give you any today. You're not going to find any. Six days shall you gather it, but on the seventh day, again throughout history the Sabbath has been on the seventh day.

Catholics, years ago, taught that you could search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and you'll never find one scripture endorsing Sunday. That was their teaching. You cannot find it. The only reason the Protestants keep Sunday is because it was changed by the Catholic Church. They actually said that. So you Protestants that claimed to believe the Bible, you can search from Genesis to Revelation, you cannot find one proof that God ever changed the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first. But we changed it, using our authority and they believe it was given to them to change laws. So going on he says in Exodus:16:27 and it came to pass that they went out, some of the people on the seventh day to gather and they found out and you always have your rebels, right? They don't listen to you. You tell them something they don't listen to you, they run out to do it. And the Lord said to Moses how long refuse you to keep My commandments and My laws? What did God say about it? You don't listen to Me! You don't obey. And He said in Exodus:16:29 see that for the Lord has given you the Sabbath, therefore He gives unto you on the sixth day the bread of two days, abide every man in his place. Let no man go out of his place until the seventh day. On the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day, which was the Sabbath.

So let's take a look at this commandment a little more carefully and understand why that day is so important to God and why that day is so important for us. This day. This seventh day of the week.

Exodus:20:8-11 . I looked up in several different versions, I looked up in Interlinear to make sure I could try and give you a reading out of what the scriptures say, but Exodus:20:8 , also found in Deuteronomy 5 where He also lists the Ten Commandments. He also talks about the Sabbath there a little differently, but in the main exactly alike, except He adds a different aspect of it. But Exodus:20:8 . Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. I'll read through it and then come back analyze. Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall not do any work. You, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor man servant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates. Notice it doesn't say your wife. So all you wives can break the Sabbath. That isn't what he's saying. Commentaries will bring out it is assumed that in ‘you' he's talking about the male head of the home and his wife with the two being one would be right there with him. So it's not deliberately omitting her telling her she's okay, because it mentions about the children, son and daughter, manservant, maidservant, even your cattle, nor stranger that is within you gates. Exodus:20:11 He says for in six days the Lord made, or readjusted, the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that in them is. He's talking about the re-creation, not the original creation here, and He rested the seventh day, wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it. Interesting the word hallow, hallowed it, is the same Hebrew word as to keep it holy. The word to keep it holy, and hallow, same word. And it comes from the Hebrew word, kadosh, which has to do with setting it apart, which has to do with consecrating it, pointing it, dedicating it, hallowing it, keeping it holy, sanctifying it among other words that Kadosh is translated in the Old Testament. It is also interesting when we go back to Genesis, which we will in a moment, that the word He uses when He sets apart that day and made it holy, Kadosh. Same thing as is mentioned here. So two times it's mentioned, this day is set apart. This day is special.

So look at Exodus:20:8 , He says first of all, remember. When He says remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, to set it apart, to make it special, when He says remember it, He's telling them you knew about this before. And they did. Exodus 16 . We read about it in their trek through the wilderness. They learned about God's Sabbath day. God made a covenant with them later on and reminded them about the Sabbath day and how important it was for them to keep it so that they might know Him and He might know them. The Sabbath day was known, even from the beginning. Even from the beginning. You'll see that when I read some of Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on this section of scriptures, which is fascinating, because Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown seem to endorse the Sabbath. And endorse it as a universal law that ought to be kept by everyone. So Exodus:20:8, He says remember. Remember the Sabbath day. It implies it was once known. The word Sabbath or Shabbat can mean rest. Keep it holy is a phrase that comes from the Hebrew Kadosh. Sanctify it. Set it apart. Make it special. Keep it special.

I remember a survey I did of all the minister's children, would you believe at one time at Ambassador College in Pasadena and Big Sandy we had over 150 children, who were children of elders, and they filled out a survey for me, and I asked them what was special about the Sabbath day. What was special that they did. And almost a large majority said Friday nights our family always made that a special dinner and we always sat down and made that evening special to help go into the Sabbath day itself. So I thought that was really neat that so many of them that was their one special memory of their family was what they did on that Sabbath evening, Friday evening when they began the Sabbath day.

Exodus:20:9 He says six days you shall labor. Does that mean if you don't work six days a week you're breaking this law? Then you could never take a vacation. You could never take a vacation day. And if you work six days, does that mean twelve hours a day or does that mean twenty-four hours? Because you know the Bible divides that into day and evening. So if you don't work twelve hours are you sinning? The understanding of this verse is more like this. Six days are for your business. Six days are for your pursuits. You can do what you want on those days. That's your days to do it. Six days are for your pursuits. But it does not mean you can never take a vacation or have a day of recreation, or a sick day. What if you're sick? I've got to get out and work or I'll break that commandment. So you have to be careful how you take and read the scriptures and not understand them. It actually meant you shall not do work on every day or every kind of work. Because if you take it literally and talk about don't work at all on the Sabbath day, when you move, you work. You find out that work in physics is moving a muscle. You're not working in that same sense but it's not doing your affairs. So he goes on and says, six days for us to do our business and our activities. Exodus:20:10 He says but the seventh day. It doesn't say one in seven. He doesn't say pick whichever one you want I know you're anxious to do your own thing and have at it. He said but the seventh day is the Sabbath. And the reason you can only keep the Sabbath day holy on a weekly basis is because it's the only one that was made holy on a weekly basis.

I remember going visiting with Mr. Hal Baird who is deceased now, but he was mentor, my teacher for nine months when I was out as a trainee from college with him for a nine month period. And I remember he used to use an expression. "If I gave you a pot of cold water, could you keep it hot? Can you keep cold water hot?" No. You have to make it hot, then you can keep it hot by keeping it on warm on the stove. But if it's not made hot to start with, it's impossible to keep cold water hot. You cannot keep a day holy that's never been made holy. And that's why in the very beginning in Genesis God put His presence into that day. God didn't need to rest, God doesn't rest. Jesus Christ said My Father and I work hitherto. We work all the time. He didn't need to rest on that day, but He did need to put His presence into it. He made the seventh day after creation special. Special to Him and special for us. So the seventh day is not one in seven, but it is a day not to do your normal activities or your pursuits, nor your family or your servants or your animals. Even the animals get a day off. You're not supposed to go out there and drive your animals in the field. They get a day off.

Animals can keep the Sabbath. My dog used to keep the Day of Atonement, we didn't eat, she didn't eat. We put food down there, she wouldn't eat because she didn't see us eating. So again, there are no other provisions, Jews don't have any other provisions of why animals are going to be blessed or why animals are to be in the Kingdom because they keep the Sabbath day. But if they're your animals you're not supposed to be out using them for your work. You're supposed to take care of them too. And it's interesting, if there's a stranger, a stranger in that land, nor a stranger that is within your gates. Stranger means a foreigner, an alien, someone who's visiting from another country, another area, even he should be entitled to keep the Sabbath. And one commentary points out, which I'll read to you in a moment, that this shows that the Sabbath day was not just a Jewish day. It was not just a Jewish day. It says you shall, nor the stranger within your gates , that's verse 10. Exodus:20:11, for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day, THE seventh day, wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, the Sabbath day, and hallowed it. The word hallowed it meant He kept it holy, or made it holy, kadosh. He made that day holy, for you and me. It is interesting that it's one of the four commandments that helps you to be in touch with God. It's one of the four commandments that's the basis for how we need to love and honor God. Remember the first four are directed toward God, the last six are directed toward our relationships with human beings.

Let me read to you some amazing quotes from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Exodus:20:8-11 from the Electronic Edition. So He talks about remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, he says, at the same time it is used, this word, is used to denote the seventh day, which God at the beginning of the present worldly system, consecrated to holy rest. He goes on to say: The word ‘remember' implies that it was well-known and recognized. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Why should they remember it? Because they had lots of experience with it. With the six days of manna, and having to gather twice on that last day and having it stink when they didn't obey and not finding any when they didn't obey.

This commentary on Exodus:20:10 . He says, but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord, your God, literally a Sabbath to the Lord, your God. It's not about your Sabbath day, it's God's Sabbath day. It's a day that is honoring and worshipping Him. Now, it isn't the only day you're worshipping God. You say, well, I can worship God every day. That's right. And you do worship God every day. But there's one day that's set apart by God for us to worship Him in a special way and that's on His Sabbath day. He goes on to say in Exodus:20:10 , in that you shall not work, He says literally you shall not do every work. So again, some things you do on the Sabbath day, you get up, you wash your hair, your face, you shave, some of that is work. But it's not your working for business.

Skipping down, he talks about the animals. He says thus the lower animals were allowed to participate in the privileges of the Sabbath in common with their owners, he gives attention to the animals. Regarding the stranger he says this, the foreigner, the mention of a stranger being able to observe the Sabbath is a proof that the command is not merely Jewish, as has been frequently been asserted. He goes on to say as the commandment runs to keep the Sabbath though he had not been circumcised. While if he wanted to keep the Passover he had to be circumcised, he did not have to be circumcised to keep the Sabbath. If he wanted to keep the Passover he had to be circumcised, if he wanted to keep the Sabbath he did not. He said the Sabbath therefore is a universal institution. A universal institution. I thought that was really interesting. Then He talks about within your gates and how it needs to be continually kept. He talks about in six days. He talks about the creative process, again, the Sabbath day.

So only so much of the creative process is referred to as related to the law of the Sabbath. So in the six days is not when God made the heavens and the earth it's when He readjusted them. Those six days. Readjusted them. They were already made before that.

He goes on to say, the law of the Sabbath was constituted a memorial of creation, the reason here assigned must be considered as demonstrating it's universal obligation, because it appeals to everybody who has been made.

He talks about for physical rest though necessarily made prominent in the probationary form of the enactment and forming part of the law of the land and was severely punishable. So when people disobeyed the Sabbath they were severely punished. He also talks about the Sabbath, what's important, which was to afford the opportunity to worship God. One day set apart specially to worship God. We should worship God every day of the week. We should pray daily. Jesus Christ said offer your daily prayer. Ask for your daily bread, not your weekly bread. So you have to pray to Him daily for that.

Goes on to say at the end, it has been said that this commandment alone of the ten words is partly moral and partly positive. By the way it is a positive commandment. It's not a thou shalt not do this, thou shalt not do that. It is you shall do this. Like honor your father and mother is a positive commandment. This one's a positive commandment, remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. It goes on to say because it has a small addition of positive precept in the case of specified time for religious duties, but such an addition cannot affect the real character of the commandment for although a circumstance may be appended or conjoined with it, it still remains intrinsically moral. A lot of people say, well, we keep the moral, but the Sabbath is kind of a ceremonial, ritual type thing that you go to church every week, he says its moral. He goes on to say, being in it's own nature eternal, of eternal and immutable obligation. So Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary here pretty much upholds and endorses God's Sabbath Day.

So this commandment is one of the four that tells us how to love God and show that love to Him.

Let's look briefly then at Deuteronomy:5:12-15 , where this commandment is also mentioned among the ten. And here you'll see the difference, the major difference here is that God reminds them that they were slaves in Egypt. That they ought to value this day because there was a time when they could be forced to labor anytime. Deuteronomy:5:12 we read this: Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, again, set it apart, as the Lord, your God, has commanded you. Six days shall you labor, do all your work, but the seventh day, and He goes on to repeat the same basic things. Deuteronomy:5:15. Remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt. While Exodus 20 gives us the aspect of the creation, this one tells them a little bit differently, remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt. You were a slave and that the Lord, your God, brought you out through a mighty hand stretched out arm. Why did He do it? That they might come and worship Him. Don't neglect the Sabbath day. Remember you were slaves in Egypt. You had to, your time was not your own. I have given you time on the Sabbath to worship Me. God commanded you to keep therefore the Lord, your God, commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. So, Deuteronomy 5 emphasizes the fact that they now have been freed from their slavery and have the opportunity to worship Him on God's Sabbath day.

Exodus 31 . I'm not going to read, but singles out the Sabbath day as special. He talks about this is a sign between Me and you. Exodus:31:12-17 . A sign between Me and you that you might know Me. God's Sabbath day was that people might know Him. And they lose sight of Him as Creator, as Deliverer, as the One who saves them. They lose sight of that when they lose sight of God's Sabbath day. Israel did that. Israel neglected this commandment and went into captivity, as did Judah. Just notice a few verses. Jeremiah 17 . They neglected it. It wasn't important to them anymore. Jeremiah:17:19 . We read the prophet Jeremiah's words where he says: Thus says the Lord to me, go and stand in the gate of the children of the people whereby the kings of Judah come in and by which all go out in all the gates of Jerusalem. Go stand there and warn them in this prime spot and say to them hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem that enter in by this way. Jeremiah:17:21 , thus says the Lord, take heed to yourselves, bear no burden on the Sabbath nor bring it into the gates into the Jerusalem. And He says in Jeremiah:17:32 neither carry forth the burden out of your houses on the Sabbath, neither do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, Jeremiah:17:122 as I commanded your fathers. Keep God's Sabbath day. Don't be doing your work on it.

Then you go to Ezekiel 20 , we find the prophet Ezekiel bringing this message. Certainly Judah was already in captivity by this time, or Israel was, so it was not much of a warning for them about the same time Judah was going into captivity. And Ezekiel:20:11 . Here's His warning. He said: And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments which if a man do he shall even live in them. God's laws are to be practiced, are to be followed. Ezekiel:20:12. Moreover I gave to them my Sabbaths to be a sign between me and them that they might know that I am the Lord that does sanctify them. They know I'm the one that sets them apart as I've set apart the Sabbath day. Ezekiel:20:13 , but the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness. They walk not in My statutes, they despised My judgments which if a man do they shall even live in them, and My Sabbaths they greatly polluted.

Two things that God condemns Israel for, went into captivity, Sabbath breaking and idolatry. Sabbath breaking and idolatry, again and again. So He says I would pour out My fury on them, Ezekiel:20:13 , in the wilderness to consume them.

Skipping down to Ezekiel:20:19-21 , He said I am the Lord your God, walk in my statutes, keep My judgments and do them and hallow My Sabbaths. And they shall be a sign between Me and you that you know that I am the Lord your God.

When people lose the Sabbath, they lose sight of the true God. They don't grasp who He really is. They don't understand. Now the Jews and Israelites both turned their backs on God. And God had to send them into captivity. Now the Jews repented and came back. Of course,  in captivity they made the Babylonian Talmud added a lot of do's and don'ts. Seven-eighths of a mile, Sabbath day's journey. Leave all the fire burning, don't have toilet paper on a roll that you tear, just have it in sheets so you can just pick it up. That lady worked, who was a domestic servant, who was in our church in Canada, worked for a Jewish family. One of her duties before sunset was she had to take the roll out of there and put just a pile of them so they didn't have to tear that. One of her duties was to leave the stove lit, on the whole day, because it says don't make a fire on the Sabbath day. Of course the fire was for doing business and doing work. It was not necessarily for eating purposes.

But Amana has created a new microwave, Mr. Myers has brought this to my attention, as did someone else who sent me an email on it. Amana now has a microwave with a Jewish setting. You can put it on the Jewish setting and it keeps it on bake so they don't have to turn it on. All they do is push the start button. Put it in and push the start button. So there are a lot of do's and don'ts that were added to try to make sure you didn't break the Sabbath day because they went into captivity. One of the reasons because they broke the Sabbath, because they weren't keeping God's way and today Jews know what day the Sabbath is and Jews know who they are. They do know who they are. They know the Sabbath day and they know what day it is.

Ezekiel:20:19-20 . Hallow My Sabbaths that they might be a sign between me and you that you may know that I am the Lord, your God. Ezekiel:20:21. Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me. They walk not in my statutes neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do he shall even live in them. They polluted My Sabbaths and I said I would pour out My fury upon them to accomplish My anger against them in the wilderness. They didn't listen to Me. They wouldn't listen to Me. They wouldn't follow Me.

Now, what is the origin of the Sabbath? I've read some commentaries saying, well, the first talking about the Sabbath was the Ten Commandments. Now you go back to Genesis:2:1 and you'll find the Sabbath is here. Genesis:2:1-3 . Way before the time of Moses. Way before the time of Moses it is God's day. Genesis:2:1-3 . In recapping the creation, going into some more detail. Genesis:2:1 . And the heavens and the earth were finished. That is reset. Reset to accommodate human beings. And all the host of them, and on the seventh day. Notice it wasn't one day. God didn't say maybe I'll do it on Monday. Maybe I'll do it on the second day, third day. Maybe I'll do it on the fourth day. Notice, on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had made. And He rested on the Sabbath, on the seventh day, from all His work which He had made. The Sabbath commandment in Exodus 20 harkens back to this. Genesis:2:3 and God blessed the seventh day. He sanctified it. The word sanctified is Kadosh. Same one that says keep it holy in Exodus 20 . Kadosh. He sanctified it. What does it mean to sanctify something? It means to set it apart. This was a special day. Emphasis on day. Not emphasis on church. No, you go to church and then forget about the day, it's emphasis is on day. Bless the seventh day and sanctify it because an entity had rested from all his work. Which God had created and made. God put His very presence into it. Was God tired? God never gets tired. God never gets weary. Isaiah 4 talks about God never gets weary, never gets tired. He's spirit being. Doesn't need to sleep. Doesn't need to eat. He's not running on human fuel. He doesn't get tired, but He put His presence in that day. Why? God made that first seventh day, after humans were created, holy. The day after they were created He made the seventh day holy. He made it holy for us. That's the origin.

Mark:2:27-28. Jesus Christ identified Himself as the one who certainly was there at the creation with His Father, the two of them doing it. Probably Christ doing the enacting, God the Father doing the directing overall, but Mark:2:27-28 we find what is the true Lord's day today. You hear a lot about do you keep the Lord's day, brother? Do you keep the Lord's day? What day is the Lord's day? Let's answer it real quickly from the scriptures. And he said to me, the Sabbath was made for man. God gave the Sabbath as a gift to man. And not man for the Sabbath. He didn't create the Sabbath and say well let's see I've got to figure out somebody who can do this. Who can I find who can keep this law? Oh, okay, I'll make some human beings. Maybe make some cattle, too. So they can rest. That's what I'll do, whew. Got this law, don't know who's going to do it, what am I going to do with it? No, He made man first. He gave them the Sabbath as a gift.

Mark:2:28. Therefore for this reason, the Son of man , that's Jesus Christ, is Lord also of the Sabbath . What day is the Lord's day? The Sabbath is the Lord's day. That's the day He set apart. Not Sunday, the Sabbath. And how often should we keep it? When should we keep it? From sunset to sunset. Sunset to sunset. We find the principle in Leviticus:23:32 . We find the principle here in talking about one of the annual Sabbaths which God has lumped in with the weekly Sabbath, too. We'll come back to that one in a moment, but, Leviticus:23:32 , talking about the Day of Atonement, he says: It shall be to you a Sabbath of rest, you shall afflict your souls in the ninth month at even, from even to even. Evening to evening, shall you keep, celebrate, your Sabbath . And that applies to the Holy Days, also applies to the weekly Sabbath. From evening to evening you keep your Sabbath.

Now what does even mean? Mark:1:32. I closed this loop when I found this scripture. Mark:1:32. From evening to evening. From sunset to sunset. There used to be a song out by the Young Ambassadors, Sunset to Sunset , they used to sing. Mark:1:32. And at evening, when the sun did set. So, when is evening? Sunset. They brought to Him all that were diseased and them that were possessed with devils. Demons. At sunset. After the Sabbath, at sunset. At evening when the sun did set. So, evening and sun setting are parallel here. Or equal here. So, therefore, what does even to even mean? It means sunset to sunset.

What are some of the purposes? Before I go to the purposes, let me read you the fundamental belief statement from the church, from our constitution, it's Fundamental Beliefs 3.1.10. We believe that the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath of the Lord our God. On this day we are commanded to rest from our labors and worship God, following the teachings and examples of Jesus, the apostles, and the New Testament church.

Some of the purposes for the Sabbath day. Why did God give the Sabbath day? What should we think about on that day? What should it be about for us? Exodus:31:13 . God teaches us, now I'm just going to quote the scripture, you can write it down, I'm just going to give you the information because I'm going to wrap up pretty quickly. Exodus:31:13 tells us it is a day to know God. The Sabbath day is a day for us to know God better. More than we normally do during the week. So we probably get extra Bible study, extra prayer in. Maybe extra meditation, extra rest. A lot of things we could do, but prayer, study, meditation. Great things to do on God's Sabbath day. Why? You want to get to know God better. Come worship for Him at church. We'll see that as another one.

Number Two. Isaiah:58:13 tells us to honor God and delight in Him. Not finding our own pursuits, not seeking our own pleasure. Pleasure having to do with doing our jobs. Pleasure having to do with any pursuits that we want to find. That's what He says. In fact, I found from twenty-six translations rather interesting the Bible in American translation puts it this way: not doing your business as opposed to pleasure. It says not following your accustomed ways. The New American Bible puts it this way: Not following your own pursuits. Not following your own ways. Another one from the Modern Language Bible, New Berkley Edition says: Do not tramp upon the Sabbath by doing your own business. This all comes from Isaiah:58:13 . The New English Bible puts it this way: Keep My holy day free from your own affairs. Also goes on to say: Not seeking your own interests or attending to your own affairs. The New Jerusalem Bible puts it this way: Keep your foot from doing business on the holy day by abstaining from travel, from doing business and from gossip. It talks about speaking your own words, from gossip.

So, when I started keeping the Sabbath in Pasadena I felt like I was in a straight jacket. I felt like I was really, well here comes sunset, watch what I say, watch what I speak, watch what I think. And it really put me in a constricting way. Because I did not understand. I was a new Christian. I was trying to keep it to the best of my ability. My brother Dave walked through the living room backwards so he didn't see the TV. My dad was watching TV, wasn't in the church, so he walked through backwards so he didn't ever have to put his eyes on the TV because he didn't want to watch TV on the Sabbath.

I felt constricted. When I would take a girl, we used to walk about a mile to Bible Study, or just a Bible study Friday evenings, just a mile. When I would have a date, which wasn't very often my freshman year, because I didn't really date much my freshman year, but my sophomore year, when I would take somebody with me, my wife tells me they were all afraid of me. Because I believed you shouldn't talk about anything unless it was Bible or news. I might ask them how they were. How are you? OK. Now, what was that sermon about today? And what did we go over, and how many scriptures could we remember, and what were the points that were covered. So my wife said the only way you could get around it if you were a fast talker. So she said she was a fast talker, she didn't know the scriptures as much, but she was a fast talker. But I believed that I should not say anything about anything else all day long unless it was either about the Bible or about world news, or perhaps about family life, but not much else. Again, I was very narrow, and very constricted in my thinking. But I do think we ought to understand the Sabbath is not a day for planning all of our activities. The Sabbath is not a day for planning all of our business. The Sabbath is a day that we need to keep holy.

And if we sent a note around in this room and said do you believe in keeping the Sabbath day holy? I believe it would be 100% yes. But, if you talk about what do you do on the Sabbath day. Do you put your dishes in the sink, or do you just leave them where you ate on the table? Finished the meal, on the table, if it's into sunset.

Do you ever heat up anything? One lady we visited one time, we were glad we did because she said, I don't, because she believed what the Jews had taught about you can't light a fire, so she couldn't turn on her stove, so she said well I cook my eggs the night before, like scrambled, and I put them in the refrigerator and we eat them cold the next day. So we tried to help her understand, no, that wasn't the intent of lighting a fire on the Sabbath. Obviously, if you're going to be making a big meal you should prepare as much of it as you possibly can beforehand. That's the principle, prepare that which you can beforehand.

But we all need to step up in keeping God's Sabbath day. Let's not let it be neglected. Watch our words, watch our pleasures, watch what we do on God's Sabbath day.

And I can tell you on the airplane, I was private to this information, with Mr. Armstrong was playing solitaire, he was coming back from a church visit, he was on the plane, flying back, and he was tired, he was just sitting there playing solitaire. And someone said, "Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Armstrong! It's the Sabbath!" He said, "I know. I'm not trying to beat anybody. I'm just sitting here relaxing and playing cards." They thought he was breaking the Sabbath, violating it, because he was playing cards with himself. Now again, everybody would say, turn my TV off, don't want my servant to work. Do you turn your air conditioning off when it's 99 degrees out because you don't want your servant to work? Do you drive your car? Don't drive your car because you don't want your servant to work.

So again, there are a lot of things. Some people who won't go out to eat on Saturday night. Friday. Friday night on Sabbath. And that's their choice. Nobody's telling you how to specifically, because it doesn‘t say scripturally because it gives us general principles. But the Sabbath day was set apart for you to honor God and delight in Him. I was not delighting in Him. I was feeling constricted. I wasn't saying "This is God's day. This is special to Him. I'm so glad to be His servant, to worship Him, so happy to honor Him." I was feeling like, grrr, when is this day going to be over? I can't wait to get out of this straight jacket.

God's Sabbath is to be called a delight. And to honor God. Honor God by all we do on that day.

Leviticus:23:1-4 tells us to assemble. To assemble as a congregation. These are holy convocations of the Lord. The Sabbath was one of the holy days it listed. A day to assemble. So another thing we do, a purpose of the Sabbath day, is for us to assemble.

Acts:18:4,11 . It's a time to receive instruction. It's a time to be taught. Acts 18 . Let me turn to that one. Acts:18:4,11 . And He reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, persuaded Jews and Greeks. Acts:18:11 and He continued there a year and six months teaching the word of God among them. So it is a time to receive instruction. It's a time to receive learning.

Another reason, the fifth reason. So Number One was to Know God. Number Two was to honor God, delight in Him. Number Three was to assemble as a congregation. Number Four is to receive instruction. Number Five is to fellowship.

Interestingly, Hebrews:10:24-25 says do not neglect the assembling of yourselves assembling. That's what it means. Don't neglect assembling of yourselves assembling. I'm reminded of our young cousin friend who came from Wisconsin who is Catholic. And she said, "I've got to go to church. Is there a church nearby?" Because the Catholics teach if you miss their services without being sick or having a valid reason, that is considered a mortal sin. If you die without repenting, you will go straight to hell. A mortal sin to miss church. Now again, what do we say? Well, Bible talks about, certainly, a time to fellowship. Don't forsake the assembling of yourselves assembling. Why? Well, I could listen in at home. Can I? Yeah, you could. I could get a tape. Just stay home, it'd be just one week behind. Yeah, you could. What don't you do? You don't influence anyone else with your example. What don't you do? You're not there to be a part of a whole. So, again, to fellowship, to be with God's people, to be able to share with them.

Number Six is, it is a reminder of creation and as God being our Creator. It is a reminder to us of where we owe our existence. It is a reminder to us what God did for us. The beauty that we have around us for some times. A nice walk on the Sabbath day, not more than 7/8 of a mile. No, I'm teasing you. But a walk and looking at God's handiwork is something beautiful, something awesome, something wonderful to see sights that are beautiful that God has produced, or allowed to be produced, on this Earth.

Exodus:20:11 says again, to remind us of God's creation and Him as our creator.

Number Seven. Seventh point is to have a picture of the Kingdom of God. It is a picture of the Kingdom Rest. And that's in Hebrews:4:1-4 . Where He likens the Sabbath day, the seventh day, to the rest that we should all want to enter into. The rest that we one time may have. And that ultimate rest is the Kingdom of God. So we have a picture of God's Kingdom to come, that Kingdom Rest, by keeping the Sabbath day.

And Number Eight, the last one I'll give you, is it is a day of rest. The word Shabbat means rest. It is a day of rest. There may be some days that you rest more than you would normally do. Maybe you had a horrible, exhausting week. Sabbath comes, you may rest more than you normally have done. Some days you may fellowship, maybe you come to church, you visit with people, you find people, say, hey, let's go to dinner, come over to my house, let's have an evening. You may end up spending a lot of time fellowshipping. That may be your emphasis. Other days you may emphasize more the study, the meditation, the prayer, so that again, we try to achieve a balance on it, but all of them are equally valid. But it is a time to rest and you find that in Luke:23:56 , when the ladies came back, let's look at that. Luke:23:56 , point Number Eight on purposes for the Sabbath day, Luke:23:56 . And they returned and prepared the spices and ointments and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. They rested. So Sabbath day is for rest. It's for physical rejuvenation, it's for spiritual rejuvenation.

All right, as we bring this down to a close, certainly the Bible talks about broad principles, it says in Matthew:12:12 , it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day. Lawful to do good on the Sabbath day. Jesus Christ talked about it's okay to water your herd or pull an ox out of a ditch. Again, should you go have a business that says "I pull oxes out of ditches on Sabbath"? No, you shouldn't. But what if there was an animal that's in trouble? Would you rescue the animal? Of course you could. What if your neighbor's house is on fire and they need help in getting people out? Well, I'd really like to help you but I'll be late for church. No. Go help them. Help them. People are important. But again, he gives that out. Because he says if you have an ox in a ditch, remember they were criticizing him because He would heal on the Sabbath day. If you have an ox in a ditch, don't you pull him out? If you have an ox, or cattle, or donkey that's hungry, thirsty? Don't you give it something to drink? Sure you do, he taught. Shouldn't I make these people better on the Sabbath day. You've got to take care of your livestock or your animals on the Sabbath day. That doesn't mean that you go out and shovel out the barn, you know. Let's get up all the manure, let's clean this up. No. But if your animal needs to be tended to, you tend to it on that day. You don't let it suffer.

Nehemiah:13:15 says don't bear burdens on the Sabbath day. It's not a time to do your work. Nehemiah:10:31 tells us don't buy or sell on the Sabbath day. It's not a day when we should be going out buying and selling on the Sabbath day, transacting business.

Amos:4:5 is an interesting scripture because it says they were rushing the Sabbath, as was mentioned by Mr. Wasilkoff in his sermonette. Not that part, but he was mentioning about people wanting, when's the Sabbath going to be over so we can go out and do this, let's hurry up, let's get this over with so we can go do this. So, once again, rushing the end of the Sabbath.

Sixty-five times the word Sabbath is used in the New Testament. Sixty-five plus. I might have miscounted one or two. Adam Clarke's Commentary brings this out, which I think is rather interesting, it says, remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Exodus:20:8. He said since this was the most ancient institution God calls upon them to remember it. He refers back to Genesis:2:2 . As if He had said, do not forget what I have finished, when I had finished my creation I instituted the Sabbath. Remember why I did so and for what purposes. The word Shabbat signifies rest or cessation from labor. It typifies the rest which remains for the people of God. It goes on to say: the moral obligation of the Sabbath until time be swallowed up in eternity. The keeping of the Sabbath, the moral obligation to keep it must remain. Now I thought that was really interesting. Adam Clarke, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentaries bring that up to us.

Okay, as we wrap this up, in conclusion, Jesus Christ kept the Sabbath day as was his custom, Luke:4:16. Is it your custom? It ought to be if you're following Jesus. Aw, He was a Jew, He was just doing all the Jewish things until He could undo all those Jewish things till He was nailed to the cross. He kept all those laws, therefore those laws are nailed to the cross, Christ was on the cross, He was nailed, He was the embodiment of the law, He's nailed to the cross, the laws are nailed to the cross, you don't have to do it anymore. No. Jesus Christ set us an example that we should walk in his steps. And we're very wise to distinguish the difference between a Jewish ritual and a commandment of God. And here He was doing a commandment of God.

He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up, Luke:4:16 , as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and this day he stood up to read. And they were astonished at him that he knew the scriptures. They were astonished. But his custom was to go into the Sabbath, keep the Sabbath day. Go into the synagogue on the Sabbath, that's where they gathered, that's where they met.

Acts:17:2 . The apostle Paul, did the same thing. His custom and his manner, Acts:17:2 . And Paul, as his manner was, went into them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.

Now you can say, well, he figured there would be a lot of people there in that synagogue, he might as well go there. Prime meeting place. No, Sabbath day was important. He could have met other places, too, if he chose.

Acts:13:42-44 is very important. Because many times you will be challenged, well, it's the Jewish Sabbath anyway, and the Jews kept it, and it was all changed. See Paul had been instructed by Christ already. Paul had been personally taught by Jesus Christ. And in Acts:13:42 we read this. And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now Paul didn't say, "you don't have to wait until Sabbath! Sunday is the Lord's day. I'll teach you tomorrow." The Gentiles wanted them preached the next Sabbath.

Skipping down to Acts:13:44 . And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God . He didn't say, "You know what? I have new revelation from Christ. You don't have to keep the Sabbath. It's already been done away. Keep Sunday." No. Sabbath was still invoked and taught to the Gentiles.

Hebrews:4:9 is the one scripture that I was reading a lot of commentary on about the keeping of the Sabbath. I'll share that last part with you in a moment. Hebrews:4:9 . There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. That's King James. If you check the margin it says, my margin says, a keeping of a Sabbath. The Greek word for rest here is sabbatismos. It is only used here. The only place in all the New Testament that that word, which is a derivation from the word sabbaton, which is Sabbath. It's a derivation from the word Sabbath. This is sabbatismos. A Sabbath rest for the people of God. Everywhere else in this chapter he refers to the word rest, and it's many times. It's translated from the Greek word katepausen. Rest. Rest, rest. He uses rest to refer to the Kingdom. He uses rest. But down in Hebrews:4:9 he says, there still remains, there remains a keeping of a Sabbath to the people of God.

So, some of the commentaries brought out, well, this can't possibly mean Sabbath. It must mean something else. He's just talking about it being a special rest. But when I looked it up in Thayer's Lexicon, it puts it this way: A keeping of a Sabbath. A blessed rest from toils and troubles looked for in the age to come by true worshippers of God and true Christians. He also says the RV, Revised Version, calls it a Sabbath rest. That's Thayer's Lexicon.

Let me read to you from Adam Clarke. Adam Clarke puts it this way. He said the second meaning, that's of sabbatismos, as opposed to katepausen, not only a rest from labor, but a religious rest l01.17 sabbatismos, a rest of a sacred kind, of which both soul and body partake. So it could be for the future talking about God's Kingdom, but also at present.

And finally, I looked this one up from, let's see, yeah, Louw and Nida Greek Lexicon of the New Testament. And here's what they say on the subject sabbatismos. A special, religiously significant period for rest and worship. And a Sabbath rest. A period of rest.

So he says, there still remains for God's people a period of rest. A sabbatismos. A Sabbath rest.

So it does come, a derivation from the word sabbaton. And it's only used there. So it is interesting, he could not have confused anybody, he could have just used katepausen again. He didn't use katepausen, the other word for rest. He used sabbatismos. There remains for the people of God, those who choose to worship God and honor Him, those who use the Sabbath day effectively to pray, study, worship, rest. Who follow Him and worship. For fellowship and use it as a feast day too. It ought to be a day that you make special. It ought to be a day that you make special. It is one of the Feast days of God.

Hebrews:2:1-3 . Let's conclude. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard lest at any time you should let them slip. Israelites let the Sabbath slip out of their lives. If the words spoken by angels steadfast with every transgression and disobedience receive the just recompense of report, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation. If we neglect one of God's holy commandments, how will we ever escape?

So, Israel, they let God's Sabbath slip through their fingers. Let's not let this precious, meaningful law slip away from our lives.

Barbara Abbott

Barbara Abbott's picture

Thank you Mr. Antion for this wonderful, inspiring Sermon on remembering the Sabbath to Keep it Holy. It was very helpful to me in order to step back and take a look to see if I am observing the Sabbath correctly and appreciating it as much as I should. We always need reminders to help us and you did a very good job in presenting the Sabbath and how important it is to God and should be to all of us. Thank you again.

Barbara Abbott

Barbara Abbott's picture

I would like to know how to poste this Sermon on Facebook. Could you please let me know how to do it.

doug higgins

doug higgins's picture

Exodus:20:11For in six days the LORD made 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.

See All... He says for in six days the Lord made, or readjusted, the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that in them is. He's talking about the re-creation, not the original creation here, and He rested the seventh day, wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it

I'd like to know where it says readjusted the heaven and the earth and re-creation in the bible, not the original creation here? That I'm sorry to say took what I thought was a good sermon about the sabbath added some kind of ad lib !? I hope he has an explaination because I'd like to here this one!

Lena VanAusdle

Lena VanAusdle's picture

There are a couple if ways to share this sermon on Facebook. One way is to copy the web address and paste it in your status update on Facebook.

Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture


This teaching comes from a careful reading of the creation account in Genesis 1. Genesis:1:1-2 says that "in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." This is taking place before the first of the 7 days. For example, if you read through the rest of the chapter you'll see that it doesn't state on which of the 7 days God made water - it is spoken of as if the water were already there. Furthermore it said in verse 2 that the earth was "without form and void," but Isaiah:45:18 says that "God... formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited." Where it says there that the earth was not created "in vain" is the same Hebrew word for where in Genesis:1:2 it says that the earth was "without form." So what we see is that in Genesis:1:2 God is telling us that the earth was in this uninhabitable state but in Isaiah:45:18 it says that the earth was NOT originally made that way.

This indicates that something took place between the original creation of the heavens and the earth (Genesis:1:1, "in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth") and the 7 days of creation - if the earth was NOT formed in an uninhabitable way (Isaiah:45:18), then it must have BECOME "without form and void" (Genesis:1:2). This is why he said that the 7 days of creation can be thought of as more like a readjustment - God was reconstituting the creation that was originally inhabitable but had become uninhabitable.

Malachi 3_16-18

Malachi 3_16-18's picture

Hi Doug,

It may surprise you that there is indeed a logical explanation. There is a lot of time that passed between Genesis:1:1 and verse 2. The original Hebrew word translated "was" is better translated "became." In other words, the heavens and earth that God orignally created beautiful, with all the original angels shouting for joy (Job:38:4-7) became without form and void/empty.

How did this happen? When Lucifer rebelled against His Creator and was thrust down to the earth - along with one third of the angels - who also rebelled and became demons (Isa:14:12-15; Ezek:28:12-17; Lk. 10:18; ; 2 Pet:2:4; Rev:12:7-9). This titanic battle caused physical destruction and darkness (Gen:1:2).

Yes, the Bible reveals that the face of the earth had to be renewed (Ps:104:30). This is when God created man.

The Sabbath indeed is a time of physical and spiritual renewal for us today, and looks back both to the time of earth's re-creation (Gen:2:1-3; Ex. 20:11), and forward to the future time of peace and renewal after Jesus Christ has returned to restore this earth again, following a time of great trouble and chaos (Mt. 24:21-22; Rev:11:18; Isa:66:23).


Skip's picture

Hello Doug Higgins,
I am positive that Mr. Gary Antion could answer your inquiry better than I can but let me give a short answer.

Gen 1: 1 states "In the beginning God created..."
Then verse 2 states, "And the earth was without form and void..."

Perhaps you know or have heard that "was" in verse 2 can be legitimately translated as "had become."
You need to check this for yourself.

If this is true then Mr. Antion's reference to a re creation will make more sense. Sometimes our speakers (and I am one!) cannot give all the necessary background scriptures in one sermon and they (rightly or wrongly) assume that those listening know more than they actually do. We will talk more if you wish.

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