God reveals several important points about the Sabbath day in Exodus 31:13 Exodus 31:13Speak you also to the children of Israel, saying, Truly my sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the LORD that does sanctify you.
American King James Version×- 17: “Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you . You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death …
“Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”
Note first the duration of the Sabbath as an identifying sign of God’s people: “Therefore the children of Israel shall … observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign … forever .”
How could God state that the Sabbath is to be kept forever if He planned to later abolish it? And how could He waive that requirement for the early Church—which, after all, was overwhelmingly Jewish? Obviously, either God is inconsistent or theologians’ claims about Him are inconsistent. Scripture assures us the problem isn’t with God (Malachi 3:6 Malachi 3:6For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.
American King James Version×; Hebrews 13:8 Hebrews 13:8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
American King James Version×; James 1:17 James 1:17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss, neither shadow of turning.
American King James Version×).
Notice also the purpose God gave for keeping the Sabbath: “that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. ” God says keeping the Sabbath holy is a reminder to those He calls that He is the One who has sanctified them, setting them apart and establishing a special relationship with them as His people.
This passage also tells us that the Sabbath is a two-way sign. To those keeping the Sabbath, it identifies the true God—”the Lord [who] made the heavens and the earth”— as the One they worship. His people rest on that day, as He did, in acknowledgment that He is their Creator.
To God, His Sabbath distinguishes those who believe in keeping His commandments from those who rely on their own reasoning for determining how they should live and relate to Him. Those who keep holy His Sabbath day—the only day of the week God has ever set apart—proclaim, by their actions, their acceptance of Him as the supreme authority over how they should live, think and worship.