United Church of God

Principles for Observing the Sabbath

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Principles for Observing the Sabbath

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Principles for Observing the Sabbath

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Through history, the Sabbath has been a sign of God's true followers and an indicator of their obedience (or lack thereof) to Him. With this in mind, the way in which we observe the Sabbath matters, and is worth reviewing!

This is the Sabbath Note that went out to compliment the sermon message

The Sabbath, a Holy Convocation!

In Leviticus 23, God instructed Moses to proclaim His feasts to be holy convocations with an assembling of God’s people at His appointed times.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. (Lev 23:1-2, NKJV)

The first holy convocation addressed in this section of scripture is the weekly Sabbath. It's important to understand what the term "holy convocation" means so we can understand how to present ourselves before God on the Sabbath. God has designated every seventh day to be holy as He Himself blessed and sanctified the seventh day of the week.

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Gen 2:3, NKJV)

God declared the Sabbath holy and designated it to be a convocation or assembly. By God's authority, we are to convene, assemble, and gather before Him. In this context of gathering into a group, by God's authority, we present ourselves with a humble and teachable heart to hear God's word, sing hymns of praise, and encourage fellow members of the faith.

It is this humble, fully dedicated, and obedient mindset that is the first and foremost consideration as we assemble for a holy convocation.

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! (Psalms 119:2, NKJV)

Secondly, as we gather for a holy convocation, knowing that we have been requested to assemble by the authority of God, we also put some thought into how we want to present ourselves physically at the holy assembly. We strive to dress in a manner that shows our appreciation for the significance of these gatherings and honors the great God who designed the Sabbath and holy days as His Feasts on which He has us assemble before Him.

Clothing preferences and styles have varied throughout different cultures and time periods. Nevertheless, the scriptures provide timeless guidelines on how to dress appropriately for holy convocations. The following are three examples that can provide insight regarding our attire at these assemblies.

In Exodus 28, we find the example of how God directed Aaron to be dressed in a dignified and honorable way during his service in the Tabernacle.

Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor. Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. (Exodus 28:2-3, NIV)

Another example is found in the parable of Jesus regarding the wedding feast where the guests needed to dress appropriately for the occasion.

"But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. (Matt 22:11-12, NKJV)

We also have the example of how Christ's bride is clothed in a way that acknowledges and shows appreciation for a most special sacred assembly.

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Rev 19:7-8 NKJV)

God is holy, and we are called to be holy in our hearts, attitudes, and conduct as we gather at His holy convocations. This is also why we come before God attired in a way that reflects an appreciation for the amazing opportunity to be personally called to attend God’s holy convocations.

…but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." (1Peter 1:15-16, NKJV)

Have a wonderful, enriching Sabbath holy convocation tomorrow!