God is eternal. He has a plan. The Sabbath teaches us from week to week. It looks back to the creation of this earth, but also forward to a new creation, and it gives us an overall timeline of the plan of God for humanity.
Today, we’re going to look at some information that is part of our heritage as a church and as the people of God. We’ll spend some time in both the writings of Moses and the writings of the apostle John, and it’s fascinating to see how these two writers tie together in so many ways. We’ve got to back into the early days of church history, back to the most ancient roots to ancient Israel, back also to the early years of the New Testament, the New Testament church, and to those who were attempting to follow God’s way as delivered to them once for all. You’ll remember what Jude said in verse 3.Jude 1:3. "…I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." And we a part of that heritage that is intending and endeavoring to contend earnestly for the faith that’s been delivered to us, it’s been passed on down through the ages. Today, we’re going to take a look at the Sabbath in history and in prophecy. And we need to keep one principle in mind and that is that the Sabbath teaches us from week to week. That’s why we’re here. It looks back to creation, the creation of this earth, but also forward to a new creation, and it gives us an overall timeline of the plan of God for humanity, the Sabbath does. You’ll have to concentrate a little bit today and stay with me. I hope you got your rest last night, got your sleep because there’s a little bit of detail as we go along here and maybe encourage the teens to listen carefully, and you’ll notice the fascinating thread that ties this subject together as we go through the scriptures, and so maybe follow along in your Bibles very closely.
You’ll recall, you don’t have to turn there right now, that Psalm 111:10 says…
Psalm 111:10. "…A good understanding have all those who do His commandments."
If you really want to understand, you have to do. As the Bible says in Psalm 34:8…
Psalm 34:8. "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good…" or partake "and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!"
And so if you observe, if you do, you’re going to come to some certain understanding. If you observe God’s law over the centuries, over the millennia, and as we’re going to look at more specifically today the Sabbath over centuries and centuries, there are going to be some lessons that you’re going to learn, some things that you’ll come to understand. The Jews have been keeping the Sabbath for millennia and Jewish tradition regarding the Sabbath is that it is a type of the coming kingdom of God, that’s what they believe. As I said, they’ve been keeping it for a very long time. They believed it is a type of the future of another world to come. They believe it is a foretaste of that world to come. And what I’ve done here with this sermon this afternoon is break it into seven sections, and each one of these sections builds upon the other. It’s like a brick in a wall that we’re building. Maybe one brick wouldn’t do much by itself, but when you put them all together, you see an amazing part of this subject of the Sabbath in history and prophecy.
And the first one is that the Sabbath is a festival of God. The Sabbath is a festival of God. We’re going to turn over to Leviticus 23, so maybe you can start turning to Leviticus 23:1-3. In Leviticus 23, we have a basic list of God’s festivals. There are times that God sets apart as holy times. As we have come to learn as a church, there are lessons to be observed or lessons to be learned from observing these days. There’s information that God has in store for his people, for those who want to have a relationship with him if we observe these days through the years. In Leviticus 23:1…
Leviticus 23:1-3. "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. 'Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings."
So how do the festivals begin in this listing? Begin with the Sabbath day, so the Sabbath is a festival, a time to be with God’s people and that’s what the meaning of festival is. In the Hebrew, the word festival is "chag" and it means a gathering, being together. So you don’t necessarily keep the Sabbath by yourself if you can help it. It’s a festival, it’s a time of being together with the community, with others who believe in a similar fashion, and that’s what it is. One of the festivals, one of the hagim is the Sabbath. You note that it’s God’s Sabbath. It’s not something we made up. It’s not something that another man made up, and it is an encouragement to God’s people from week-to-week, and it looks forward to a time when God will rule on this earth as we’ll see as we move along. And this, of course, is a key foundation, number one, that the Sabbath is a festival of God.
So now, we’ll move on to number two, which I have titled the creation week and the six thousand year plan. The creation week and the six thousand year plan. Now I’m going to read something to you from the writings of Irenaeus. Now those of you who have studied into church history probably are familiar with his name. Irenaeus was a student of Polycarp, who you’ve probably heard of. And who taught Polycarp? The apostle John did. He was student of the apostle John. So John taught Polycarp and Polycarp taught Irenaeus and much of what Irenaeus wrote is supported by scripture, although perhaps not all of it, but a lot of it is.
Irenaeus lived from 120 A.D. to 202 A.D., and he wrote a book which he called ‘Against Heresies.’ It was written about 185 A.D., and he commented on the writings of John. And in his ‘Against Heresies’ Irenaeus was expounding upon a scripture that a lot of you know about because it’s quite popular today as people speculate about what it means. It was Revelation 13:14-18 about the beast and the mark of the beast and the number of the beast. And it fascinates us as to what that all means. It must have fascinated Irenaeus, too, as it pictures a depravity of mankind in the end-time. Now here’s what he says about the beast. Irenaeus says…
"This mark of the beast is a summing up of the whole of that apostasy which has taken place during six thousand years."
So Irenaeus in looking at the writings of John, looking at the beast that would arise before the coming of Christ saw it as a summing up of the world’s apostasy, which he saw as taking place over the course of six thousand years, so this is the, what was written down just a hundred years or so after Christ. We have in effect been going wrong as a society, as a world, as a planet in a way hostile to God for six thousand years, but God has put a limit on Satan. It is not always going to be like that as we’ll see. Satan is not going to continue his domination over human events forever. There is in effect a six thousand year limit and Irenaeus understood this in his time as he talked about the book of Revelation. And in another quote from ‘Against Heresies,’ he says…
"For in as many days as the world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded."
So that was the understanding of the time. So he looked back at the Genesis account and the six days of creation and the Sabbath and tied them together. It’s a very powerful account right there at the beginning of our Bibles. It’s there to inform God’s people, and if you go below the surface and put the whole Bible together, you get a larger picture. And the Sabbath is there, amongst other reasons, as a foreshadowing of six thousand years of the creation as we know it and then a thousand years–a thousand year millennium, as we read about in Revelation of the kingdom of God. Irenaeus saw this and he commented on it further, and he says…
"For this reason the scripture says, ‘Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all their adornment and God brought to conclusion about the sixth day the works that he had made, and God rested upon the seventh day from all his works’."
So he was, of course, quoting from Genesis 2, the first three verses, and he sees, he saw a direct correlation between what is written in Revelation and Genesis–the beginning and the end of the Bible. And to quote further from Irenaeus…
"For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years…"
And we’ll see where he got that in a moment.
"…and in six days created things were completed and he says, it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the six thousandth year."
This is what the early church believed, that there was going to be a change after six thousand years and then there was going to be a thousand years, the seven thousandth year that would be different. And Irenaeus recorded this in his material and he no doubt got it from Polycarp and then the apostle John, the teacher of his teacher. Now here’s a piece of biblical support in this regard that is most interesting, over in the Psalms. Psalm 92, it’s in the fourth book of Psalms. And that fourth book really emphasizes the kingdom of God. The fourth book of Psalms contains our chapters 90 through 106, and Psalm 92 is titled, and you’ll see it right there at the beginning of the chapter, a Psalm, a song for the Sabbath day. The Psalms coming after it stress God as king, after this Psalm, this song for the Sabbath day, comes Psalms stressing God as king. Now think about it. Here we see that the Sabbath day is in the context of the kingdom of God, and as we start to put the bricks in the wall, you’ll see some more. It’s in the context of the millennium. Each Psalm after Psalm 92 emphasizes the rule of God in his kingdom. Let’s take a look at say Psalm 93:1 for example.
Psalm 93:1. "The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The Lord is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength. Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved."
Psalm 95:11. "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest."
What is this rest that is being talked about that the people would not get to enter into? Here in these passages that talk about Christ’s rule and the kingdom of God. This is pointing to the rest as a type of the promised land, and in the book of Hebrews, where Paul talks about a rest, the Sabbath is a type of ultimate rest. The reward that God is going to give his people in a new world of tomorrow. The Sabbath is a type and the Jews of Paul’s day understood that. Those who read the book of Hebrews came to understand that. We understand that. And Psalm 92, a song for the Sabbath day leads us to that in subsequent Psalms. Now Psalm 96:13, for example.
Psalm 96:13. "For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth." It hasn’t happened yet. "He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth."
Psalm 97:1. "The Lord reigns; Let the earth rejoice; Let the multitude of isles be glad!"
Psalm 98:9. "For He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, And the peoples with equity. "
Psalm 99:1. "The Lord reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved!"
And so you see the context there. Following Psalm 92, the emphasis is on the kingdom of God. And Psalm 92, as it tells us, is a Psalm or a song for the Sabbath day. You go back one Psalm to Psalm 91 and you find a Psalm of protection during tribulation, which of course is very relevant when you understand prophecy because right before Christ returns, we have tremendous tribulation. And Psalm 91 would surely be in our hearts and minds at that time. Now we start to see a correlation between the creation week and six thousand years of man’s civilization and the Sabbath day, the seventh day of creation, and the millennium. We see this in the secular writings of Irenaeus and the biblical accounts as well. But there’s more.
And my third point is, a day is as a thousand years to God. Let’s go back to Psalm 90, which begins this fourth book of Psalms. Psalm 90:2. This is a Psalm attributed to Moses, as you’ll see at the top, a prayer of Moses the man of God. This is one that King David did not write. In verse 3, we in effect again have a reference to what is coming. The fact that human civilization is coming to a climax. It’s on a path of self-destruction.
Psalm 90:2-3. "Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man to destruction, And say, "Return, O children of men."
So it’s a time of destruction and people being asked to repent, to turn to God. In verse 4…
Verse 4. "For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night."
Now this scripture tells us that time to God is not what it is to us. God is eternal. He has a plan. He doesn’t necessarily look at things the way we do, and of course, that’s what Peter says too in his writings, if you’ll recall. We understand that there is a relationship between a day and a year in Bible prophecy. We know that. We could read Numbers 14:34 and see that there is a relationship between a day and a year in Bible prophecy. We know from Ezekiel 4:6 that there is a relationship between a day and year in Bible prophecy. But in addition we also have a relationship of day for a thousand years in other prophecies–a day for a thousand years, which is foreshadowed by the creation week itself.
Peter was looking forward to the final third, the final two thousand years you might say of human history and then to the second coming of Christ over in 2 Peter 3:8. Peter understood that this world is going to be a different place now that Jesus Christ had lived here and then returned to the Father.
2 Peter 3:8. "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
Where did Peter get that from? Well, we just read one place where he could have got it from. And then he goes on and comments in verse 9 about how God is going to work everything out. His plan is on target. It’s on schedule. We need not worry.
Verse 9. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness…"
You know just the fact that several thousand years have gone by doesn’t mean God’s not going to do what he says.
Verse 9. "…but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. "
So despite the length of this plan, the fact that with God a day is as a thousand years, God still wishes that we would change and repent and obey him. We need not worry. The plan is on schedule so-to-speak, but at the same time, there’s a prophetic foreshadowing here in what he had to say–a day is as a thousand years. So we see it in the Old Testament; we see it in the New Testament. And now what I want to do is compare some passages in Genesis and Revelation. And what I’ve called this is point 4, Genesis and Revelation two pieces in the same puzzle.
Let’s go back to the re-creation and the story of Genesis. Historians will say that civilization as we know it is roughly six thousand years old. Not the earth, but the civilization that we know and can read about is approximately six thousand years old, and we would agree with that basic premise as a church. The apostle John wrote the end of the story and Moses wrote the beginning of the story. Genesis is in the beginning. Revelation is at the conclusion. Moses wrote five books and John wrote five books. John wrote at the end of the period of the Bible’s canonization, and he was there towards the end of the story. He was giving us a long-term view, and John had the opportunity toward the end of this life to see visions and to record prophecies that take the church right up to the very end and Jesus Christ return. So he finished the job that Moses began.
It’s completing the scriptures that we have before us. And interestingly John in the book of Revelation parallels the book of Genesis in many ways. The story that starts in Genesis concludes in Revelation. The ends are tied together for us. All the loose ends are tied together. The New Testament and the Old Testament fit together like two pieces in the same puzzle. Look at Genesis 1:1.
Genesis 1:1. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
Okay, now look at what John writes in John 1:1. You can keep your thumb there in Genesis. John 1:1-2. You know the scripture well.John 1:1-2. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God."
So as John begins his five books, he goes right back to Genesis 1:1 when he writes John 1:1 and continues the story. Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 tie together. They tie-in. Look at Genesis 1:3-4.
Genesis 1:3-4. "Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness."
Now if you go to Revelation 22:5. Keep your thumb in Genesis once again. Revelation 22:5. We’re going to the end of the book and we see the parallel, the tie-in as we come to the end of the story and here we’re talking about another creation. Not the creation of Genesis, but a new creation.
Revelation 22:5. "There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever."
So you see the creation of light at the beginning and now here at the end, you see a new focus in the new creation and what that light is that comes from God. When we started out in Genesis, there was light and darkness and God separated between them and he called the light day and the darkness night. In Revelation it says…
Revelation 22:5. "There shall be no night there…"
They need no lamp nor light of the sun. It’s another parallel between the first creation or the old creation, the original creation and the new. Now let’s look at another parallel between what Moses and John each wrote. Genesis 2:8-10.
Genesis 2:8. "The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed."
And notice verses 9 and 10.
Verses 9-10. "And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads."
So you see the tree of life and this special river. Now take this image and think in terms of the new heavens and the new earth. You find in Revelation 22 a spiritual elaboration on what God physically gave Adam and Eve. Revelation 22:1-3. Once again, Moses and John showed the compliment of the Old and New Testaments and the over-arching plan of God. Revelation 22:1.
Revelation 22:1. "And he showed me a pure river of water of life…"
So it’s a different kind of river now.
Verse 1. "…clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb."
And then in verse 2…
Verse 2. "In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
And verse 3.
Verse 3. "And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him."
So here we see a different kind of garden of Eden now with a spiritual river and the tree of life being available. Once again a parallel. Now let’s go to Genesis 3. Here we see evil introduced into the account at the human level. Genesis 3:1.
Genesis 3:1. "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"
Now notice Revelation 12:9. We find how that serpent is finally dealt with at the end of the Bible. We see the knots tied together. That evil force that we read about in the beginning, that serpent is dealt with at the end.
Revelation 12:9-10. "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God…"
So this is a different period now.
Verse 10-11. "…and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."
And so we see on a spiritual level the loose ends once again tied together. The story flow comes to its conclusion. God’s plan is fulfilled and the books tie in and parallel one another. John was very much involved with the story of Genesis. And he was inspired to write the book of Revelation and here in Revelation we are given the hint as John understood the early creation account that there will be a certain amount of time of Satan’s influence on this earth and then a thousand years of peace. And we start to see how the creation week and the lifetime of man on this earth tie together. We see a thousand years of rest pictured by the Sabbath, as we saw in the Psalms, a time which is foreshadowed by this day that we observe week-to-week every week.
The creation week and the seventh day of creation tie in with the major themes of the Bible, all the way to Revelation where we see God’s kingdom then being established on this earth. You have the initial creation of seven days and then as you go through to the book of Revelation you’ll see the establishing of God’s kingdom on this earth for a thousand years and a day is as a thousand years with God. So you see the parallels here. Genesis and Revelation are pieces in the same puzzles.
Now point five that I have here is that six days of creation parallel six thousand years of human rule. Now, I’ve mentioned this already a little bit, but let’s look at it a little more closely. That six days of creation parallel six thousand years of human rule, of course, then you understand then what the seventh day of creation, the Sabbath, parallels as well. And I’m going to quote from the Talmud a little bit, and I got this from Mr. Mark Kaplan. You may remember he is a Jew that was called into the church. Here we see a little more of what the Jewish community believed. And I’m quoting from a section that normally talks about judicial matters and administrative matters–the matters handled by the court of the ancient times, the Sanhedrin. And the author is a rabbi named Catina who lived about century after Iranaeus. About 100 years after Iranaeus. And here is what Rabbi Catina says in the track to date Sanhedrin 97A, if you want to look it up. Rabbi Cantina said, and so here’s the Jewish understanding…
"Six thousand years shall the world exist and one thousand, the seventh, shall be different. As it is written and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day."
So they saw the seventh thousandth year as being different in which the Lord would be exalted. And what he is doing is going back to a prophesy in Isaiah 2:11 that we read at the Feast of Tabernacles. What kind of scriptures do we read at the Feast of Tabernacles? We read scriptures that look forward to the kingdom of God and the millennium, don’t we? Well, in talking about this, Rabbi Catina said, you know, "Six thousand years shall the world exist and the seventh shall be different."
Now the Genesis account was hinting at this. Six days and then a Sabbath. Six thousand years and then a millennium of rest and so here Catina quoted Isaiah 2:11, one about millennial passages. Now remember that the Jewish community has been keeping a Sabbath for a very long time and certain understanding comes to those who keep God’s commandments. And continuing in the Talmudic account, Catina says…
"Just as the seventh year is one year of release in seven, so is the world. One thousand years out of seven shall be fallow."
So he figures it’s going to be one year like a land rest based on the agricultural cycle that God gave ancient Israel. Remember the seventh year you were supposed to rest your land? And so, he quotes…
"And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day…" and he says "…it is further said a Psalm and song for the Sabbath day…" meaning a day that is altogether Sabbath.
So Rabbi Catina is looking forward to a time when it’s always going to be the Sabbath, looking to what the Sabbath pictures, but it will be altogether Sabbath, and he talks about the Psalm, the song for the Sabbath day, which of course is followed by chapters about God’s kingdom and Christ’s rule. So the Jewish tradition has been for centuries that the Sabbath pictures a day that is all Sabbath, that’s what they’re looking forward to when they keep the Sabbath. In other words, a wonderful world tomorrow, a time of rest from mankind going his own way since the garden of Eden.
Now we won’t have true rest until God’s kingdom is established here on this earth going forth out of Jerusalem. And so Catina talks about Psalm 92 in relation to the Sabbath, as a type of a millennium, meaning a day that is always the Sabbath. Catina continues…
"It is also said for a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it has passed."
So quoting from Psalm 90:4 is what the Rabbi did. Now the Rabbi didn’t have the New Testament, so he didn’t quote II Peter about a thousand years being as a day, but he does quote Psalm 90:4, which basically says the same thing. So that’s the understanding that the Jews have through the Talmud and the traditions of the Talmud that the Sabbath pictures the millennium, pictures a time when it will be always Sabbath, a different kingdom.
Now in the same section of the Talmud, we find a quote from an ancient source and some scholars say it’s from the medieval period, but once again the quote is from the Talmud in Sanhedrin 97A and 97B, and it says…
"The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand years, there was desolation, then two thousand years the Torah flourished, and the next two thousand is a Messianic era."
So the Jews believed there would be two thousand years of desolation, then two thousand years when the Torah flourished, you know, that ancient Israel coming out of Egypt and the giving of the commandments for two thousand years, and the next two thousand, the last two thousand of the six is a Messianic era, so the Jews have a tradition that after four thousand years the Messiah should have come. Well he did, but they didn’t recognize him, right? And then the quote continues in the Talmud…
"…but through our many iniquities, all these years have been lost."
And so they’re saying in effect he’s two thousand years overdue. We must have done something wrong. He didn’t come. Well the last two thousand years, they were correct, have been the era of the Messiah because Christ did come. He has called out his church, the gospel has gone out and so in one sense this final third of human history has been unique because it’s the period after Christ’s coming. It’s not the same period as the two thousand years of the Torah or the two thousand years before that. It’s different. It’s the period of the New Testament church, and in that sense, it is a Messianic period that they were looking for, that the Jews were looking for. And Christ is going to come again and fulfill all their hopes and expectations that are still waiting to be fulfilled in the final seven-thousandth year is when it will be fulfilled.
Perhaps the apostle Peter had this in mind when he wrote I Peter 4:17. Of course, Peter’s life was during the beginning of the final third of human history. Christ had come to this earth and he is going to return.
I Peter 4:17. "For the time has come for judgment to begin with God's household…" and Peter says "…and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?"
So Peter did see that a different time had come. The Jews didn’t believe it, but the church understood–those called understood. The early apostles understood the time had come. The church was now to be judged. We did enter a different era, a different period when Christ was born, crucified, and resurrected. Peter understood that a lot of human history is passed by, perhaps two-thirds of it up until his day and that Christ had come and that he’s coming again and that we’re in the final third of this, the Messianic or the church part. I Peter 4:7, you go back a little bit. Peter said…
I Peter 4:7. "Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be clear-headed and disciplined for prayer."
So Peter saw that things were now going to be different, that the Messiah had come. We’d entered a new age. He said, we have to be serious and watchful. Not the same as it was before, and of course, certainly this is great advice at any time, but particularly for us now because when we add the years up, when you go back through the history books, when you count up the genealogies, you start to figure that, well, since Genesis, we’ve been here about six thousand years. We’re at the end of that final third that the Jews were looking for. We know that we’re very near the seven thousandth year when you put all this together.
Now let’s look at the Sabbath, point six, and the gospel of the kingdom of God. We’ll see how they’re really closely entwined. The Sabbath and the gospel of the kingdom of God. This is another brick in the wall of this subject, the Sabbath in history and prophecy. Let’s go to the book of Mark. When Christ came on the scene, we see what he emphasized, that his human ministry was the beginning of a new era. What the Jews were looking for that they didn’t recognize did happen. Now the gospel was to be proclaimed in a different and greater way.
Mark 1:1. "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."
Quite a claim here as to who and where this gospel comes from and who proclaims it. This is the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and what was his gospel? Verses 14 and 15 here of chapter 1, verse 14 of Mark 1…
Verse 14-15. "But after John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!"
See something different now was happening on this earth that Christ to proclaim this. This was his first coming and the people of the day didn’t understand the nature of that first coming. So they look at him as a failure and a fake. Obviously, we understand differently. He came to die for our sins. Soon he’s coming back to rule, and we will serve with him. The next stage of God’s plan was developed at this point, the final one-third of man’s six thousand year rule.
And now we come to the Sabbath a time of peace, a time of rest, set apart by God, which foreshadows a millennium. It foreshadows the kingdom of God. Now let’s look at another section of the book of Mark in Mark 2:27. Do you know how often the Sabbath is talked about in the gospels? Do you ever wonder why? So it could be scrapped right away? I don’t think so. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s mentioned so many times so that we would understand and know to observe it.
The fourth commandment is expounded quite a bit in the New Testament, so we’d know how to properly observe it, and over the millennia many in the Jewish community got a little fanatical with it and added all kinds of rules and regulations to the Sabbath day, but they had their reasons for doing that because they knew and remembered that they were punished severely for violating the Sabbath, and so they went to the other extreme, which is, of course, human nature, but Mark 2:27-28
Mark 2:27-28. "And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath."
What is this talking about? Jesus is saying that he’s Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath day pictures God’s kingdom, and of course, God’s kingdom has four elements to it. It has laws, which of course are the laws of God. It has subjects, which are you and I. It has land, which right now is the whole earth. And it has a King, which is Jesus Christ, this kingdom of God. Then note this: the Sabbath points us to the kingdom of God, and it points us to the King of that kingdom, Jesus Christ, on a weekly basis. And so as it says here, Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath day.
Ultimately then, as you project forward, Jesus Christ is Lord also of what the Sabbath pictures–the millennium. The millennial rule that he will have on this earth overseeing God’s kingdom. So Christ is Lord of the Sabbath. We also know he’s going to be Lord controlling this earth in the millennium. We see how the two tie together. Christ will be Lord of the millennium, Lord of the kingdom of God here on this earth, just like he’s Lord right now of the Sabbath day.
Look at another millennial passage that we read during the Feast of Tabernacles in Isaiah 65. Isaiah 65:17. Of course, at the Feast of Tabernacles, we’re looking forward to the kingdom of God being established on earth. And notice Isaiah 65:17.
Isaiah 65:17. "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind."
We know what the former creation was or is, we’re part of it, right? But this millennial passage looks forward to a time of a new creation, new heavens and a new earth when the one that we’re a part of won’t even be remembered because the new will be so glorious. Remember the Sabbath points back to creation. We understand that, but it also points to what God will yet do. So not only are we reminded of the creation week, we’re reminded by the Sabbath of what God will yet do, which is a new creation.
Now do you remember what Revelation 21:5 says? I’ll read it to you.
Revelation 21:5. "Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."
Once again a tie-in from Old Testament to New showing that there’s going to be a new creation–new heavens and new earth. And then Revelation 21:5 it concludes…
Verse 5. "And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."
This is something you can hang your hat on. This is going to happen. There is going to be a new creation. And what we are observing here on this day, the Sabbath, reminds us of that every week just as the Feast of Tabernacles reminds us of that every year.
Now think for a moment about Deuteronomy 5 where it lists the ten commandments. It’s similar to Exodus 20, where the ten commandments are listed for the first time. We know the ten commandments by heart and the verses expound on how God is our creator, and we rest on the seventh day because God is a creator, that’s what it says in Exodus 20, but what does Deuteronomy 5 say? Let’s head over that way. It says we rest on the Sabbath day because God is our Redeemer. What does that mean? God is our liberator. He freed us from slavery that’s why we keep the Sabbath. So we rest once a week and we don’t go to work because we’re in a sense slaves now only to God and that’s one reason, of course, why the world hates the Sabbath so much–the true Sabbath. It puts God above our employer, above the government, or whoever else that wants to work on that day. Deuteronomy 5:15. Here we see the Sabbath commandment. It’s a little different than Exodus 20’s version.
Deuteronomy 5:15. "And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt…" so that’s why we keep the Sabbath day? "…and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day."
So it’s to remind us that we’re part of a new system. We’ve come out of Egypt. We’ve been liberated by our Redeemer and our Redeemer is our Lord and Savior, and this is the second time the Sabbath is commanded formerly here in the scriptures. It’s the second go-around of the ten commandments, but the reason given here is a little different. Creation, yes. But now we have redemption mentioned here. We’re commanded to keep the Sabbath day as a reminder of who our Savior is, who our redeemer from spiritual slavery is, who the Lord of the Sabbath is. See how it ties together? That’s why we keep the Sabbath, too, as well as the other reasons, is to remind us who our redeemer is and who is Lord of the Sabbath and who will be Lord of the kingdom of God.
Now beyond this, I’m not going to turn there right now, but Jeremiah prophesies a second exodus greater than the first one. It’s in Jeremiah 16. And this second exodus will dwarf the first one, make the exodus of coming out of Egypt seem minuscule. So when we keep the Sabbath each week, we can remember that God freed his people from Egypt, but we can also remember what Jeremiah says. There’s coming a second exodus when God will redeem his people and free his people and free the whole earth and each of us can in that sense look forward to it and look forward to the second coming of Christ, look forward of the liberation of the entire world–that’s what we’re thinking about on the Sabbath. We’re thinking of God’s kingdom, deliberation of all humanity.
You see how the Sabbath has parallels in the gospel message of the kingdom of God? The gospel and the Sabbath are so closely intertwined. You do not understand the gospel of the kingdom of God if you don’t keep the Sabbath. It’s as plain as that. Now let’s go to Psalm 92, which is the Psalm, the song for the Sabbath day because there is a six thousand year plan and the Sabbath pictures a thousand years of peacefulness.
Psalm 92:1-2. "It is good to give thanks to the Lord…" This is what they would sing in hymn on the Sabbath day. "…And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night."
So here’s a passage of thankfulness and worship toward God, being thankful for his faithfulness. Look at the conclusion of Psalm 92 in verse 13-15.
Psalm 92:13-15. "Those who are planted in the house of the Lord Shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, To declare that the Lord is upright; He…" capital "H" "…He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."
Now back in John 7, we’re going to turn there, but remember what was said in verse 15 here.
Verse 15. "…He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."
This is the Psalm or the song for the Sabbath day, talking about that rock in whom there is no unrighteousness. John 7:18. Here we find that we’re in the middle of the Feast of Tabernacles, which pictures God’s kingdom, right? And Christ was teaching here. He was challenged at the time and he quoted part of the verse we just read back in the Psalms. He referred back to this verse found in Psalm for the Sabbath, which points to the kingdom of God, which points to him as the King of the coming kingdom.
John 7:18. "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He…" capital "H" "…who seeks the glory of the One…" capital "O" "…who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him."
Christ is talking about himself right there. Christ is quoting that phrase from the end of Psalm 92, so as we read the Psalm for the Sabbath day, as we look forward to God’s kingdom, we also know that it points to Jesus Christ as the King of that kingdom and he tells us. You say when you read that Psalm on the Sabbath day, thinking of the kingdom of God, you’re thinking about me in whom there is no unrighteousness, and of course, the Jews of the day didn’t want to hear that. It was blasphemous as far as they were concerned. So Christ tells us that he’s the one being referred to back in Psalm 92 when we’re looking forward to the kingdom of God as the Sabbath pictures. It’s a very, very strong point.
Well, seventh point, let’s look at the Sabbath in the millennium, in prophecy, that Sabbath in prophecy, because this sermon would not be complete without a final passage from Isaiah, and it shows the Sabbath being kept in the days after Christ returned. Isaiah 56:1-7. Isaiah 56, let’s turn over there. Chapters 54 and 55 right beforehand show a time when Gentile nations shall be called and when all who repent will find mercy, so it’s a millennial passage, a time when all the nations of the world will come to understand the truth, have mercy and be offered salvation–all who will repent. And then we get into chapter 56, something that we might read, you know, during the Feast of Tabernacles even.
Isaiah 56:1-7. "Thus says the Lord: "Keep justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come, And My righteousness to be revealed."
So it’s a time of Christ’s return, a time when everyone will start to understand the truth.
Verse 2. "Blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who lays hold on it; Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath…"
See we have a passage looking forward to the end time when Christ will be revealed to everyone and we’re told that those who keep the Sabbath will be blessed. And then the end of verse 2…
Verse 2. "…And keeps his hand from doing any evil."
So if you don’t keep the Sabbath, it’s put in line here with doing other evil as well.
Verse 3. "Do not let the son of the foreigner Who has joined himself to the Lord Speak…" so in other words, there will be all kinds of people that will now be joined to the Lord "…saying, "The Lord has utterly separated me from His people"; Nor let the eunuch say, "Here I am, a dry tree." For thus says the Lord: "To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths…" So they’re keeping it. "And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant…" which of course would be the new covenant "Even to them I will give in My house And within My walls a place and a name…"
Reminds me of the New Testament where we’re told in my Father’s house are many rooms and then continuing in verse 5 we get a place and a name.
Verse 5. "Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name That shall not be cut off."
So here we’re talking about a name that lasts forever. Here we’re talking about eternal life. Obviously, we’re talking about a time not just in the present right now, talking about a time when Christ is revealed, when people will be given an everlasting name or everlasting life that will never be cut off.
Verse 6. "Also the sons of the foreigner…"
So all people are going to be offered eternal life.
Verse 6. "Also the sons of the foreigner, Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants-- Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And holds fast My covenant."
Everyone will be expected to do it, not just the Jews, not just the church of God–everyone. And then verse 7…
Verse 7. "Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations."
So this is a future prophecy, a time when everyone will keep the Sabbath and turn from doing evil. You see how important the Sabbath will be in God’s kingdom? And then finally a great millennial passage in Isaiah 66, here right at the end of Isaiah’s prophecies, the book of Isaiah. Chapter 66:20-24.
Isaiah 66:20. "Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the Lord out of all nations…" so this is a millennial passage, this is after Christ’s return "…on horses and in chariots…" you know, that was their BMW of the time "…and in litters, on mules and on camels…" that was the Chevrolet "…to My holy mountain Jerusalem," says the Lord…"
So they’re going to go to the holy mountain Jerusalem as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. So just as Israel does it, so will all the nations.
Verse 21. "And I will also take some of them for priests and Levites," says the Lord. "For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me," says the Lord, "So shall your descendants and your name remain."
It’s talking about an eternal life. It’s talking about a new creation here, right? Paralleling the old creation and then verse 23.
Verse 23. "And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the Lord.
So people are going to still count time from Sabbath to Sabbath as they come to worship God during a time when there will then eventually be a new heavens and a new earth. Do you ever wonder why the Sabbath is mentioned in history? Do you ever wonder why it’s observed by us today? And why it is shown as an important observance in the soon coming kingdom of God in the new creation? So it could be scrapped as soon as Christ died? No, on the contrary. It’s so that we would come to know how to properly worship God and to properly understand his plan of salvation. It’s completely tied into the gospel of the kingdom of God. The Sabbath causes us to look back to creation, yes. We can count up those seven days and go back to Genesis and figure out when there was night, when there was day, when there was trees, when there was Adam. But it also looks forward to a new creation, a world of tomorrow that will be different and that’s what we are reminded of every week when we come here. We forget about our cares of the week, we try to forget the job, we forget the problems we have and we come here and we are reminded of a new creation that is yet to come.
The six thousand years of oppression are coming to an end, and we’re getting very close to the end of that six thousand years of oppression under Satan’s rule, and our day of liberation, our Sabbath, when we remember who redeems us, the true independence day, God’s millennial Sabbath, is drawing very near.