The Sabbath, Pt. 1

Scripture: Exodus 20:8-11, Genesis 2:1-3, Mark 2:27
American Independence Day is July 4, 1776, and it would be foolish to designate some other day as Independence Day. We would call some other day by that same name, but the declaration was signed on July 4, 1776, and there it must remain. Likewise, the Sabbath could no more be changed than our own birthdays without having creation done over again and another day hallowed by God.
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The daily papers are crowded with reports of labor union promotion, of shorter working hours, and higher wages. The last few years have seen tremendous changes in favor of greater employee benefits. The average workman of today has more leisure time on his hands than any category of worker did in former years. If present trends continue to develop, the possibility of a four-day work week is altogether possible. Such a development would not seem nearly so revolutionary as another bit of legislation did when it was enacted long before a single labor union had been formed.

This law was put into effect a few thousand years ago and is still enforced today, believe it or not. We read the actual wording of it in Exodus 20:8-11. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, not thy daughter, the manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For 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.”

There it is, friends, one of the oldest and most enlightened labor laws ever enacted. It was written and sealed by the hand of God Himself, and placed right in the heart of His great moral law of Ten Commandments, which is still binding today upon every creature under heaven. Oh, what a world this would be if all men honored that law. War, crimes and sin would disappear from our society overnight. Every problem of nations and individuals would be solved at the same time. Friends, if even one of those laws should be universally obeyed, this world would be a new, wonderful place in which to live.

You say, “Well, with labor laws as they are now, everybody is taking at least one day a week from the job.” Yes, but notice God didn’t say to take just any day off. It was not left for man to decide on the day. The Creator Himself chose the day, then He blessed it, sanctified it and hallowed it, so men would be able to keep it. No one can keep a day holy that God didn’t make holy. God commanded the seventh day of the week because it was the birthday of the world. You’ll read that in Genesis 2:1-3. “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Now, friends, let’s ask three questions about the Sabbath: Who made it? For whom was it made? And why was it made?

First, please notice that Jesus Christ Himself is the great Creator of the world, and He made the Sabbath. This may sound strange to some, because many people think of Christ as being born in a manager 2,000 years ago. That’s true, of course, but He has already existed from all eternity in heaven. He was there when the foundations of the earth was laid. Listen to this text in John 1:1, 3, and 14 concerning creation and how it was done, and who did it. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Put with that the words of Paul in Hebrews 1:1,2 : “God, who at sundry times and in diver manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”

These two verses plainly tell that Jesus was the agent of creation. By Him were all things made in the whole of the universe. During those first six days of time He commanded and the world of matter appeared out of nothing. He formed man and breathed life into that lifeless clay. But on the seventh day He did something very significant and very wonderful, which we just read about in Genesis 2:1-3. Notice that the seventh day was set apart by the Christ who blessed the Sabbath in the beginning and rested from the work of creation. That’s why I love to preach about this subject, friends, because it is so closely connected and intertwined with the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’ve heard some people say that the Sabbath was a shadow which disappeared at the cross. But friends, there could be no shadow of anything before the entrance of sin. Many ceremonies came later as shadows or symbols of the coming of Christ, but they were only necessary because of sin’s existence. Shadows were never needed before the first sin was committed.

Now let’s ask the second question, “For whom did Christ make the Sabbath?” Listen to the answer in Mark 2:27 in the words of Jesus, “The Sabbath was made for man.” The word “man” is used in the generic sense to include every person in all the world. The Sabbath was made for man-and by the way, the Bible says that woman was also created for man, revealing the fact that marriage and the Sabbath are the two institutions which come to us straight from the Garden of Eden. They were both hallowed and instituted by Christ Himself in the days before the curse of sin had ever tainted the atmosphere of this world.

I realize that some people believe the Sabbath was made just for the Jews. They don’t seem to realize that Jesus made the Sabbath about 2,000 years before there was a Jew. Wouldn’t it be absurd to think that He made the Sabbath for a people who would not even appear for another two millenniums? Did He hallow it a creation simply to wait until some Jews appeared? If so, why did Jesus say it was made for man? It was never intended only for the Jews any more than the marriage institution was intended only for the Jews. The truth of the matter is that the Scriptures never call it the “Sabbath of Jews,” but rather the “Sabbath of the Lord.”

And thirdly, “Why did Jesus make the Sabbath?” It was to be a memorial of creation, a sign of His power to make something out of nothing. It would forever testify that in just six days the world had been created for man. In a sense it was to be the birthday of the world. The event for which it was instituted would perpetuate it as an everlasting memorial. Something was done on that day, friends, which cannot be changed any more than we change our own birthday.

American Independence Day is July 4, 1776, and it would be foolish to designate some other day as Independence Day. We would call some other day by that same name, but the declaration was signed on July 4, 1776, and there it must remain. Likewise, the Sabbath could no more be changed than our own birthdays without having creation done over again and another day hallowed by God.

Now the difference does Christ’s blessing make an even or person? We pray for Him to bless our children and our homes. Evidently everyone feels that His blessing will make a great deal of difference. Even so, it did make that seventh day different from the other six days when He blessed it, sanctified it, and hallowed it. It would forever be different and distinct from the ordinary six working days of the week. We’ll find in our study today that it has been God’s own day down through the ages to this very hour. Let’s prove it by tracing the Sabbath through the Scriptures and seeing how He regards it.

In Exodus 20 we find the Ten Commandments recorded just as they were written by the finger of God. In the very heart of the law is that fourth commandments we read a moment ago. “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work.” Now notice that this verse begins with the word “Remember”. Why is that? Because the Sabbath was an institution already in existence, having been established in Eden; therefore, God only had to remind man of that which He had already blessed and sanctified for a day of rest.

Friends, some people have been known to ridicule the Sabbath as something belonging to Moses and the Jews. But actually the ten-commandment law is the only part of the Bible which man had almost nothing to do with. God was so particular that they should be given properly that He wrote them with His finger. Notice Exodus24:12 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” Let men beware how they ridicule that portion of Scripture written by God. The fact is, we can narrow our conclusions down to say that Christ was the author of the ten-commandment law. Do we know that? Read 1 Corinthians10:1-4.

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that Spiritual Rock that followed them: And that Rock was Christ.”

Now compare that with Nehemiah 9:13-15, keeping in mind that Christ was the Rock in the wilderness that followed the children of Israel. “Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gravest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: And madest known unto them thy holy Sabbath, And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst.”

Now, friends, who was that rock? Christ was the Rock according to 1 Corinthians. So He was with the Israelites all through their journeying, and He was the one who dealt with them. He gave them water out of the rock and He wrote the law. He is called the “lawgiver” in Isaiah 33:22. Now we can understand why Jesus could say that He was the Lord of the Sabbath.

He made it and wrote it on tables of stone as a perpetual reminder. Oh, friends, this is why the Sabbath is such a blessed institution. Jesus was so closely connected with it. Have you experienced the holy joy which is a part of true Sabbath-keeping? Tomorrow we’ll continue to trace the history of the Sabbath right through to the time of Jesus and the apostles.



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