Forgotten Day - Part 2

Scripture: Exodus 16:26-28, Exodus 20:11, Luke 4:16
The Bible clearly teaches that Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is God's holy day for worship and rest. A story in ancient Israel reinforces the importance of this day as we observe an amazing miracle that was repeated around 6,000 times, the miracle of the manna.
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Friends, do you remember the news reports a few years ago when it almost literally rained cats and dogs on an American city? In a cloud burst not only rain but also various small animals and many types of debris fell on the bewildered people. In another place it rained fish and frogs. It was a rare phenomenon; but objects light enough to be picked up by strong winds have been swept away and carried heavenward to be dropped on some unsuspecting locality miles away. Today I want to tell you about bread that fell from the skies six days a week for forty years.

We established last time that the Sabbath given by God was the seventh day, Saturday, instead of Sunday as observed by the majority of the Christian world. We found that God said to remember it, and that it is a sign of our love and obedience to Him. As our discussion of the true Sabbath continues now, we will show how God performed more than 6,000 miracles to prove which day He wanted man to observe.

Before the children of Israel ever reached Mt. Sinai where God wrote the Ten Commandments, notice what God says, "Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them whether they will walk in my law, or no." Exodus 16:4. The test God used to prove them, to see whether they would keep His law, not Moses' law, was the Sabbath.

"Six days ye shall gather it (He was speaking of the manna which fell from heaven) but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none." Exodus 16:26. Before God ever wrote those Commandments on the tables of stone He said the seventh day is the Sabbath. When some of the people went out looking for bread on the Sabbath, the Lord said, "How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?" Exodus 16:28.

The law that has to do with the Sabbath day is God's law, written by God's own finger, and is the only part of the Bible God wrote with His own finger. It always has been wrong to break the Ten Commandments and it always will be.

It is interesting to notice that God performed more than 6,000 miracles to enable His people to keep the Sabbath. Every week God provided three specific miracles. For forty years the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, with 52 weeks in each one of those years. They spent at least 2,000 Sabbaths out there, and each week God provided a double portion of manna on the preparation day (Friday), and allowed it to keep fresh for the next day. You remember they experimented by keeping it over night on other days of the week, but in the morning it was rotten. God preserved it so that it remained fresh for the Sabbath day only. On the Sabbath no manna fell. God was supplying the manna. Six days, just as regular as clockwork, God showered it down to feed His wandering people, but on the seventh-day Sabbath He withheld the manna. He gave them a double portion on the day before. There is a wonderful spiritual lesson here for us. When we honor God's Commandments He will give us enough in the six work days to care for all our needs. God has always honored that promise.

"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." Exodus 20:11. Who was it that blessed the Sabbath day? The Lord. Notice what the Bible says about the Lord's blessing in 1 Chronicles 17:27. "For thou blessest, 0 Lord, and it shall be blessed forever." God blessed the Sabbath. The Bible says that when God places His blessing on something, it is blessed forever. Again in Numbers 23:19,20, "God is not a man, that he should lie. . .He hath blessed and I cannot reverse it." I have no right to reverse it. God has blessed the Sabbath, and it shall be blessed forever.

The wonderful thing about God and the Bible is that we have something solid, something unvarying, something that doesn't change. The Bible says, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8. If it weren't for that, how would we ever know how to please the Lord? The only thing that gives us courage to believe we can live a life pleasing to God by the grace of Christ, is to know that what Christ taught 1900 years ago still holds good. Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." He left us an example that we should follow in His steps. What was Christ's example in Sabbath keeping? The example is clear. "As his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Luke 4:16. The custom of Jesus, then, was a Sabbath-keeping custom. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If He should come back today, He'd keep the Sabbath.

Friends, as this matter unfolds before you, you may be seeing it for the first time. I ask you, in Christ's name, to take it to heart and put it into practice right away. Begin immediately to keep the Lord's Sabbath, and you will find a rich blessing. Dr. Lyman Abbott, in an editorial published in the "Christian Union," June 26, 1890, said: "The current notion that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted the first day for the seventh is absolutely without any authority." It is amazing how many Protestant and Catholic ministers admit there is no Bible authority for changing from the seventh day, Saturday, to the first day, Sunday. Certainly in the New Testament there is no record of any such change. Christ never once mentioned Sunday. Never once did He mention the first day of the week.

In Matthew 24:20 Jesus did mention the Sabbath and inferred that Christians should be keeping it forty years after the crucifixion. The followers of Jesus understood that even after His death on the cross they were still to keep the Sabbath day according to the Commandment. That is not just my opinion. Let's turn to the New Testament again, Luke 23:54-56. "And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on, (speaking, you see, of the day on which Jesus was crucified) And the women... beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandments." Jesus had been laid away in the grave. These women worked right up until sundown and then they rested on the Sabbath day as Jesus had taught them, according to the Commandment. Certainly they didn't understand, like so many modern theologians, that the Sabbath was nailed to the cross and done away with. They kept it the day after Christ died on Calvary's hill. They kept it according to the Commandment. According to the Commandment the Sabbath is the seventh day, the day we now call Saturday. And the Bible tells us we are to keep it from evening until evening.

"From even unto even shall ye celebrate your sabbath." Leviticus 23:32. Lest someone might say, How do we know when evening is?, God put it down in the Bible by inspiration, telling us that evening is when the sun sets. See Mark 1:32.

You know, it is wonderful that God put the Sabbath out of reach of human hands. Sometimes our clocks stop. Sometimes we go on daylight saving time and push the clock ahead one hour. This causes confusion for one who attempts to keep a day holy by man's standards, but we don't have to depend on the clock to tell us when God's Sabbath comes. He placed the Sabbath beyond any human interference by decreeing that the Sabbath would be marked by the setting of the sun, from evening until evening. And, of course, there is a very basic reason for that, it was the portion of time God had blessed. There wouldn't be any point in keeping a day from midnight to midnight if God blessed it beginning with the evening or with the sundown. "God called the light day," we read back in the first chapter of Genesis, "and the evening and the morning were the first day." Verse 5. In other words, the very first day began with the dark part which we call night, followed by the light part which we call day. When we come down to the close of God's creation work week after He had finished creating man and everything in the world, God's Sabbath began. The evening and the morning, the dark and the light, were the sixth day, and then the Sabbath began with that next evening. And it was that portion of time in which God rested. It was that portion of time on which God placed His blessing.

Now the answer to any further question is found as we look at Calvary's cross. Jesus is the way in the Sabbath as in every other question. It is interesting how clear it becomes as we view it in the light of Calvary. Christ died on Friday. That is where Good Friday comes from. Virtually all the Christian world recognizes that. Christ arose on Sunday. Easter always comes on Sunday because Christ arose on Sunday, the first day of the week. Now the Bible says that the day between the day on which Christ died and the day on which He rose again is the Sabbath day according to the Commandment. See Luke 23:54-56. The day on which God placed His blessing, and the day God commands all men to keep.

You remember it was on "the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared and certain others with them." Luke 24:1. After resting on the Sabbath they resumed their work on Sunday morning. There are some who believe that after Christ's death the first day of the week became the Sabbath. Let's notice what the Bible says in Mark 16:1,2. "And when the Sabbath was past. . .very early in the morning of the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun." They rested on the Sabbath, they began their work on the first day of the week. That was the practice of New Testament Christians. We find it again in Acts, which records the activities of the New Testament church. "When the Jews were gone out of the synagogue the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.... And the next Sabbath came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God." Acts 13:42, 44. Now if they had suddenly changed from keeping the seventh day to keeping the first, they would have come to Paul and said, "You preached to the Jews today, on the Sabbath, and you can come tomorrow, that is Sunday, and preach to us, the Gentiles." But they didn't say that at all. No, they said, "We'll be back in church next Sabbath and then you can preach to us, too." So the practice of the New Testament church of the apostles is so clear there is no excuse for misunderstanding it.

The Bible even carries us beyond to the time when God will establish His kingdom, and it says, "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord." Isaiah 66:22,23. Now, if God gave the Sabbath in the Garden of Eden, and blessed it before there was any sin, and if all the Old Testament prophets kept it, and if Jesus and the apostles kept it, and we are going to be keeping the Sabbath again when God has made an end of sin, surely we ought to be keeping it now too.

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