The Sabbath Day
We believe that the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath of the Lord our God. On this day we are commanded to rest from our labors and worship God, following the teachings and example of Jesus, the apostles and the New Testament Church (Genesis 2:2-3; Exodus 20:8-11; 31:13-17; Leviticus 23:3; Isaiah 58:13; Hebrews 4:4-10; Mark 1:21; 2:27-28; 6:2; Acts 13:42-44; 17:2; 18:4; Luke 4:31).
The Sabbath day was made and set apart for man from the time of creation. God blessed and sanctified the seventh day, and in it He rested from all His works. The Sabbath was the day after the creation of the first human, an ordained time for man to focus on a close personal relationship with his Maker (Genesis 2:2-3).
The Sabbath was made and set apart for man from creation and directly benefits us. Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath, thereby forever linking the Creator Himself with this holy time (Mark 2:27-28). It is a very special time to deepen and broaden man's devotion to and relationship with God. When we turn from seeking our own way, we find pleasure in that which pleases God (Isaiah 58:13-14).
God gave instructions concerning the observance of the Sabbath in Exodus 20:8-10. Man is to "remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Man remembers and hallows the Sabbath by worshiping and resting on the seventh day. As Christians follow this pattern, they are following the example of their Creator and are reminded of the one who brought them into being.
In Deuteronomy 5:12-15 God reemphasizes the need to keep the Sabbath. He explains that the Sabbath is to be a reminder not only of the Creator, but that He is the One who frees from bondage (see also Luke 4:18-19). Ancient Israel remembered being freed from physical bondage in Egypt. Christians remember being freed from spiritual bondage and liberated through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:16-18).
Exodus 31:13-17 points out that the Sabbath is a sign between God and His people and constitutes a perpetual covenant. This is in addition to the instruction given at creation and in the Ten Commandments. It is to be kept holy as a reminder to those called of God that He is the One who sets them apart and that they are the children of God.
When Jesus returns to earth and establishes the Kingdom of God, the Sabbath will be regularly kept as a means of worshiping and serving Him (Isaiah 66:23).
The truth that a Sabbath rest remains for mankind (Hebrews 4:9) is confirmed through the living example of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:31) and His followers after His death and resurrection.
Paul taught the gentiles on the Sabbath (Acts 13:42-44), following both the law of God and the example of Christ. Wherever Paul went he taught on the Sabbath, as was his custom, and established churches that kept the Sabbath (Acts 17:2; 18:4). No example can be found in the writings of the apostles or the practice of the New Testament Church that shows any hint of change in the example and teaching they received from Christ.
In conclusion, the Sabbath looks back to creation and reminds man of his Creator. In the present, it recalls for those who keep the seventh day holy that God is the One who has redeemed them from sin. Finally, the Sabbath looks forward to the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God, when there will be true rest for all humanity (Hebrews 4:4-10).
(For more details, request Sunset to Sunset: God's Sabbath Rest.)
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