The Sabbath

Isaiah 58: 13,14 - If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

The word 'Sabbath' means 'to rest' or 'to cease from doing work'. The Bible states the seventh day as a day of rest.

Among a few of the topics in the Bible, the Sabbath is one topic which causes a lot of confusion in the minds of both Jews and Christians. One very common question asked by Christians today is the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday? They point to the fact that in the Bible Saturday was the day of rest, so why was it changed to Sunday? The Catholic Church changed it to Sunday because of Jesus' resurrection falling on a Sunday which was also the day the Peace (Wave) Sacrifice was consumed.

This topic has even caused the formation of a sect of Christians who want to keep Saturday as the Sabbath. This day of rest has caused more unrest than rest among Christians.

The Jews too were not spared from the problems of the Sabbath. They have a book that was fatter than the Torah, to explain and give guidelines to keeping the Sabbath. They killed and brutally tortured people and their families for not keeping the Sabbath.

Firstly I want to put the question - can any man rest? Forget man, even an object does not rest even though it seems to be at rest. Let me demonstrate this with facts.

The earth revolves so ever object on the earth is in constant motion. If a person stands at the equator he moves at a speed of about 1000miles per hour even though he or she is standing still. If the person is somewhere in Israel, still the person moves at 875mph.

Forget earth the whole of the universe is in constant motion, for the whole universe is expanding even though the astrological bodies seem to be stationary. They expand at a Hubble constant of 74 kilometres per sec per megaparsec.

We are living beings that have internal organs that are constantly working, and they only rest when we die. Even after we die some parts of our body like our hair still grows for a period of time!

Surely God knew all this and much more which is still hidden from us. So why did God initiate the Sabbath?

There are 2 parts to the Sabbath one is the statutes and the other is the commandment.

The statutes states as God telling man to rest from his work after six days of work. This statute was given even before the 10 Commandments were given through Moses. As all statutes it had a purpose which is both scientific and spiritual. Once the purpose is known keeping the statute is an option and that is why Jesus did not rest and yet did not break any commandment and sin. The statute does not have just the seventh day as a Sabbath but even the seventh year is considered a Sabbath for the land.

Regarding the commandment of keeping the Sabbath holy. In Exodus 20:8-11 the Lord commands to keep the Sabbath holy; and to give us a clear understanding of this commandment He specifies some details to it. He specifies not only us, those connected to us also rest and the Lord specifies who all. He says our sons, daughters, male servants, female servants, cattle and strangers within our gates. It is only when we understand the symbolic representation of these people then we would know the Sabbath better. If we see the Lord compares the Sabbath to Him resting on the 7th day after creating this natural creation.

When one studies these 6 days of Genesis chapter 1 in depth and compare them to true scientific data, we see science proves the Bible right. But these '6 days' are not 24 hour days but 6 periods which expand over 15 billion years. Nuclear scientist Gerald L. Schroeder, who is on advisory board of many nations also lectures on this matter at Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He wrote many books on the same.

Not going deep into this topic for it would not be covered in this short message. But I will shortly put this Sabbath as our spiritual rest in the Lord when we rest from all our works including mental and spiritual. This Sabbath is personal to each one and can be in various areas or events in our lives.

For example if the Lord tells us to go and lay hands on a person who is sick and He would heal the person. We need to stay on the track of laying our hands and praying and then drawing back and letting the Lord take over thereafter. We should not again and again go on praying over that person and be anxious about the person being healed. We should trust in the Lord and He does not disappoint those who rest in Him.

To give another example in the Bible there are many clues that give an approximate time which Jesus will come again to judge all mankind. Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel and even Jesus (through His actions) put this to a period between 2300years to 2500years. When we track the days of mankind from Adam, we are in the 5773 year today. Which means in another 227 years (these are approximate measurements) we will complete 6000years and enter in to 7th 1000 year of mankind which the Bible states as the Day of the Lord when He comes to judge. At this time all our works on earth of bringing the Lord's sheep back to Him will come to a halt, and we who are of the Lord will rest in Him eternally, being a part of Him.

In today's message the Lord is telling us we may or may not keep the statute of resting on the natural Sabbath (7th day) depending our spiritual maturity and the glory of God in our lives, but we should keep our spiritual Sabbath holy. It is only when we rest in the Lord for our works in Him then only we will have the favour of God over us.

[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, help us not to be anxious. Help us to trust in You when we do our work in You. You are the giver of the harvest. You alone are the one who brings fruit to our works for You are in control of all things. Lord, You allow things to go wrong so that we learn and grow in You, but when we walk according to your instructions our work is perfected in You. Lord, help us to be like Jesus the Lord of the Sabbath, He rested after all His works in You, today He has handed us over to the Holy Spirit and is in Heaven seated at your Righteous Hand...

This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.

[ Reference Scriptures ]
Exodus 16:23 - And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.

Exodus 20:8-11
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 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.

Leviticus 23:15 - And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:

Leviticus 25:4 - But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.

Matthew 12:1-8
1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Numbers 15:32-36
32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.
35 And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.

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