THE SABBATH AND THE TRUE GOD
How is the true God distinguished from all false gods?
"The Lord is the true God, He is the living God, and an ever- lasting king. . . . The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. He hath made the earth by His powt, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched tit the heavens by His discretion." Jeremiah 10:10-12.
How did Paul describe God to the idolatrous Athenians?
"Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto yd God that made the world and all things therein." Acts 17:23, 24. -'
What did the apostles say to the idolaters at Lystra?
"Turn from these vanities unto the living God, which malle heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein." Acts 14:15. (See also Revelation 10:6; 14:6, 7.)
What reason is given in the fourth commandment for keeping the Sabbath day holy?
"For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day." Exodus 20:11.
NOTE.—The Sabbath is the great memorial of the creative power of the true and living God. God's design in making the Sabbath was that man might never forget Him, the Creator of all things. "The week, with its Sabbath, is an artificial device. The reason for it is found only in the Old Testament Scriptures. Here it is always associated with revelation from God. . . .
"Religious ideas and practices among all peoples, in varying degree, have been associated with all the time divisions which men have adopted. But in connection only with the week is religion obviously the explanation of its origin, and the week only is uniformly attributed to command of God: The week exists because of the Sabbath. It is historically and scientifically true that the Sabbath was made by God."—W. 0. CARVER, Sabbath Observance, pp. 34, 35. Copyright, 1940, by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.
When we remember that millions of the world's inhabitants today are idolaters, and that since the fall, idolatry, with its train of resultant evils, has ever been a prevailing sin, and, then think that the observance of the Sabbath, as God ordained it, would have prevented all this, we can better appreciate the value of the Sabbath institution, and of Sabbathkeeping.
THE SABBATH AND KNOWING GOD
What is the Sabbath to those who keep it holy?
"And hallow My sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God." Ezekiel 20:20.
NOTE.—"The observance of the Sabbath connects man with the origin of his race, with the six days' creation, and with the Creator Himself. . . . The Sabbath thus becomes a sign by which the believers in a historical Revelation are distinguished from those who have allowed these great facts to fade from their remembrance (Exodus 31:13). . . . The observance of the Sabbath, then, becomes the characteristic of those who cherish the recollections of the origin of their race, and who worship God not merely as Elohim, the Everlasting Almighty, but as Jehovah, the historical God, the Creator, who has revealed Himself to man from the dawn of his existence as the God of love, and afterwards of mercy and grace, of promise and performance."—JAMES G. MURPHY, Commentary on the Book of Exodus, pp. 143, 144.
How important is it that we know God?
"And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." John 17:3.
Is there any danger of God's people forgetting Him? "Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes." Deuter- onomy 8:11.
SANCTIFICATION AND DELIVERANCE
What other reason is given for keeping the Sabbath?
"Verily My sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you." Exodus 31:13.
NOTE.—To sanctify is to make holy, or to set apart for a holy use. The sanctification, or making holy, of sinful beings can be wrought only by the creative power of God through Christ by the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 1:30 we are told that Christ is made unto us "sanctification"; and in Ephesians 2:10 it is said that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." The Sabbath, therefore, is a sign of sanctification, and thus of what Christ is to the believer, because it is a reminder of the creative power of God as manifested in the work of regeneration. It is the sign of the power of God, therefore, in both creation and redemption. To the believer, it is the evidence, or sign, that he knows the true God, who, through Christ, created all things, and who, through Christ, redeems the sinner and makes him whole.
What special reason did Israel have for Sabbathkeeping?
"And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day." Deuteronomy 5:15.
NOTE.—In their bondage the Israelites had to some extent lost the knowl- edge of God, and departed from His precepts. In consequence of the oppres- sion, especially the rigorous exactions made upon them by the Pharaoh of the exodus, Sabbath observance was made apparently impossible. (See Exodus 5:1-19.) Moses and Aaron had shown them that obedience to God was the first condition of deliverance. Their efforts to restore the observance of the Sabbath among the Israelites brought Pharaoh's accusation, "Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let [hinder] the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. . . .
Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest [Heb., Shabbath] from their burdens." Exodus 5:4, 5. Deliverance from this oppression was therefore an additional reason for their keeping the Sabbath. But Egyptian bondage simply represents the bondage of sin. (See Revelation 11:8; Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:15; Zechariah 10:10.) Every one, therefore, who has been delivered from sin has the same reason for keeping the Sabbath as had the Israelites who were released from Egyptian bondage.
What does the psalmist say was the reason why God brought His people out of Egypt, and placed them in Canaan?
"He brought forth His people . . . : and gave them the lands of the heathen: . . . that they might observe His statutes, and keep His laws." Psalms 105:43-45.
NoTE.—Their deliverance from Egyptian bondage was a reason for the keeping not only of the fourth commandment, but of every precept of God's law. This is indicated by the preamble to the law as given on Sinai: "I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage," prefacing "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." Exodus 20:2, 3. (See also Leviticus 19:35-37; Deuteronomy 10:19; 15:12-15; 24:17, 18.) Likewise, God calls every one who, through Christ, has been delivered from the bondage of sin, to keep not only the Sabbath but every precept of His holy law, "Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil." Isaiah 56:2.
PERSONAL REST AND PUBLIC WORSHIP
What is the meaning of the word "sabbath"?
NOTE.—Previous to the fall, God designed that man's time should be occupied with pleasant, invigorating labor. (Genesis 2:15.) Wearisome toil came in consequence of sin. (Genesis 3:17-19.) Since the fall the Sabbath may bring physical rest to both man and beast of burden (Exodus 23:12), but physical rest was not its original and primary design or purpose. Cessation from the ordinary labors of the week was ordained, not because these are sin- ful in themselves, but that man might have a frequently recurring period for the contemplation of the Creator and His works. Under the gospel, the Sabbath is a sign of spiritual rest and freedom from sin. "For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His." Hebrews 4:10.
Who gives this rest from sin?
"Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and / will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Matthew 11:28, 29.
NOTE.—The Sabbath, then, is the sign of the soul rest which Christ gives to the weary and the laden with sin.
Was the Sabbath intended as a day for public worship?
"Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation." Leviticus 23:3.
NOTE.—A convocation is an assembly of people. Does the New Testament teach the same duty? "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:24, 25.
Will the Sabbath be observed as a day of worship in the new earth?
"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. 27
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