Understanding the Sabbath
Welcome home from the Feast of Tabernacles.
Why were so many Pharisees offended over the manner in which Jesus Christ observed the Sabbath? Over and over they took exception with what He said and did on the Sabbath. If we look closely, we are able to see a trend wherein Jesus was highly criticized for participating in legitimate Sabbath activities.
“It came to pass, that [Jesus] went through the corn fields on the Sabbath day; and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto Him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful?” (Mark 2:23-24)
The Pharisees were angry, and accused Jesus of being a lawbreaker because they did not understand the spirit and purpose of the Sabbath Day. Their accusation was that Jesus’ disciples were harvesting and they were eating out on the Sabbath Day.
Brethren, would we be offended at Christ’s actions on the Sabbath if we could see all of them firsthand? We in God’s Church need to understand the spirit and purpose of the Sabbath. The Scriptures establish that the Sabbath is a Feast of the Lord.
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the Feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my Feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.” (Leviticus 23:2-3)
Please notice that the very first Feast mentioned – is the weekly Sabbath Day. We see here also, that there is to be ‘no work’ done on the Sabbath. But, we will see that this ‘no work’ concept is defined by God to allow for miracles, emergencies, good works, Temple service, and even animals in distress – among other exemptions. There are many aspects of the Sabbath that need to be taken into consideration.
A short list of the characteristics that God has revealed about the Sabbath shows that it is a holy convocation, a sign, a delight, and a rest. The Sabbath was blessed by God and sanctified. It is prophetic and it is to be remembered. The Sabbath was made for man, but it belongs to God.
We need to take a good look at what the Scriptures say to insure that we are not drifting off course. The Sabbath when properly understood and observed is for the benefit of man. The Sabbath was made for man. Too many brethren have learned only that Sabbath observance was mandatory and that there was a long list of things not to do. There is so much more to the Sabbath than that.
Everyone reading these ‘Countdown to the Return of Jesus Christ’ letters desires to keep the Sabbath Day holy as God intends it to be observed. What is the purpose of the Sabbath? Its primary purpose, to the chagrin of many, is not a social gathering. The Sabbath is a pivotal Commandment.
Chapter 10 in the Book of Hebrews is all about sacrifices. After Paul explained that Jesus Christ has offered one sacrifice for sins, perfecting them that are sanctified forever, he tells us what our part is whenever we interact with other brethren. Though these verses are not a directive to attend Sabbath services, they do reveal our great responsibility when gathered together with other brethren.
“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…” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
What do we talk to others about at Sabbath services? In many congregations no one mentions the sermon or brings up a beneficial spiritual concept.
God’s Word says that we are to be provoking one another unto love and to good works. Who today, among God’s people, keeps the Sabbath like that?
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