The Lord Our Only Sabbath – Part Three (B)

The Seventh-Day Sabbath
The Old Testament Covenant and Sign
between God and National Israel

by Curt Wildy
Continued from Part Three (A)

Why was the Seventh-day Sabbath Rest given to them?

I now aim to cover the reasons why God gave the Seventh-day Sabbath rest to Israel.

1. Given as a type of the true spiritual rest that is found in the Lord Jesus;

The Seventh-day Sabbath is a picture of the eternal rest that believers have in the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the rest that national Israel had on the seventh-day distinguished them from all other nations, the eternal rest that the Israel of God has distinguishes them from all other nations. Seven, the number of perfection, points to that perfect rest that spiritual Israel has in the Lord. This eternal, spiritual rest includes all of the Israel of God; it is available for all who are in Christ whether they be Jews, gentiles (strangers), or those who formerly were deemed ineligible to enter into the congregation of the Lord (eunuchs, etc.).

Isaiah 56:1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation [is] near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. 2 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. 3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I [am] a dry tree. 4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths , and choose [the things] that please me, and take hold of my covenant; 5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

2. Given as a reminder concerning redemption from Egypt (redemption from carnality and sin);

God gave the Israelites the Sabbath as a reminder of the fierce toils and struggles that they had in Egypt and the mighty deliverance they received from His  hand as He redeemed them and brought them out of bondage.

Deuteronomy 5:12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: 14 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, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. 15 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.

3. Given as a sign and covenant regarding their relationship with God.

Temporally, the Seventh-day Sabbath was a sign from God given to national Israel to distinguish them as His covenant people and to point them to Him as their only source of rest, sanctification, and redemption. Consider the following:

Exodus 31:13 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, 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…16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, [for] a perpetual covenant. 17 It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

Ezekiel 20:11 And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which [if] a man do, he shall even live in them. 12 Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] the LORD that sanctify them…18 But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: 19 I [am] the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; 20 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.

4. Given as a holy convocation (calling out, assembling together).

Leviticus 23:3 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.

5. Given as a day of rest for well-being, peace, and the prolonging of days:

The sabbath was given to them for rest, for time separated unto God (to think on Him, praise Him, and worship Him), and as a means towards their well-being and prolongation of life.

Deuteronomy 4:39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. 40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.

Deuteronomy 5:12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. 13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: 14 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, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.

Isaiah 58: 13 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: 14 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].

Jeremiah 17:24 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; 25 Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever. 26 And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the LORD. 27 But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

6. Given as a day to hear and ponder the word of God:

Jesus taught on the Sabbath, as did His Apostles. It appears that one purpose of the Sabbath was to have a day wherein God’s people can hear, expound upon, meditate in, and otherwise ponder the word of God.

Acts 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

When was the Seventh-day Sabbath Rest kept?

Unlike in our day, the Israelites counted the start of each new day not at midnight, but at sunset. The evening (sundown) was the start of the new day. Thus, the Seventh-day Sabbath was to be kept on the seventh-day (traditionally observed from a few minutes before sundown on what we call Friday to the appearing of three stars in the sky on what we call Saturday night/evening). We read the following:

Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day….13 And the evening and the morning were the third day….19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day…. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Leviticus 23:32 It [shall be] unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth [day] of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

Precisely how was the Seventh-day Sabbath Rest to be kept?

I. No work was to be performed (except acts of mercy and true necessity)

Exodus 20:8 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 23:3 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.

Numbers 15:32 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.

Deuteronomy 5:12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: 14 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, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.

II. No burden was to be borne

Jeremiah 17:21 Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring [it] in by the gates of Jerusalem; 22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.

Nehemiah 13:15 In those days saw I in Judah [some] treading wine presses on the sabbath , and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all [manner of] burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified [against them] in the day wherein they sold victuals.

III. No fire was to be kindled

Exodus 35:2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. 3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.

IV. No commerce, importations of goods, or business transactions were allowed

Nehemiah 10:29 They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes; 30 And that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons: 31 And [if] the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, [that] we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and [that] we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.

Nehemiah 13:15 In those days saw I in Judah [some] treading wine presses on the sabbath , and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all [manner of] burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified [against them] in the day wherein they sold victuals. 16 There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing [is] this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath . 19 And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath : and [some] of my servants set I at the gates, [that] there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. 20 So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice. 21 Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do [so] again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no [more] on the sabbath . 22 And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and [that] they should come [and] keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, [concerning] this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.

Jeremiah 17:21 Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring [it] in by the gates of Jerusalem; 22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.

Amos 8:4 Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, 5 Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? 6 That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; [yea], and sell the refuse of the wheat?

V. No seeking of personal pleasure or entertainment

Isaiah 58:13 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: 14 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].

VI. No excess travel

Acts 1:12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.

Exodus 16:29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

VII. The Sabbath was to be hallowed

Ezekiel 44:23 And they shall teach my people [the difference] between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; [and] they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies; and they shall hallow my sabbaths.

VIII. It was a day to worship God and to hear His holy word proclaimed.

Mark 1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. 22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 6:2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?

Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read… 31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. 32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

Luke 13:10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.

Acts 13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. 15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, [Ye] men [and] brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on…. 27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him…. 42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath…. 44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day .

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

IX. It was a day wherein sacrifices and offerings had to be made

Leviticus 24:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually. 3 Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the LORD continually: [it shall be] a statute for ever in your generations. 4 He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the LORD continually. 5 And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake. 6 And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD. 7 And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon [ each] row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, [ even] an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 8 Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, [being taken] from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.

Numbers 28:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, [and] my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, [for] a sweet savour unto me, shall ye observe to offer unto me in their due season. 3 And thou shalt say unto them, This [is] the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, [for] a continual burnt offering. 4 The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even; 5 And a tenth [part] of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth [part] of an hin of beaten oil. 6 [It is] a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.7 And the drink offering thereof [shall be] the fourth [part] of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy [place] shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD [for] a drink offering. 8 And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer [it], a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD. And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour [for] a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: 10 [This is] the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. 10 [This is] the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.

X. It was a day wherein merciful and truly needful deeds were allowed

Matthew 12:1 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 . 9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: 10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days ? that they might accuse him. 11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day , will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

Mark 3:1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. 2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day ; that they might accuse him. 3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. 4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days , or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

Luke 13:14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. 15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

Luke 14:1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. 3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? 5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?

John 7:22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. 23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?

What was the penalty for violating/profaning/polluting the Seventh-day Sabbath rest?

The penalty for violating the Seventh-day Sabbath was death, as can be seen in the following passages:

Exodus 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, 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. 14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it [is] holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth [any] work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh [is] the sabbath of rest , holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth [any] work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, [for] a perpetual covenant.

Exodus 35:1 And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the LORD hath commanded, that [ye] should do them. Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.

Leviticus 26:2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I [am] the LORD. 3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit…. 14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; 15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, [but] that ye break my covenant: 16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you….

Numbers 15:32 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.

Jeremiah 17:27 But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

Ezekiel 20:21 Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which [if] a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths : then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness.

Summary

In light of the above, we can safely say that the Seventh-Day Sabbath rest was given to the Israelites of the Exodus, to their future generations, and to the strangers amongst them. It was first given during the period covered in Exodus 16 (the second month after their departure from Egypt) and again in the period covered in Exodus 19 through 31 (the third month after the departure). The Sabbath was not given to Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, or anyone else before the time of the Exodus – God gave it first to Moses to give to the Israelites in the wilderness with him.

We saw that God gave Moses and the Israelites the Sabbath for several reasons, namely: (1) to point them to the spiritual rest found in the Messiah (which also serves as as a type for believers today as we look for the Lord in all of the Old Testament scripture); (2) as a sign and covenant to remind them of God (that He was their God and that they were His peculiar people — albeit in a temporal sense); (3) to remind them of their redemption and deliverance from Egypt by the mighty hand of God; (4) to serve as a holy convocation (drawing out or assembling together) for the purpose of hallowing the day (and the LORD who gave them that day as a Sabbath); and (5) to give them both a day of rest and a day to worship God, hear His word proclaimed, and to ponder it.

We also saw that the Seventh-day Sabbath was (a) observed from approximately sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday (a fact that plays a significant part in Part Four wherein we consider the applicability of the Sabbath to Christians) and (b) observed in accordance with very specific requirements and prohibitions.

Finally, we saw that the penalty for the profaning/violating/polluting of the Seventh-day Sabbath was death by stoning for the individual(s) and the destruction of the city and its gates when the nation together continued in this sin.

Lord willing, in the final part (Part Four) I aim to cover the topic of how a Sabbath observance applies to Christians. The goal is to address the status of the Seventh-Day Sabbath today; whether it still applies to Christians; whether a Sunday Sabbath has superseded the Seventh-Day Sabbath; whether there is any Sabbath observance for God’s people today; and some other questions that directly relate to the topic at hand.

Return to Part One

Return to Part Two

Return to Part Three (A)

To be continued in Part Four…

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