In the Magnificat Meal Movement we follow Saturday Sabbath and the seven High Sabbaths of the Bible. In today’s Study Point Debramarie shares the truth about observing Sabbaths and why they are important in our lives.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, (sanctified it) because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.
Have you ever thought why God had to rest on the 7th day? Was he exhausted from all his work? Well it does not take too much pondering to work out that NO, God does not need to rest and did not rest in the way we understand rest. So what was God saying when he tells us in scripture that he rested on the 7th day and sanctified it? What is it that we are agreeing with when we, like him, set apart our seventh day and rest.
Lets look at a number of points so that we can better understand the Sabbath as it is revealed to us in scripture and are better equipped to teach others about this blessed and important day.
SABBATH – SEVEN – REST = COMPLETION – PERFECTION – COVENANT
To start with the word “seven,” “sabbath,” and “rest,” are all the same basic word in Hebrew, Shabat. So it is true then that the main meaning of the Sabbath is rest on the 7th day. But the full meaning of the Sabbath is not “rest” as we understand it. For who is God that he would need to rest. In Scripture, seven symbolizes completeness or perfection. Other researchers also suggest it means the Seal of God / Oath or Covenant. So what we understand when we read the scripture of Genesis is that on the seventh day Yahweh God had completed and made perfect his gift of creation for us and he sealed this day as a sign or covenant forever.
The Genesis scripture also tells us that Yahweh God sanctified this day – in other words “set apart for holy use or purpose.” This detail is very important to remember. The Sabbath is holy unto God.
Even before the giving of the 10 Commandments God is reminding the Israelites of the Sabbath. They had been in Egypt for several generations and forgotten the laws of God. It was a time of bondage. Two weeks before the giving of the 10 commandments Yahweh God begins to reteach his chosen people about the sacred Sabbath. He miraculously shows them which day it is and that it is very important to God and man that we keep it. He also sets it as a test to see if they would obey him.
“Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” 20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell……… 23 He said to them, “This is what the LORD commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.'” 24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the LORD. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.” 27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28 Then the LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the LORD
has given you the Sabbath………”
Without a shadow of a doubt the Israelites could see that the keeping of the seventh day as a Sabbath rest was important to Yahweh God. Yahweh showed them the exact day and marked it out week after week as they wandered the desert. He showed his glory and made it quite clear that it was He who had bought them out of Egypt. As Moses says to them “In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning (when the manna falls) you will see the glory of the LORD…. The manna fell in the desert for six days, with a double portion falling on the 6th day. Thus pointing to the Sabbath. But the manna teaches us more than just that the Sabbath was important and required no work. It also shows us the providing of Yahweh God for his people. At the time of the manna falling the Israelites had entered into the barren regions of the desert of Sin… They complained for they believed they would die of starvation and thirst and said it would have been better to be slaves. And yet here in the barren desert the millions of Israelites were miraculously feed. Yahweh God showed them and us that if we do it his way then prosperity will fall upon us.
Two weeks later in Exodus 20:8-11 God proclaims the Sabbath as part of the 10 commandments. He reiterates that the day is holy unto God.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy… For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
Yahweh God is reminding His people of the sabbath. He commanded that they as his people would respect what he has sanctified by resting with him on that day. We see again in Ezekiel 20:16 that the Sabbath is a sanctified day to God. Yahweh says that those wandering in the desert “desecrated my Sabbaths.” To desecrate something is to treat or show disrespect to something that is sacred.
How do we keep it sacred:
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honourable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Just as Yahweh tells Moses “take off your sandals for the place where you stand is holy” (Ex 3: 1-5) He is telling them (and us) stop your work for the day you are in I have made holy, sanctified, sacred.
The Sabbath as a Sign and Covenant
10 Therefore I led them out of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, by which the person who obeys them will live. 12 Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the LORD made them holy. 16: I said to their children in the wilderness…. “20 Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death . . .
16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. 17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'”
It is a sign . . . forever. A sign is a badge, symbol, mark, or token of identity. Webster’s Dictionary defines a sign as “a display used to identify or advertise a place of business or a product. Something indicating the presence or existence of something else.
What Was the Sabbath a Sign of?
The Sabbath was the sign of that relationship between God and this people; and a sign of the covenant between them. ‘I am the Lord your God’, ‘you are My people’: that is typically covenantal language. It was also a sign that Yahweh God set his people apart, sanctified them or made the holy.(Ez 20:12)
Here in Deuteronomy we see another aspect of the Sabbath sign. In Deut 5: we read find that Yahweh links the Sabbath to the redemption of his people. In fact perhaps we could say that God’s gift of redemption demands that the Sabbath be kept as a sign of the covenant between God and His redeemed people.
“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. ……. And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.”
This purpose of the Sabbath -a symbol of the fact that the Almighty had made Israel His own and now cared for His people day by day? the Sabbath was to be a day of rejoicing. Here was a day set apart to delight in redemption and the providing of Yahweh God. This day was a gift from a God of great grace to a people mercifully redeemed.
For this is what the LORD says: “…… all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
and who hold fast to my covenant- 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.
YOU WILL NOT ENTER MY REST
Let’s now look at the scripture in Hebrews 4: 2-5
“For the gospel was preached to us as it was to them also, but the word they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith in those who heard it. But we who have believed will ENTER INTO HIS REST; as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest; behold, the works of God were form the very foundation of the world. For he said concerning the Sabbath, God rested on the seventh day from all his works. And here again he said, They shall not enter my rest.”
They shall not enter my rest. These are the words spoken by YG about the Israelites in the desert. All but two of the millions who left Eygpt did not enter the promised land. Why? We have already seen that Yahweh God had set the Israelites apart – they were his Children and He was their God… and yet here he tells them “you will not enter my rest.” So what went wrong?
“Yet the people of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not follow my decrees but rejected my laws-by which the person who obeys them will live-and they utterly desecrated my Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and destroy them in the wilderness.”
It is interesting in this scripture that he uses the world “rest.” Remember the word “rest” “seven,” and “sabbath,” are all the same basic word in Hebrew, Shabat.
Ezekiel 20: 15
Also with uplifted hand I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land I had given them-a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands- 16 because they rejected my laws and did not follow my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths. For their hearts were devoted to their idols….. 18 I said to their children in the wilderness, “Do not follow the statutes of your parents or keep their laws or defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the LORD your God; follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 20 Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.”
Those who rejected the laws and desecrated the Sabbaths (did not keep them holy) perished in the desert. YG then spoke to the next generation and said the same thing: keep my decrees and keep my Sabbaths holy – that they may be a sign between us. Does he not say the same to us?
THE PREFIGUREMENT OF THE 7TH DAY SABBATH
It is here that we need to look at the picture Yahweh God is creating with the Sabbath. For example this “redemption” of the Israelites from slavery foreshadowed the deliverance of God’s people from sin through the coming work of Christ. We see this same type of prefigurement in the seven appointed Sabbaths.
God has carefully planned and orchestrated the timing and sequence of each of these seven appointed feasts/sabbaths to reveal to us a special story.
The first four of the seven feasts occur during the springtime (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentacost) and they all have already been fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament. The final three sabbaths (Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles) occur during the fall in the seventh month. These Sabbaths are still to be fulfilled with the coming again of Yeshua and the Era of Peace. But we will not go through these feasts as we have studied all of this extensively in the past. Let us rather look to the Seventh Day Sabbath and how it too fits into the picture of salvation.
The Israelites in the desert are the people of God and the promised land a picture of our eternal rest. So it is important for us to understand why it was that the Israelites did not enter his rest. Hebrews tells us they heard the word of God but it was not mixed with faith. This angered God as they had no faith and did not act in obedience to his will and they desecrated what He had made holy. So they did not enter the REST or completion of what he was doing at that time. They had been released from bondage in Egypt but never made it to the promised land.
The fact that YG uses the words enter my REST is significant for humanity and particularly us as we approach the completion and the time when we, like the Israelites in the desert, approach the door of the promised land.
Hebrews 4: 9 says:
” It is therefore the duty of the people of God to keep the Sabbath. Hebrews 4: 11 Let us strive therefore to enter into that rest, least any man fall like those who were disobedient.
So it will be for us… for six days (6000 years) we will labour and on the seventh day we will enter his rest.
YESHUA AND THE SABBATH
Many people believe that the 7th day Sabbath was done away with by Yeshau. However as discussed above the Sabbath was created at the beginning of creation and points to the completion of the days of man and the Great Era of Peace. What we need to understand is that in the days of Christ the Sabbath had become so perverted that its observance reflected the character of selfish and arbitrary men rather than the character of the loving heavenly Father. The rabbis virtually represented God as giving laws which it was impossible for men to obey. It was the work of Christ to clear away these misconceptions. Yeshua did not conform to their “man made” requirements, but went straight forward, keeping the Sabbath according to the law of God.
Yeshua did not do away with the Sabbath but rather bought it back into balance. The Sabbath was not about harsh rules created by man but rather about a sign and contract of love between God and His people. About sanctity and service. Christ Himself, declared, “I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” John 15:10.
“And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”
As we have learnt we are coming to the end of 66.6 jubilee years. Or years of man. Just as God created for 6 days, man dwells in His creation for 66.6 jubilees. 2017 is both a Sabbatical (end of a seven year period) as well as a Jubilee year when the Lord brings liberty and everything begins again new.
From the beginning of creation God created a sign, for his set apart people. A sign of the time when physical creation will change and we, the set apart people who kept sacred the Sabbath and observed all his decrees will enter his rest. That great last day. From the beginning of time the Sabbath has had a significant role for us and now as we approach the final chapter – the final 7 years we need to make sure we are the ones that Hebrews speaks of when it reads:
“For the gospel was preached to us as it was to them also, but the word they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith in those who heard it. But we who have believed will ENTER INTO HIS REST.”
…all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-
these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Sovereign LORD declares-
he who gathers the exiles of Israel:
So the Sabbath is a sign (or mark) that we are the set apart people of God and will distinguish the church of Christ at the time of His appearing. It is also a sign to us of the one true God, the Creator who created this existence for us to become corma people. The Sabbath is completion, and perfection in Yahweh God.