THE MYSTERY OF THE SABBATH
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
“…And God rested on the seventh (great) day” (Genesis 2:2, emphasis mine). Like the celebrations of the annual feasts, such as the Passover, Pentecost and Trumpets, the Sabbath is not a day of drudgery, but of celebration, a toast to creation. For the Christian, it should be like Christmas, every week! If God had a favourite day of the week, it would certainly be the Sabbath.
The Sabbath is significantly different from the yearly feasts in many respects. First, it was a day deliberately created by God for no other purpose but for rest. Rest from his work of creation, for the earth and all created in it, and for man to indulge in. Second, the Sabbath was implemented before sin entered the world. It is important to note that while the seven annual feasts signify our journey back to paradise, the Sabbath is the destination. The whole plan of salvation involves bringing the Sabbath back to mankind and even to God himself. Therefore, the Sabbath could in no way be “done away with”. It is as perfect and unchangeable as God himself. Also, as I said before, if God had a favourite day of the week, it would certainly be the Sabbath. It is never going away. It is here to stay for as long as heaven and earth exist.
The Sabbath is special in more ways than one. It is the culmination of completion. God’s work of creation was completed when He created the Sabbath day. Unfortunately, when our fore-parents sinned, we lost the blessing of the Sabbath as well; and Satan had attacked no other feast or commandment of God more forcefully than he did the Sabbath. So much so that the majority of Christians today dismiss its value and importance and view it as a day of drudgery and bondage. In reality, there is true liberty and enjoyment in celebrating this very special day.
Indeed, the Sabbath was purposefully made for man to enjoy (Mark 2:27). Like all of creation man is not subjected to the Sabbath, but man was to subject the Sabbath to him, to celebrate, to eat, and to fellowship. In short, it is to be celebrated with the same kind of festivity like all the other holy feasts. Beware however, that our idea of an acceptable celebration of a holy day may be different from God’s idea of what is acceptable for the Sabbath (Isaiah 58:13), but don’t worry, He spent considerable time telling us how to celebrate all of His holy days (Exodus 16:23, 20:8-11).
The Sabbath is a day for holy rest. Like all the other feasts, it involves spending time with our family or with like-minded people to eat a lot (hence the name feast), share, celebrate and most importantly to commune with God; to spend quality time with Him. The Sabbath is for celebrating not only creation, and rest from regular work, but is also for celebrating eternal rest to come from sin, pain and death. The whole plan of salvation is wrapped up in the Sabbath. For the purpose of salvation is to bring the Sabbath back; to undo the consequences of sin and to reinstate Eden and eternal rest. The true manifestation, like all the other feasts, is not seen from its weekly observance. The true Sabbath is a future event, like the Feast of Trumpets is to the second coming of the Messiah, and like all the other feasts, the weekly Sabbath is a rehearsal ordained by God and is a sign of the promise for the real thing, as well as a tool to more fully understand the mystery of His love and of our salvation. The Sabbath is in fact directly related to Eden and the New Jerusalem.
However, one must ask the question, can the Sabbath then be any old day of the week? Well, if it is like all the other feasts days, then no, it cannot be any old day convenient to us, like all the other feasts days, it is a day appointed by God. While the Sabbath was included among the annual feast days in Leviticus 23, it is different from the other feasts listed alongside it in some notable ways. First, it is not one of the annual feasts celebrated only once a year, but is a weekly feast. Secondly, it ties into the plan of salvation, in the sense that it is tied to the Great week, which culminates with the Sabbath on the seventh, and last, great day that God has set aside to rest from His work of saving mankind. Thirdly, its inception did not begin with the Hebrews, as were the some of the other feasts, notably the autumn feasts, but was appointed in the very week of creation (before sin). Therefore, it was not appointed because of sin, but as a sign of perfection.
It is important for the Christian and those learning about the nature of God to realise that He does nothing without a purpose and absolutely nothing is random or meaningless. Nothing happens by chance in this world, and God uses different ways to teach a single theme. Everything He does is tied to salvation and He uses the annual feasts, prophecy, the sanctuary, the sacrificial services, as well as the Sabbath to teach the plan of salvation to His children. After all that, God came in the person of Yeshua haMashiach (Jesus Christ) to reiterate the very plan of salvation He had already taught the Hebrews. He repackaged it and dubbed it the “gospel”, or the “Good News”, to be promulgated by the Jewish proselytes and then by the Gentiles. One thing that God wants us to understand is that the plan of Salvation is on a schedule, and that He is following this schedule on the mark. Yeshua, during His ministry urged us to watch and wait – to look out for His coming and the completion of salvation as vigilant watchmen, watching for signs, observing the fulfilment of prophecy and waiting for the end of this world (Mathew 24:42-47). He gave us more than enough analogies and anecdotes whereby we may become more acquainted with His plan, and the timetable to go with it. His plan is fitted to be completed within seven great days (or seven thousand years) from start to finish.
In prophecy, we are taught that a day for God is like a thousand years to man (2 Peter 3:8). The Scriptures span four of the seven great days. The genesis of the earth started the great clock with the first day concluding with the creation of light and its separation from darkness. The foundation of Israel marks the middle of the third great day and the Saviour was born in a manger in the twilight of the fifth great day. In the book of Revelation, John speaks of a millennium after Yeshua has returned to earth (Revelation 20:4-6); when He will rule the kingdoms of this world with an iron rod (Revelation 19:15, Zechariah 14:3-21). This millennium on the Great Week calendar falls on the last day of the week, the seventh day. It is interesting that this period should fall on this specific day of the great week, because the millennium represents rest from sin and separation from God. In a sense, God looks on this period as a time of rejoicing, and the work of salvation is to be completed by this day (Genesis 6:3). It is a vacation of sorts; and interestingly, this period has an end (Revelation 20:4-8). After this one thousand year period, there will be a judgement of the dead and the unrighteous; and sin will be irradiated eternally. So, if the millennium rest has an end, it can be represented as a day on the calendar of critical events. It therefore follows that if it is the last great day on the great week calendar of salvation (and a future event), and if Sunday is the first day of the week, then this millennial Sabbath must be a “Saturday” on our weekly calendar and the judgement will occur on the following day, a “Sunday”, the first day of our week.
Nothing God does is by chance. He is a stickler for detail, and every time He does something, He planned it several millennia before and tells us what to look for and when to look for it. In addition, He knows that we are prone to getting things wrong or misinterpreting somethings; and so, He tells us the same thing in many different ways, over different mediums, and to top it off, He aligns the event to the calendar He gave to us. He sings the same tune over and over like a broken record, in an effort to enable us to understand it (Romans 15:4).
When the Edenic temple returns as the New Jerusalem, all the nations of the world will go there from Sabbath to Sabbath and every year they will go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16-19). If the Sabbath is so important to God, it should also be important to us. It was not a day created to only be enjoyed by the Jews, because it was created before Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 1:14-19), and we will observe it religiously for all eternity in the Kingdom of God. Indeed the Sabbath is not for the Jews, it is for us, all of mankind; it is no burden and against it there can be no law (Matthew 11:30, Galatians 5:22-23, Romans 2:17-3:20). “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil. For assuredly, I say to you , till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5: 17-18). All is certainly not fulfilled. There remains a lot of work to be done in the great work of redemption.
The entire plan of salvation is wrapped up in the Sabbath. The whole point of everything that God does is to restore the Sabbath rest – to Him, to His people, and to the earth. The whole Bible is all about bringing back the Sabbath. It is a liberty given to us by God. It was never meant to be a burden. Satan has successfully degraded and has nearly destroyed every institution that God had set up for His people to enjoy. He has attacked the family, degraded education, our religion, and the Sabbath. In this world, almost every value system is turned upside down. Most good spiritual values, for example humility, is seen as evil, and evil and immorality are praised. Values are vice and vices are valued. The satanic grip on society calls righteousness wickedness. Under a system where self-centred behaviour is richly rewarded, and even encouraged, selfless behaviour is often punished or goes unrewarded. Indeed, in this world, “no good deed goes unpunished” (Clare Boothe Luce). Even the churches teach selfish values. How often have we heard in church when it is time for the collection of offerings to “give and it will come back to you”? I don’t know about you, but every time I go to a church that does collections, I hear it. Our value system is corrupted. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12, NKJV). The Kingdom of Heaven is not about giving in order to receive anything. The most priced behaviour in the Kingdom will be service and sacrifice to all people, creatures, and the weakest of creation. In the Kingdom of God, rule number one is putting the needs of others before our own, this is especially true for those who are weaker than us or in need of our help. This was the primary problem Lucifer had with God’s government (Hebrews 2:6-8). We see this played out in the systems of government he had set up on the earth. Capitalism, one of such systems, is a system that goes against the greatest governing principle of heaven - the first being last (Matthew 19:30) and the strongest being a servant to the weakest (Romans 15:1-3).
Our world is upside down. Our value system is upside down, why do we think that our worship did not suffer the same interference? Our first sin was disobedience to God. When Lucifer asked Eve, “Did God really say that you can’t eat of this fruit?” and she saw that it was pleasant to her eyes, she ate it. Her first act was to question God’s judgement about what was good for her. Repeatedly we commit the same sin, we put our wants before our Father’s commands, and whenever they conflict, we question whether His commands truly benefit us. When we disobey God’s commands, we are essentially spitting in His face and saying to him, “You don’t really know what’s best for us anyway, so I’m just going to do it my way. Take it or leave it.” Does this attitude sound righteous? In our unrighteous state, can we truly be judges of righteousness, even if we disobey God with the “right” motive?
Ezekiel 22:26 says, “Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them” (KJV). We have trampled on no other command of God more than on the Sabbath. Satan’s greatest victory over the church is getting the church to believe that the observance of the Sabbath on the appointed day is up for debate; that it was the only one of the Ten Commandments that has been nailed to the cross; and it is only for the Jews (see our teaching The Mystery of the Gospel). That it was under the old covenant and is not under the new covenant. When an enemy wants to hurt someone where it will hurt the most, he will take away the thing he believes that person values the most. The archenemy of God, and man, is no different. By teaching us to disobey the Sabbath command and other commandments, he has taken the very essence of salvation away from us. The Sabbath is not any old day of the week. It is the whole point of saving us. Salvation is an act of bring us back into His Sabbath rest, so we can enjoy it again with Him. Salvation is the highest act of love. We were not created solely to worship God, we were created so that God could be a servant to us; and when we fell from grace, His entire purpose was to serve us (the greatest act of love) and to bring back the Sabbath to us.
When we become true children of God, we go rogue, counter culture, to every system in this world. No cowards will enter the kingdom; for the kingdom will be filled with brave men and women who will stand up for the cause of God on pain of death, rejection, humiliation (Revelation 17:6, Matthew 10:16-34), and hatred (John 15:18-19). To the whole world the righteous and righteousness are considered insane. Indeed this journey is not for cowards.
“Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues (churches)… brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents… and you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved… “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Mathew 10:16-34, NKJV).
The world is in want of heroes, men who are willing to fight (for a good cause), and courageous people to stand up for righteousness, even in the face of death. God needs courageous servants, ready to defend righteousness at their own expense. Love centres on the will to do, not logic or reward. We do not fully know why God gave us the commands that He did, but we know for sure that obeying them is for our benefit and happiness, not His. That was the mistake of Adam and Eve. Surely, “if you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10, NKJV). At the end of the day, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” (John F. Kennedy).
I hope that you have been blessed by this teaching, and I hope that you will investigate all that is written above and match it to what the scriptures reveal and not according to our world worldview. For “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV), but test these words by “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV).
Footnotes: On our Creator’s calendar a new day begins at sunset. Go back to where I left off.