In last month's study we learned about the absolute necessity of keeping the Ten Commandments. Although all 10 are very important in God's sight, He puts special emphasis on the Fourth Commandment the keeping of His holy Sabbath day.
Do you know why God's Sabbath is so important? This study will show you where to find the answers. But before we begin, get your Bible, some notebook paper and a pencil or pen. Be sure to turn to and read each Bible verse given in answer to the questions. We also suggest that you copy these scriptures in a notebook for easy review later. Now that you have your tools for study, let's begin.
1. On what day of creation week did God rest? Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:11. Did God rest because He was tired from all the work He had done during the previous six days? Isaiah 40:28.
God is composed of spirit and never becomes tired as do physical human beings. Therefore, by the very act of resting on the seventh day of the week God made, or created, the Sabbath. (The seventh day of the week was, and still is, what we know today as Saturday. For more information on this subject, send for your free copy of Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath?)
2. Who in the God Family made that first Sabbath? Ephesians 3:9, Mark 2:28.
Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath because He made it! As other scriptures prove conclusively, He was the Lord God of the Old Testament era and the very Creator of all things. (This is explained in more detail in our free reprint Is Jesus God?) By ceasing to do any labor on the seventh day of creation week, Christ set apart that 24-hour period and every seventh day afterward for a special and holy use.
3. For whom did Jesus say the Sabbath was specifically made? Mark 2:27. Would that include youths of various ages? Exodus 20:8-10, especially verse 10.
"The sabbath was made for man," declared Jesus. Every future seventh day was singled out at creation to be observed by man forever and was to benefit everybody who would ever live, regardless of age.
4. How did Christ intend the Sabbath to benefit man? Deuteronomy 5:14. Notice the word rest.
The word Sabbath means "rest" in the original Hebrew language. Physical rest and mental relaxation and refreshment after a busy week at school and/or on the job are obvious reasons for the Sabbath.
Most of you are under pressure from time to time — term paper deadlines, studying for tests, extracurricular activities, job related assignments, to name just a few. God knew we would need periodic rest and change from physical work.
But the purpose for keeping God's Sabbath goes far beyond merely resting on this day. The seventh-day Sabbath has to do with God's great purpose for creating man.
Man desperately needs this time each week in which to have additional close spiritual contact with God — time to think more about God, to pray and worship Him (both in private and in fellowship with others), to read and study the Bible to grasp more fully our awesome potential that we discovered in previous studies!
5. Is the Sabbath a time to pursue our own interests and pleasures? Isaiah 58:13. Will God bless the faithful Sabbath keeper? Verse 14, chapter 56:2-7.
God made the seventh day of the week holy — and He commands us to keep it that way. The Sabbath, then, is holy time. And it was made to be a great blessing.
Hobbies, special interests, sports and other recreation are for the first six days of the week. The Sabbath is special time God claims — puts His name on — then gives back to us entirely for our own good. Then, to top it all off, He promises blessings now and a great future reward for cheerfully and truly keeping the Sabbath!
6. Was the observance of the Sabbath day to be a special sign of identification between God and His people Israel? Exodus 31:13, 16-17.
So that Israel would especially remember that the Eternal God is Creator, Sustainer and Supreme Ruler over all His creation, God singled out Sabbath observance as the one great sign by which they could always be reminded of who He is and who they were — His chosen people.
Sabbath keeping was to be a sign to identify the people of God of all generations, including "spiritual Israel" today (Galatians 3:28-29) — Spirit-begotten members of God's one true Church.
Today the Sabbath also reminds us of our Creator who not only created the material universe, but who is also creating in Spirit-begotten Christians His holy, righteous spiritual character that will endure forever when they are born into His divine Family! Thus the Sabbath reminds us every week of the Creator God of all the universe and His wonderful purpose for mankind.
7. Was Sabbath keeping also a testing point to see if Israel would obey God? Exodus 16:4-5, 22-23.
How many do you know who keep God's seventh-day Sabbath? The Sabbath commandment is the one almost no one will keep unless they truly want to follow all that God commands!
8. Did Jesus Christ keep the Sabbath? Luke 4:16, 31.
Jesus regularly attended church (synagogue) services on the Sabbath day "as his custom was." He fulfilled His own command to meet for worship services every Sabbath day! (Leviticus 23:3).
9. Was it the apostle Paul's "manner," even as it was Christ's custom, to keep the Sabbath? Acts 17:1-2. What other evidence is there that the early New Testament Church of God observed the Sabbath? Acts 13:14-15, 42, 44, Acts 18:1, 4, 11.
There is no question that the early true Church observed the seventh-day Sabbath. Those who are striving to obey God today will also be keeping the same day Jesus, Paul and the entire Church kept!
10. What is God's warning to us in Hebrews 3:8-13, 18-19? (Notice the word rest in verses 11 and 18.) Was rebellion, especially Sabbath breaking, the reason God prevented the ancient Israelites (who originally came out of Egypt) from entering His "rest"? Ezekiel 20:12-13, 15-16.
The land of Canaan — the promised rest into which Israel finally entered (Joshua 1:13) — is spoken of in the Bible as a type or example of the Christian's spiritual rest — of someday soon being born into the Family of God and living forever!
11. If we believe and obey God, will we enter God's rest — eternal life in God's Kingdom? Hebrews 4:3, first nine words.
The equation is clear: Real belief in God equals active obedience regardless of age. The youth who really believes the truth of God will be keeping God's Sabbath as outlined in the Fourth Commandment.
God's Sabbath is not to be treated lightly or forgotten. We are commanded to "Remember the sabbath day..." (Exodus 20:8) for it is a memorial of God's restoration of the earth and the creation of man. And the Sabbath pictures the coming eternal "rest" that true Christians will enter when born into God's Family.
12. Did God command the entire nation of Israel to meet together (a "convocation") on the Sabbath? Leviticus 23:3, Numbers 28:25. What are New Testament Christians admonished regarding t he assembling of themselves? Hebrews 10:25.
Both children and adults are to rejoice in God's Sabbath and enjoy fellowshipping with each other on this day. And all are to learn what a pleasure and great blessing it is to keep God's Sabbath holy — the day that reminds us of the Creator God of the universe and His great plan for mankind!