Part I - Why It Was Established
1. Deuteronomy 5:13-15 KJV, "13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: 14 But the seventh day is the sabbath of [Yahowah] 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 [Yahowah] thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore [Yahowah] thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day." Mark 2:27 KJV, "And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath." These Scriptures identify why sabbath keeping was established by Yahowah. He gave it so that man, the servants of men, and the beasts of burden would have a period of rest each week. It was given, by a loving God, to increase their quality of life.
2. The sabbath was also given by Yahowah as a precursor, as a type, to His rest that is yet to come for all His children who become born again. This rest, that is to come, is discussed in Hebrews 3:7-19 continuing through 4:1-11 KJV, "7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)" Here the word rest is first spoken in this group of Scriptures. This is the teaching on which we are focusing. "12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?" Rest is written here again. This is the true sabbath rest that God has been teaching throughout the Bible. Not a weekly rest, but a spiritual rest now in the present, and an eternal rest forever. "19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief." and in Hebrews 4:1-5 KJV, "1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world." God has prepared a rest for us, but we must have the faith to enter into this rest. Beginning in Exodus 16 the Hebrews were taught to observe this rest by a weekly sabbath. However, they did not exercise and apply their faith. Therefore, God did not allow most of them to enter into His rest. "4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest." Here God shows the pattern and teaching He prepared for us even from the beginning, even from the seventh day of creation. He did not introduce the sabbath at this time however. But He did introduce the rest that He had prepared for us. It is the rest that God focuses on in Genesis 2:2-3 and here in Hebrews chapters three and four. In fact, the seventh day of creation week is a Friday, not a Saturday or Sabbath: see our treatise on the "Calendar of Scripture" parts I and II. His focus is not on the physical requirements of a sabbath rest day, instead His focus is on the spiritual rest from all our labors. His focus is on the spiritual rest that is ours when we rest in the finished work of Yahoshua on the tree of Calvary. We cannot strive to reach God and strive to maintain our salvation. We can only rest in the power and sovereignty of Yahowah. He did not need our help in creating the heavens and the Earth, He did not need our help in paying for our sins by Yahoshua's death on the tree, and He does not need our help in preparing an eternal rest for us. But He does want our faith and belief that He created the heavens and the Earth. And He wants our faith and belief that He did atone for our sins on the execution stake at Calvary. And He wants our faith and belief that we can enter into His rest. Without this faith we cannot please God, Hebrews 11:6. "Hebrews 4:6-11 KJV, "6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if [Yahoshua] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." This is what God was teaching in Genesis 2:2-3; this is what God was teaching in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5; and this is what God is teaching here in Hebrews 3 and 4. He is teaching of His rest, prepared for His people. The purpose of the old requirements to keep the weekly sabbath was not the beginning point nor the end point of His teachings and requirements; it was not the culminating point; it was not the ordinance above all ordinances to be observed by all for all time. No, not at all. Weekly sabbath keeping was only another tool along the way, used by God, to teach us the importance of entering into His spiritual and permanent rest.
3. In the Old Testament, in the physical, under the Law of Moses, the sabbath of rest was to be observed under the penalty of death. In the New Testament, in the spiritual, under grace, the rest that God's people would enjoy comes not from a physical observance of the sabbath day; instead, it comes from the faith God places in your heart. You must hear Yahoshua, you must believe in the sacrifice He has made for you, and then you will be born again and you will enter into His rest permanently. Once you have entered into His rest, there is no need for a weekly observance. It has been done, once for all. Not only that, but Yahoshua, at the execution stake, kept the sabbath for all for all time.
4. The concept of a day of rest was introduced by Yahowah in Genesis 2:2-3 KJV, "2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." This moment in history did not establish the ordinance of sabbath keeping. But it did introduce the idea of a day of rest. It also introduces the idea of a time of rest for all of God's people. For those who insist on keeping the Torah, and thereby alienating themselves from the Messiah, they will stop at nothing to convince others and themselves that sabbath keeping was instituted in Genesis chapter two. These same people have failed to comprehend the teachings of the Bible as shown in the first three paragraphs above. They insist that God must come into their box and observe the weekly sabbath too. They preach the gospel of man, not the gospel of God. Be warned. Stay away from them and their gangrene. They have taken the way of Cain, instead of God's way (Jude 11).
5. These teachers want to pull you back into observing the Torah. When the Torah was clearly against you and your salvation. Colossians 2:14 KJV, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his [stake]." Colossian 2:18 KJV, "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind." Strive to enter God's rest. Trust in the Scriptures. Do not listen to the Judaizers who frequently come under the label of Seventh Day Adventists and Hebrew Roots. They have replaced the one true God with a god of their own making. Sabbath keeping is their god. It is easy to test. Denigrate their god, talk and teach against their god, and their hackles and offenses quickly rise. They must defend their god, because this god cannot defend itself.
6.a. Let me rephrase the bottom line of this theology of sabbath keeping. The act, the performance of weekly sabbath keeping is no more important than the performance of physical circumcision. The important thing to remember is what the no-longer-required ordinance of sabbath keeping points to. It points to the sabbath rest of Almighty Yahowah. The rest He has prepared for His children. If God gives you a gift and chooses to deliver it to you in a UPS delivery truck and that truck arrives at your house on a Saturday, are you going to revere and even worship UPS delivery trucks on Saturday for the rest of your life? Of course not. That is a ridiculous notion and even a sick notion. Instead, you are going to praise, thank, and revere the God of all creation, the Almighty, Yahowah is His name, for the gift He gave you. UPS did not give you the gift, God did. The very same is true of the ritual of sabbath keeping. Keeping a weekly sabbath did not give you the gift of the rest of God. Stop making weekly sabbath keeping your golden calf (Exodus 32:8). Stop making weekly sabbath keeping your Gideon's ephod (Judges 8:27). Stop making weekly sabbath keeping your brazen snake (2 Kings 18:4). God is God and He will not share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8). The gift is God's rest for man. The weekly sabbath was the UPS delivery truck. Foolish men, stop worshipping brazen serpents and UPS delivery trucks. Worship God!
6.b. Here is another story to help explain this concept.
I hire a man to dig a ditch for me. While he is digging Christ shows up. Christ says to the man, I’ll finish this job for you. When Christ finished digging the ditch he dismisses the man and tells him he is no longer needed, the job is done. So, the man goes away. Work is honorable and there is glory in it, but a completed job has greater glory. The whole purpose of the hired man was to complete a job. But the job was too big, he never would have completed it if Christ hadn’t come along and done it for him.
Then my foreman shows up and is very upset. He says to Christ, “Where is the man hired to dig the ditch?” Christ said, I fulfilled his requirements, I finished the ditch, the job is done, he was no longer needed, and I dismissed him. The foreman was wroth. He sought out the man and brought him back and told him to get back to work. But he had no work to get back to. So, he just started digging useless ditches all over the place. The foreman, having no understanding, was very happy. The foreman looked at Christ and said, “See, now we don’t need You! You can go away, I have my workman back.”
7. Now that it has been explained and shown in the Scriptures why the sabbath of rest was established, let us move onto "Part II - When It Was Established"
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