Part III - Who It Was Given To
1.a. The sons of Jacob became a nation when they were taken out of Egypt. Deuteronomy 4:34 KJV, "Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that [Yahowah] your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?" After God had led the nation of Israel out of Egypt and into the Desert of Sin, the sabbath - for the first time - made its splash on the pages of Scripture. Exodus 16:22-23 KJV 22, "22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23 And he said unto them, This is that which [Yahowah] hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto [Yahowah]: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning." It is important to know that no one, including the Hebrews, had been given the sabbath prior to this time. This is shown in Nehemiah 9:14 KJV, "And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant." See also Ezekiel 20:12 (Part II). God is being praised here for making known His holy sabbath to the Hebrews. In other words, His holy sabbath was not known prior to this time, the time of Moses. If you read Parts I and II of this Sabbath Keeping treatise you will find more Scriptures that verify this teaching.
1.b. The weekly sabbath was given to the Hebrews as part of the Torah and it was not given to anyone else. Even the New Testament testifies to this. Romans 2:14 and Romans 3:2 are two more examples of this.
Romans 2:14 KJV, “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:”.
Romans 3:2 KJV, “Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”
2. The sabbath was not given to mankind, but to Israel only. And in Exodus 16, the sabbath was not given to Israel as part of their Law (the Torah), i.e., the Jewish legal system. The Law was yet to come at Mount Sinai. The sabbath was given to them as a rest and as a holy day unto Yahowah. No penalty was assessed to those who broke this sabbath, penalties were to come later, with the Law. No time limit was imposed in the Desert of Sin regarding the sabbath. God said He was testing their obedience. Exodus 16:4-5,27 KJV, "4 Then said [Yahowah] unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. 5 And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily. 27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none." When God said, "that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no," this does not mean that the Law had now come. To properly understand this phrase, it needs to be understood as "I will test them now to see, when my law comes, whether they will obey it or not." God was preparing His people for the introduction of the Torah. From Adam until Moses, God had introduced various laws that He expected men to obey. But it was not until Mount Sinai in Exodus 20 that God gave the Torah, and He gave it to His chosen people, the Hebrews, the descendants of Jacob and Jacob's twelve sons.
3. With the introduction of the Torah came the requirement to keep the sabbath as part of a closed legal system. Exodus 20:8-11 KJV, "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 [Yahowah] 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 [Yahowah] made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore [Yahowah] blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." Just because God has used the seven days of creation as a pattern for giving the sabbath day of rest to the Hebrews does not make creation week a perfect week (a week that begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday) and it does not make the seventh day of creation a sabbath. When verse eleven says that Yahowah blessed the sabbath day, this Scripture is referring only to the seventh day of a perfect week that He has just given to the Hebrews. And He is using the seven days of creation only as a pattern of six days of work followed by one day of rest. He is not establishing, after the fact (three millennium later), that creation week had a sabbath at the end of it. There are some who are desperate to place God in a box. Their imaginations never rest inventing interpretations to Scriptures to ensure that at the end of the discussion that a sabbath has been established during creation week, even though the Scriptures do not teach it. 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.
4. What is the Torah, or the Law (meaning the Law of Moses)? Deuteronomy 31:24-26 KJV, "24 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, 25 That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of [Yahowah] saying 26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of [Yahowah] your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee." The Law (the Ten Commandments plus more) which was given at Mount Sinai, was first written in Scripture in Exodus 20:1 and continued to be written well into Exodus 23 and beyond. The Law is confirmed in Exodus 24:3 with oaths from the Hebrews; with the preparation of altars in Exodus 24:4; with offerings by the people in Exodus 24:5; with the sanctification of the people in Exodus 24:8; and God giving a written copy in stone of those laws (the Torah) in Exodus 24:12. Exodus 20:1 KJV, "And God spoke all these words, saying,” Exodus 24:3 KJV, "And Moses came and told the people all the words of [Yahowah], and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which [Yahowah] hath said will we do." Exodus 24:4 KJV, "And Moses wrote all the words of [Yahowah], and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel." Exodus 24:5 KJV, "And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto [Yahowah]." Exodus 24:8 KJV, "And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which [Yahowah] hath made with you concerning all these words." Exodus 24:12 KJV, "And [Yahowah] said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them."
5. We can now see that Yahowah's seventh day of a perfect week sabbath had a place in history (for only three weeks) with only the Israelites before the Torah (or Law) and it has had a separate history within the Torah and the Israelite nation that the Torah was given to. So, when the Torah is taken away, we can more clearly see how this affects the keeping of the sabbath. Since the Torah was given to the Israelites, when the Torah is taken away, it can only be taken from the Israelites, because no one else had it. Since the Torah was the only legal system that required the keeping of the sabbath, then sabbath keeping outside of the Torah is not required by God. But one might say, wait a minute, the keeping of the sabbath was required before the Torah in the Desert of Sin as spoken of in Exodus 16:23. That is true. But it seems clear to me that Yahowah, in His graciousness and wisdom gave the sabbath to the Israelites just prior to the Torah, because He was breaking them in slowly and methodically to their new requirements that were yet to come. Many times when driving on the road, prior to a stop sign or a change in speed limit, a warning sign appears: "Stop Ahead" or "Reduce Speed Ahead". The Desert of Sin story in Exodus 16 is a warning sign from our God: "Change In Rules Ahead" or "Heads Up, Something New Is Happening". After all, He did not establish penalties for sabbath breaking in the Desert of Sin. Those penalties came with the Torah.
6. We welcome constructive input supported by Scriptures from the Bible. Please contact us by using the contact icon. Copyright © 2010 Richard Douglas Mauck and/or Sandra Faye Mauck. All rights reserved. This material is copyrighted to protect the integrity of this work. Permission is hereby granted to copy this treatise in its entirety as long as no editing is done, no charge is made to those with whom it is shared, and full credit is given to the authors.