The Sabbath: Symbol of God's Rulership

Q. Has the world and its inhabitants always existed?

A. No. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is" (Exodus 20:11).

Q. How did the human race originate?

A. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Genesis 1:26). "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7).

Q. If all life on earth had a beginning, what or who has always existed?

A. "From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God" (Psalm 90:2).

"Thy years are throughout all generations. . . . Thy years shall have no end" (Psalm 102:24-27).

Only God has always existed and contains inherent immortality. All other beings have derived their life from the Creator, which forever separates Him from them.

Q. Who was our Creator?

A. "In the beginning was the Word. . . . The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him" (John 1:1-3). The Word was Christ (John 1:14).

"For by him [the Son of God, see verse 13] were all things created" (Colossians 1:16; see also Revelation 4:11; Hebrews 11:3).

Q. Who maintains the operation of the universe?

A. "By him [Christ] all things consist" (Colossians 1:17); "in him all things hold together" (RSV).

"Upholding all things by the word of his [Christ's] power" (Hebrews 1:3).

Q. What is the difference between Creator and created being?

A. The Creator is the Eternal Source of all life. The created being has not always been; he obtains his existence from God.

Q. What did God set up to clearly distinguish between Himself and man, whom He created--between the fact that He creates and we were created?

A. The Sabbath (Genesis 2:2,3). It reminds us that we are finite beings made and sustained by an infinite God. Forcefully keeping us aware of our inherent limitations, the Sabbath clearly points out God's absolute right to rule over us and to receive our allegiance. Since Christ made all mankind, the Sabbath is a Christian institution in the highest possible sense, and we must never consider it Jewish, as some do.

Q. What day is the Sabbath?

A. "The seventh day is the sabbath" (Exodus 20:10). Saturday is the seventh day of the week.

Q. What significance did the Creator--Christ--give the Sabbath?

A. He rested on it, blessed it, and sanctified it (Genesis 2:3).

Q. How does God sanctify, or make holy?

A. By putting Himself personally in it. Speaking of the wilderness tabernacle, God said, "And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory" (Exodus 29:43). God literally came into the sanctuary tent, revealing His presence through the Shekinah. Something becomes holy because of God's presence. For example, the ground near the burning bush was holy only because God was there (Exodus 3:5).

Q. How did God bless and sanctify the Sabbath?

A. He made a special relationship with it that exists with no other day because--Christ our Creator places His personal presence in it. On the Sabbath He seeks to come closer to man, to have a more intimate communication then than during the rest of the week. Man and God rest and converse together.

Q. How is man to observe the Sabbath?

A. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord 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" (Exodus 20:8-10).

"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure [business] on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words . . . " (Isaiah 58:13).

The Sabbath is the day when man should become most receptive to the voice of God speaking to him, most responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Man should avoid anything that will center attention on self, on the creature. Instead he should concentrate his thoughts and activities on his Creator. It is a day of God-man communion.

The Sabbath is a time for doing good, as Christ illustrated in His Sabbath observance (Matthew 12:8-14; Luke 13:10-17; 14:1-6; John 9:1-38).

Q. What kind of day should the Sabbath be?

A. "A delight" (Isaiah 58:13). It should be the most joyful day of the week. As the Sabbath brings us into the presence of God, of our Creator, Christ, we shall begin experiencing on earth a taste of the happiness we shall have with Christ in heaven.

Q. What time does the Sabbath commence each week?

A. "From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath" (Leviticus 23:32; see also Nehemiah 13:15-19). Even means "sundown," or "sunset" (Mark 1:32).

Q. Did Moses establish the Sabbath at Sinai?

A. No. It began at creation (Genesis 2:1-3). Also God began sending a double portion of manna on the day before the Sabbath and none on the Sabbath itself long before He spoke the Ten Commandments on Sinai (Exodus 16:13-30). During their slavery in Egypt the Israelites had become lax in their Sabbath observance, so God used the manna to remind them of it.

Q. Was the Sabbath only for the Jews?

A. It was also for "the sons of the stranger," everyone that wanted to worship the true God (Exodus 20:10; Isaiah 56:1-8). The Sabbath is universal, since God created all men, not just the Jews, and all men need the Sabbath memorial to remind themselves of their relationship to the Creator.

Q. Did Christ observe the Sabbath?

A. Christ, "as his custom was, . . . went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read" (Luke 4:16; see also Mark 1:21; 6:2; Luke 6:6).

Q. Who did Christ say was in charge of the Sabbath?

A. "The Son of man [Jesus Christ] is Lord also of the sabbath" (Mark 2:28).

Q. Why did Christ have authority over the Sabbath?

A. He was the Creator, and the Sabbath is the memorial of His act of creation (John 1:1-3, 14; Hebrews 1:1, 2; Colossians 1:17; Genesis 2:1-3).

Q. Did His followers discard the Sabbath at the time of His death?

A. "And they [the women] returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56).

Q. How did the apostles, the Christian church's first leaders, regard the Sabbath?

A. Paul and his companions "went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down" (Acts 13:14).

"And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. . . . And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God" (Acts 13:42-44). Notice that the Gentiles also met with Paul on the Sabbath.

"And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures" (Acts 17:2).

"And he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks" (Acts 18:4). He taught every Sabbath in Corinth for a year and a half (verse 11).

Q. Why is the Sabbath vital to man?

A. It provides communion between God and man and reminds man of this relationship with God as a finite, created being.

Q. What happens when a created being forgets his nature and position before God?

A. He seeks to become God. (See, for example, Ezekiel 28:11-17 and Isaiah 14:12-14.) In the passage in Ezekiel the prophet alludes to the source of evil through the symbol of the literal king of Tyre who exemplified his spiritual master. All sinful beings struggle to become their own gods. But finite beings are incapable of it, and only produce chaos and misery when they attempt to usurp God's rightful place.

Q. What is one of the final themes of the gospel before Christ returns to earth?

A. "Worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters" (Revelation 14:7).

Q. What is the memorial or sign of God's creative power and authority that Revelation 14:7 proclaims?

A. The Sabbath. Christ's followers before His return to earth will uphold the Sabbath, which each week reminds man that Christ is his Creator, his Sustainer, and his Saviour. The Sabbath is a sign of God's power to sanctify man (Ezekiel 20:12) and of the Lord's position and relationship as our God (verse 20).

Q. Why does Satan want man to ignore or forget about the Sabbath?

A. As long as man remembers his Creator, Satan cannot have his allegiance. The Sabbath constantly points out God's authority over us by right of His creating, redeeming, and sustaining us.

Q. What has become an attempted substitute for the Sabbath?

A. Sunday, the first day of the week.

Q. What does Scripture say about the first day of the week?

A. The New Testament mentions the first day--modern Sunday--eight times. Six of them (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1, 2; 16:9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1; 20:19) refer to the day of Christ's resurrection. Acts 20:7 mentions a meeting held on that day. In 1 Corinthians 16:2 Paul gives instructions about setting aside funds on Sunday for a special relief offering. None of the passages announce or discuss any transfer of worship from one day to another. Scripture never talks about any change of the Sabbath.

Q. Has the church authority to substitute its own worship day?

A. No. To attempt to do so is to usurp God's right to establish divine memorials, to try to be God by exercising an authority limited only to Him. When man seeks to change anything God has set up, he is following the satanic desire to become God.

Q. What will be the fundamental issue between God's people and the wicked just before Christ returns?

A. Who alone is God, the Creator, thus rightly receiving man's allegiance and worship (Revelation 14:7). The Sabbath is the universal symbol of God's position as our Creator and of His right to our worship and loyalty.

Q. What will be Satan's last attempt to force people to disregard God's memorial of His creatorship and authority over man?

A. "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save the that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Revelation 13:16, 17). Through economic, social, and political pressure, the wicked will strive to destroy the last trace of man's loyalty to God.

Q. What will become of those who have remained loyal to Christ, their Creator?

A. "And I [John] saw . . . them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God" (Revelation 15:2). Christ's faithful followers, who have remained true to the Sabbath as the symbol of God's rulership over His creation, praise and worship Him who has saved them (verses 3, 4). God has been restored to His rightful place as Sovereign everywhere in the universe.


The Sabbath Rest Principle
The Three Sabbaths
The Sabbath and a New You

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