We are going to discuss the matter of the Sabbath.
This is a topic that has become of great interest among the children of God.
I will discuss the subject step by step and at the same time refer to a number of scriptures.
1. The word “sabbath”, what does it mean?
The word sabbath means rest and neither the seventh day of the week and nor Saturday. Many people will immediately get confused with this. We have become so used to the word Sabbath and in many instances it is attached to Saturday and particularly to the seventh day of the week. I want you to understand clearly that I do not say, (and we will get to it) that the sabbath is not to be held on the seventh day, but strictly in the first instance that the word sabbath means rest.
2. This was God’s day of rest after six days of labour.
1 THUS the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
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.
God’s day of rest after six days of labour.
This is where the word sabbath originated from “after God had rested”. God rested on the seventh day after six days in which He worked (laboured) on the creation. I want you to understand clearly, that thus far, there is yet no mention of the seventh day of the week!
This is one of my points on which I firmly stand, that the day of rest, God’s day of rest, is the heart of the law of God concerning the sabbath - a day of rest after six days of work. I view this as a fundamental point, that the sabbath is not attached to Saturday or the seventh day of the week or any other day of the week! This is a day of rest after six days of work!
3. God never shared his sabbath with anybody until 2,500 years later with Israel. For 2500 years nobody commemorated the sabbath. God did not share his holy day of rest (sabbath) with anybody until He gave his law to Israel at mount Sinai.
Therefore I want to read to you from the following scripture:Nehemiah 9:13-14; it is of the utmost importance that you should carefully look at above mentioned scripture because here we find subtle fouling points and error. I do not suggest that those who today teach that the sabbath is on Saturday purposely mislead people but I maintain that there is great error in this. One must look carefully because if the starting point is wrong it will be coupled to the seventh day of the week and to Saturday. Such an approach is incorrect. The sabbath as it originally existed is not coupled to the seventh day of the week but is a day of rest after six days of work. Can you see? This is a very important point and secondly, it was not originally coupled to Saturday. The word and name “Saturday” did not even exist at the time.
Israel’s First Sabbath:
Read Nehemiah 9:13-14;
13 Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments:
14 And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, and statuses, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant.
So, God made his holy sabbath known to Israel on mount Sinai and this was the first time and first nation to whom He made it known. In other words, nowhere in the Bible is it written that Adam, Noah, Abraham or any of those men of God commemorated the sabbath. Simply because God never shared it with anyone until after 2500 years later at mount Sinai with his chosen people namely Israel and at the same time God confirmed the sabbath as a sign between Him and Israel. It is very important to notice that this happened 2500 years after the creation.
13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
(You see, a sign between God and Israel. God first constituted Israel as his people at mount Sinai although he called Abraham long before).
14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath to observe the sabbath, throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
After six days of labour, the seventh day, the day after six days of labour is all that is written. Nowhere is there any mention of ‘on the seventh day of the week’. I urge you to think earnestly about this matter.
One is so orientated, prejudiced towards the tradition concerning the “seventh day of the week”.
Firstly: That the law is a rule from God and after six days of labour, man must rest; this is the heart of the law – ‘the seventh day rest’.
Secondly: God instituted the seventh day commandment as a sign between Him and Israel.
Thirdly: That was God’s holy day, which He now came to share with his nation; the only nation with whom He ever shared it. His holy day on which He rested.
Let us read:
23 And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: 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.
24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
(Note that “there shall benone” the day after the six days of work).
27 “- - - - - that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
(“On the seventh day” - nowhere is there any mention about the seventh day of the week, it is the seventh day after six days of work).
28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws.
29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
Fourthly: Israel committed sin.
We shall now see that Israel did not keep this covenant. Israel violated it.
Israel sinned and desecrated Gods’ sabbath through their disobedience and idolatry and because they did this, God took away his sabbath from them! Now I want you to observe the following very carefully because it is very important.
Let us read: (This is where God gave Israel his law)
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 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:
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Why did God bless and hallow the sabbath? Because God made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them in six days and rested on the seventh day. This is why God, when He made a covenant with Israel commanded them to do the same. In other words, to share his sabbath with Him. But Israel was disobedient. They sinned against God from the beginning.
Israel’s Second Sabbath:
Now we read
This is where God gave his law to Israel for the second time.
We shall see why God gave it to Israel for a second time.
The law, the ten commandments are repeated for a second time to Israel, first in Exodus 20 and then in Deuteronomy 5, the sabbath as well, as part of the ten commandments. It is very important to note that all the commandments in Exodus and Deuteronomy are exactly the same, but not the command of the sabbath. In Ex. 20 it is different to Deut. 5. This is of the utmost importance, because now God does not allow Israel to share his sabbath with Him anymore.
Incidentally, Deuteronomy means - Second Law.
Deuteros – Second.
Nomos - Law.
Why did God give the law to Israel for a second time?
Because Israel did not obey the law, especially the law on the sabbath.
Let us now read Deuteronomy 5:12-15, this is where we find the commandment on the sabbath.
12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
14 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, 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 the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
Did you notice? In Exodus 20, God said He commanded Israel to keep the sabbath because He made heaven and earth the sea and all that is in them and rested on the seventh day.
But in Deuteronomy 5, He said: I command you to keep the sabbath because you were brought out of Egypt. In other words, Israel forfeited the privilege to share in God’s sabbath! She demonstrated her unworthiness to share God’s sabbath with Him as a memorial day of creation.
However, the principle is: one day of rest in seven days.
Because God made man and all creation that way.
Seven runs right through the entire creation of God;
Seven runs right through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation;
Seven runs through the whole composition of man, of light and of music;
In everything this seven is fundamental!
Because, as we will see later on, the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath, the principle remains the same. God still wants man to rest ONE day in seven. But the motive therefore, which was holy, Israel forfeited. Now, Israel can no longer say: that when I rest on the seventh, day I do it in honour of the LORD who created heaven and earth in six days. No, from thence when Israel rested on the seventh day they would say: because God’s law says: ONE day of rest in seven, but their motive would be to commemorate their deliverance out of Egypt and not the creation anymore.
Let us look at:
8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, it is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
‘They shall not enter into my rest’.
Take the Hebrew word for “rest” which says: “They shall not enter into my sabbath”. God tookit away from them!
Let us continue and read:
9 For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you.
“The rest”, because sabbath means rest
Let us also read:
4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, - - -
(Remember the seventh day, not the seventh day of the week! Nor Saturday, just the seventh day!)
- - - - - And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
(We saw why; because of their 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 Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterwards have spoken of another day.
9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
“There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God”.
I want to take a few steps forward; try to see this in the spirit, it is wonderful!
God made heaven and earth in six days.
Then God looked at his creation and God saw that it was very good!
Then God rested on the seventh day.
Now, came the Son of God, Jesus Christ and on the cross of Golgotha He said: It is finished!
He completed our deliverance; so that those who believe in Him enter into their rest from all their works because no-one can be saved through his own works. Even as God completed his works, so did Christ who fulfilled the law on our behalf, completed his works on the cross of Golgotha. So that when I believe in the Lord Jesus, then Jesus becomes to me the fulfilment of the law, also the fulfilment of the sabbath. And then I enter His REST. I enter into Christ’s rest; it is the rest which Christ has worked out for us, when He said “it is finished”. Also the sabbath rest, this is what Hebrews is referring to.
Let us read further:
22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
As I see it (this refers to the millennium because it says: ’The new heavens and the new earth which I make”). By this time, the new covenant is established with Israel and Judah according to Jer. 31:31-43.
I believe here that when Jesus Christ has returned to reign on earth, God will share his sabbath with his people, which they had forfeited. God’s sabbath, whichever sabbath it might be, God will say, now you may celebrate My sabbath with me again, with the same motive that I celebrated it. No more the deliverance out of Egypt, you will not even think upon it anymore, you will no more think upon the following motive which I am going to show you now. You will share with me as I made it from the beginning. Everything will be restored again. The new heavens and the new earth, I will make.
Let us read:
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
Only with the second coming of Jesus and when his kingdom is established on earth, will all things be restored and not before that! Anything we try to restore in our own power is premature and not according to the will and plan of God. Because the plan of God is not completed yet! “The restoration of those things which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began”. God will also restore all the other sabbaths.
You see, I do not want to go into much detail now, but the emphasis is laid so much upon the seventh day of the week or Saturday, but there are various other sabbaths in the Bible which I want to show you.
Because of limited time I will not elaborate on these sabbaths further but these sabbaths were also signs between God and Israel. They are sabbaths which cannot be restored under this present Babylonian System, thereforethis system must be destroyed. This is what will take place in the period leading towards the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When God can again restore His perfect order of things such as the sabbaths of land-ownership, of debt, of acquittal and of the jubilee. .
Let us examine:
1 AND the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.
(This now is not that seventh day, this is the keeping of a sabbath unto the LORD. We will see what it is, shortly).
3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
(Did you notice? – sabbath – rest, this is not a ‘day’ but a ‘year’. Because God created nature in this way, and our Agriculturists have experimented with this principle, they found that for the best results to let the soil lay for “one year in seven years”. We must not allow ourselves to be limited or tied to a day and then use this day for our salvation. Now, let us consider the heart of the matter and the principle - that is after 6 years.)
5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
(This is also a sabbath, but only a year!)
6 And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee,
(This is a sabbath and the duration is for a whole year.
Let us examine:
1 AND Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them and keep, and do them.
2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.
3 The LORD made not his covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.
(Note – not with our fathers, but with us).
4 The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire.
5 (I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying,
(The covenant God made with this nation)
Let us examine:
10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: - - - - - - -”.
If you continue further here, you will notice that it is after seven week-years of seven each, in other words, forty nine years, (7X7) and in the fiftieth year, which is Pentecost, the same as the fifty from which Pentecost is derived.
In the fiftieth year everyone must go back to his own land. If someone has lost his land for whatever reason, and he is still alive or his heir after him, he can then go back to his land and the person who owns that land at that stage, has to give it back to the heir. So that there would not be any poor among the people and neither would they lose their inheritance! And therefore, this is also a sabbath. This is the year of Jubilee.
God would also make an end to Israel’s second sabbath. Remember, this second sabbath where the motive now was to commemorate “their deliverance out of Egypt”, every time they keep the sabbath now, they think upon the fact that they were slaves in Egypt and were delivered. The Lord said, this is your motive when you keep the sabbath. But because of their sin and disobedience, the LORD would even make an end to all Israel’s Sabbaths!
Let us read:
11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, and new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.
12 And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.
Now God makes an end to her sabbaths, her feast days, her new moons, to all her appointed feasts! Nowhere in the Scripture does it say that God had re-instated all these at this stage yet. In spite of this, there are those who teach that we as Israel today are obliged to keep all of these sabbaths, feasts etc. and bring ourselves under a yoke again. The LORD made an end to it because of Israel’s disobedience. Let us not go above God and ahead of Him in the restoration thereof.
Let us allow God to re-instate this for us in the millennium when the restoration of all things spoken of by mouth of all his holy prophets, will take place .
Israel’s Third Sabbath:
You will remember how our Lord Jesus yielded his Spirit on Golgotha and the veil torn from top to bottom. Not from bottom to top, from top to bottom.
This was the sign that God had now made an end to the old covenant. Now all sacrifices would end. All those things which, when you examine them closely everything pointed to the Lord Jesus. Christ also became the fulfilment of the law on our behalf. The torn veil, was the sign that it had come to an end. And now the third sabbath starts on the day of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
I would like you to remember clearly, I commenced with, and accentuate it again that sabbath means REST. And the sabbath day means a rest day after six days of labour. Because that sabbath was made for the welfare of mankind, but that God gave it for the first time as a privilege to share it with Him who also rested then.
However, when Israel became unworthy of it, God took away the symbolism from them and said; you still have to keep the one day in seven because this is an eternal principle of my law and therefore cannot be done away with! But now you must think about your slavery in Egypt. God also ended this motive but did not remove the principle of “one day rest in seven”. But now God gave us another motive; the motive that the Christian is to rest one day in seven, to commemorate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This is now our Christians’ Sabbath.
If one now goes back to Saturday, as it eventually became established during the ages, for Israel and also later on with Judah in the Babylonian Captivity; then one takes a step backwards - that is, if one goes back to Saturday. That would be turning one’s back on the resurrection of our Lord Jesus and also that I refuse to share that sabbath with Him, or to celebrate his resurrection. This is a serious matter and certainly needs much thought.
I will now read to you from the four Gospels from the “Young’s Literal Translation”.
Matthew 28:1; (KJV)
1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week - - - - - -
St. Matthew 28:1; (Young’s Literal Translation):-
1 And on the eve of the Sabbaths (plural) at dawn, toward the first of the sabbaths (not the first day of the week) ……….
I have two interlinear Bibles which give the Greek language at the top and the English language underneath. That is Baxter’s and also Wilson’s “Emphatic Dialogues”. I had a look at both and here where it says: “late after the sabbath” – sabbaton and also where it is translated: - “the first day of the week” – written in Greek as “sabbath” and not first day of the week!
Mark 16:2; (KJV)
2 Very early in the morning, the first day of the week they came unto the sepulchre.
Mark 16:2; (Young’s Literal Translation)
2 And on the first of the sabbaths they came to the tomb.
Not the first day of the week as translated here (KJV) but “on the first of the sabbath’s came they to the tomb”
56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; And they rested on the sabbath day according to the commandment.
This is completely correct, the sabbath was the day of rest! So, they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment.
1 NOW upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
Therefore according to the custom, they did not go to the tomb, before the sabbath was over.
According to Young’s:-
Luke 23:56; 24:1;
“On the Sabbath indeed they rested according to the commandment. And on the first of the sabbaths, at early dawn ------ ”
1 THE first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was still dark, unto the sepulchre and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
This is how it is translated and all the English versions confirm it.
Young’s translated it literally and said:-
And on the first of the sabbaths, Mary the Magdalene, doth come early (there being yet darkness) to the tomb.
Again, on the first of the sabbaths.
Note! It was thus the end of the sabbaths, the previous sabbaths! This was now the beginning of the new sabbath. However, the principle is still the same – one day in seven! But now it falls on the day of the Resurrection. The day of the Resurrection which is called “The First day of the week” is also called sabbath according to the original Greek. We cannot get past this, this is how it is written in the Word of God!
All four the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are in agreement with this. It was the end of the second sabbath and the beginning of the third, but the principle stays the same. I hope by now you have a better understanding on this. One day in seven, this is a law.
We have to comply with this, not for our Salvation now but for our welfare and because God instituted it for our prosperity!
An outstanding commentator puts it like this:-
“The first sabbath commemorated the first creation”
“The second sabbath, a finished deliverance out of Egypt.”
“The third sabbath, a finished redemption!”
Isn’t this wonderful? Yes indeed!!
The 1st Sabbath a finished creation.
The 2nd Sabbath a finished deliverance from bondage in Egypt.
The 3rd Sabbath a finished redemption on the cross.
Proof of this interpretation will be found in the Acts of the Apostles after the Resurrection. This is logical. We only have to look how the apostles behaved. Nowhere in the New Testament do we find any commandment to keep the Jewish Sabbath, but in reality the contrary is commanded!
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon or of the sabbath days:
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.
Now we shall see that “The day of the Lord” is also called the first day of the sabbaths on which the apostles gathered.
The Acts 20:7;
7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
(On the first day of the week they gathered to break bread.)
1 Corinthians 16:2;
2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him that there be no gatherings when I come.
Incidentally, if you refer back to the original Greek text it states: “On every first of the Sabbaths let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
“Upon the first day of the week” because that was the day upon which they came together.
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet.
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day’’ – and for every true believer, although we should constantly be in the Spirit, but especially if we understand the meaning of the sabbath. That when I now rest from my labour, and that I simultaneously while resting, must guard my motive eg.:-that I especially thank the LORD on that day, for Jesus who rose from the dead and conquered death for me.
On the first day of the week, or the first of the sabbaths, Jesus appeared to his disciples “on the first day of the week”.
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, - - -
(Again the original Greek text reads “first of the sabbaths”).
- - - - when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
(Why did Jesus appear unto them on that day? When you read, it was on that day, why? Because it had the significance of being the day of the Resurrection).
20 And when He had so said, He shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
21 Then Jesus said to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22 And when He had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
Now carefully note!
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my fingers into the print of the nails and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 And after eight days - - - -
(Again it was on the first day of the week! And eight days thereafter! Why not on any other day? Eight days thereafter, why not seven days thereafter? This would have been on a Saturday! No, eight days thereafter! Eight days thereafter, his disciples were again inside and Thomas with them),
- - - - again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Do you see on which days Jesus appeared to his disciples? Nowhere in Scripture does it say that He appeared unto them on the Jewish Sabbath. If it was important, it would have been written in Scripture. Don’t you agree on that? Nowhere in Scripture will you find that Jesus appeared to his disciples on the Jewish Sabbath, or shall we say a Saturday. Jesus opened the Scriptures to his disciples on the first day of the week!
Read Luke 24:13-47; (the two on their way to Emmaus).
13 And, behold, two of them went that same day - - - -
(As you can see here they are speaking of that same day, which was the first day, the day of the resurrection, the first day of the week).
- - - to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs
(We know that Jesus joined up with them on their walk, so lets continue with verses 25-27, 45).
25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory.
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
(On the first day of the week then, Jesus opened the scriptures to his disciples)
45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.
The gospel is called “The gospel of the Resurrection”.
You have to agree with me that the resurrection is the heart (centre) of the Christian Gospel.
Because Paul says: “If Christ be not risen, we are all of men most miserable”.
This is why the resurrection is of such great importance:
Even as the 1st Sabbath, commemorates the Creation;
and the 2nd Sabbath, the deliverance from Egypt;
and the 3rd Sabbath, the resurrection;
Thus is our Christian Sabbath which is still one out of seven, the commemoration of the resurrection. This is clearly noticeable from the day that Jesus has risen from the dead.
Let us read: Acts 1:22;
22 Beginning from the baptism of John, - - - -
(This now is someone whom they had selected to be a witness).
- - - - unto the same day that He was taken up from us, there must one be ordained to be witness with us of his resurrection.
The gospel is the Gospel of the Resurrection.
Let us read: Acts 4:33;
33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
The gospel is the Gospel of the Resurrection!
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit took place on the first day of the week.
The day of Pentecost was on the first day of the week.
The 50th day was Pentecost – it was on the first day of the week.
The Lord’s Supper took place on the first day of the week.
Read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, where Paul wrote how they should celebrate the Lord’s Supper.
The disciples also gathered on the first day of the week in 1 Corinthians 16:2, and that John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.
Again this confirms the importance of the resurrection.
Christ is now our Sabbath-Rest!
He fulfilled the law on my behalf - (Ref. Hebrews 4:1-13). We have already covered most of this.
Now follow carefully; Even as God completed a perfect creation, so Christ also completed a perfect work of salvation for us and now we celebrate his resurrection to remind us of a perfect rest! That Christ has done the work for us.
The principal of one day of Rest in seven is fulfilled completely. We see this principle of the “first day of the week” in: Leviticus 23:9-11, 15-17.
9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:
(The sheaf of the firstfruits to the priest)
11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
(The wave offering).
This is the “wave offering”; The first sheaf, the joy thereof.
Just think, the first time Israel would take a harvest in their own land.
But the LORD says, that sheaf is Mine, you must wave it before Me.
Now you will see the glorious meaning there-of.
15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave-offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; - - - -
(This is the same as from the resurrection till the day of Pentecost).
- - - - - and ye shall offer a new meat-offering unto the LORD.
17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.
Fifty days after the first wave offering. Not sheafs, but bread of fine flour, finely grinded. This points to Jesus who was bruised for us on the cross - (Isaiah 53:5.)
Let me show you in:
1 Corinthians 15:20; ( there you see that Jesus is called the firstfruits. The firstfruits from the dead!)
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
Do you see, “the firstfruits”, the resurrection, how it is connected, see also in Leviticus. This important position of the resurrection in the redemption plan of God.
Read this carefully:
The Law commands that we must rest on the sabbath and not that we must gather for worship on the sabbath. This is another point that is missed because it became so traditional to us. Not that there is anything wrong in doing so! For this is a wonderful opportunity to get to together to serve and worship the LORD! But this was not the purpose of the sabbath in the beginning. The purpose of the Sabbath from the beginning was a complete day of rest, that they should refrain themselves from everything and rest completely.
Nowhere in the Old Covenant will you find that the sabbath day was a day of worshipping together.
It was a day of rest, this is what sabbath means.
Sabbath means rest!
Sabbath does not mean the seventh day of the week!
Sabbath does not mean Saturday!
Sabbath does not mean Sunday!
Sabbath means rest!
But the Law is --- One day of rest!
One Sabbath Day ------ One day of rest in seven!
Paul therefore did not keep the Law when he visited the Synagogue, he merely made use of the opportunity to preach because people were gathered together. This is how things had already become by then, to gather together on the sabbath and therefore it was a good opportunity to address them.
There are numerous scriptures to show that Paul went to the synagogues on a sabbath, the Jewish Sabbath, to preach because people assembled there and he made use of this opportunity. This does in no way imply that he approved of this particular sabbath!
As somebody once said, when an Evangelist goes to a prison to preach the gospel, it does not mean that he approves of the prisoner’s deeds. No, the opportunity to preach is there because they are prisoners.
Let us compare Romans 6:14 with Acts 15:1, 24.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace”.
Acts 15:1, 24;
(Read the complete Acts 15; I will summarise it for you further on).
1 AND certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
They disturbed the people by saying this to them and it is contradictory to the gospel. One must understand this point clearly; in all my teachings I have taught that God did not abolish the law that is the principle of the law - “one day of rest in seven”.
However if I keep the Law with the motive of adding to my own salvation, I err because it is only the Blood of Jesus that “cleanseth” me.
This is exactly the problem which the apostles experienced every time they preached the gospel to the people which also included the “first day of the week”. These Pharisees came along and tried to put them back under the Jewish law by teaching that they must be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses. This of course troubled and upset the people.
Here in Acts 15, if you read of the gentiles coming to repentance, you know by now that they are those ten tribes of Israel to whom the Apostles went on the Lord Jesus’ command when He said: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”.
This issue became so fierce, that it was referred to the “council of apostles” in Jerusalem. There, a meeting was held under the chairmanship of James.
Let us read:
10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
You see, they wanted to put the yoke of the law upon the disciples’ necks again, which neither their fathers nor they themselves were able to bear. But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they. So shall we be saved! Then the entire multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul speaking of all the miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles and so they continued and when they concluded the meeting they made a decision.
25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, - - - - -
(Note; the Holy Ghost, and to us)
- - - - to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
Nothing about the sabbath or anything else!
Remember, we serve God in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
Let us read:
Romans 7:6; (This is a very important aspect. Read the whole chapter.)
6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
We have died to the law, this law that says: do this and do that and then you will live. No, we now live through Christ but still abide by the spirit of the law because God made the law to set us free!
There is no more ceremony here and a ceremony there, this is of the utmost importance!
Let us read:
1 KNOW ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) - - - - -
See, he’s talking about the law.)
- - - - how that the law hath dominion over man as long as he liveth?
2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
We are now dead to the law but alive to Christ. It is no longer the law that has dominion over me because I now belong to Christ but shall keep the principle of the law even more than before. Not to be saved by it, neither to be bound by it but because I now belong to Christ. This is no longer a matter of being tied down to a specific “day”!
Please read Romans 8.
Let us read:
These are the same people, the lost sheep of the house of Israel to whom the apostles went, and it was of overwhelming concern that exactly the same issue was confronting them again.
Listen dear reader, this is not something new! This happened in the days of Paul and the other apostles and from time to time throughout the ages it came to the fore. You will find this in the history of the church again and again, and we find this yet again now.
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
“The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ”.
But now that Christ has come we are no longer under a guardian – the law. We are now saved by Christ! Observance of days etc. is rejected outright by the Apostle Paul.
Read: Galatians 4:4-5, 10-11;
4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
10 Ye observe days, and months, and times and years.
11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
You see, Paul had the same problem, you observe days, you might as well write down Saturday, today, for you observe Saturdays, you want to bind us to Saturday and months and seasons and years but “I am afraid of you lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain”. Exactly the same thing happened there.
Let us read:
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Those things were a shadow of things to come.
Let us read:
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
This concerns the observance of days etc.
Let us read:
1 STAND fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
(When you read this epistle within its context you will find it is the yoke of bondage to the law for which these Pharisees were after Paul and his friends).
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Read Galatians 5:13-14;
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
This is the complete fulfilment of the law.
Thus, Paul also had this strife with the Pharisees.
And this, my brothers and sisters is the same thing that is popping up again. These are serious people, just as those must also have been.
We are now free from the bondage of the law as we saw in Romans 7:3-4.
The Law of the LORD is perfect; it ensures harmony in our earthly existence. Compare Psalm 19:7, where the Psalmist says the law of the LORD is perfect. But this law can never save me! The law could not save a single Israelite that is why God made the New Covenant.
The New Covenant is repeated in:
Hebrews 8:8-13, (Jeremiah 31:31-34.)
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Israel was incapable of keeping the law of the LORD. Christ had to come and fulfil the law for them. The promise of the Lord is that the day will come; not only for individuals but for all Israel that God will write his laws on their hearts.
A Law that was made for mankind, to bring man into harmony with God and his fellow men.
Let us read:
Deuteronomy 30:6; (Where God promises that He will circumcise Israel’s heart).
6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul that thou mayest live.
Let us read:
(This is where God said that He will remove our hearts of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh.)
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Love is the fulfilment of the law.
Let us read:
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
This is the characteristic of discipleship!
Let us read:
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.
Nine of the Ten Commandments are mentioned in the New Testament, but not that of the sabbath.
Read again the following Scriptures:
8 Owe no man any thing, but lo love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
1 CHILDREN, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
2 Ye lust, and have not; ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain; ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
1 John 5:21;
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
In all of the above mentioned Scriptures in the New Testament and in particular in the Epistles you will find they mentioned nine, but the sabbath is not mentioned. If it was so important, it would have been mentioned with the others, not so?
I sincerely hope that so far you were able to follow the tendency. I believe that the sabbath is very important because it is a day of rest for us, and that is the meaning as well.
The Sabbath is made for man.
(This is where Jesus was so often in conflict with the Pharisees.)
27 And He said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Because Sabbath means rest, it is made for man to rest and at the same time to have the opportunity to worship God!
The Pharisees sought to kill Jesus because He did not keep the sabbath according to their laws! He worked on their sabbath! Now that was prohibited. Jesus came to fulfil the law! This is our guarantee and yet He worked on the sabbath! This is of the utmost importance!
18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
I want you to look carefully: the Jews did not say that Jesus broke the sabbath. The Bible says that Jesus broke the sabbath and yet He fulfilled the law for us! He taught and healed on the sabbath.
21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.
Constantine validated the Christian – Sabbath by legislation in 321 AD after the Christians had kept it on Sundays for almost 300 years already as we see it clearly in the Bible. Now it is said that Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church changed the sabbath to Sunday. This is not true! People who say this, are either ignorant or they say it to mislead.
There is no other explanation for this because this is simply not true. I will now give you a few quotations out of the “Anti-Nicene fathers”. These are publications from the early church – fathers up to 325 AD, before the alleged changes from Saturday to Sunday by Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church. It is the Sabbath people who say that Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church made this change. All of these fathers of whom you are about to read lived and wrote these publications long before Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church!
I read from “Dakes Annotated Bible”:
We next quote from the 10 Volumes called the Anti-Nicene Fathers. The writings of the early church fathers down to 325 AD and before Constantine and the Catholic Church are supposed to have changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.
a) Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, who lived at the time of the Apostles namely from 17 AD to 30 AD (This is the time when the New Testament was written), he, like Polycarp was a disciple of St. John, one who should know Christian practice among the early Christians and of the sabbath.
After the observance of the sabbath that the Jews kept, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s day, as a festival, the resurrection day, the queen and chief of all days of the week on which our lives sprang up again and victory over death was obtained in Christ. It is absurd to speak of Jesus Christ with the tongue and to cherish in the mind a Judaism which has come to an end. If any man preach the Jewish law unto you, listen not to him. For it is better to hearken to Christian doctrine from a man who is circumcised, than to Judaism from one not circumcised. (Vol. 1 pages 63-82.)
b) In the Epistle of Bárnabas, ascribed to Paul’s companion by Clement, Origen and others, we read:
He said to them, Your new moons and your sabbaths, I cannot endure (Isaiah 1:13) You perceive how he speaks: Your present sabbaths are not acceptable to me. I will make a beginning of the 8th day that is a beginning of another world.
Wherefore, also we keep the 8th day with joyfulness, the day on which Jesus rose again from the dead. (Vol. 1 page 147.)
c) Justin Martyr, a Gentile born near Jacob’s well, about 110 AD writes:
On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country, gather together in one place, and the memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the Prophets are read. But Sunday is the day on which we hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead.
(Vol.1 page 186.)
d) In his dialogue with Trypho, a Jew, Justin Martyr says:
Is there any other matter, my friends, in which we are blamed, than this, that we live not according to the law, and are not circumcised in the flesh as your forefathers were, and do not observe the sabbaths as you do? Christians would observe the law, if they did not know why it was instituted. For we too would observe the fleshly circumcision, and the sabbaths and in short all feasts, if we did not know for what reason they were initiated. How is it Trypho, that we would not observe those rites which do not harm us. I speak of fleshly circumcision, and sabbaths, and feasts?
The Gentiles, who have believed in Him, and who have repented of their sins shall receive the inheritance along with the patriarchs even although they neither keep the sabbaths nor are circumcised, nor observe the feasts. Christ is useless to those who observe the law. The sabbath and sacrifices and offerings and feasts have come to an end in Him who was born of a virgin. But if some through weak-mindedness wish to observe such institutions as were given to Moses, along with their hope in Christ, they shall probably be saved. (Vol. 1, pages 199-218).