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: 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.
In Genesis we learn that God created our universe in 6 real, physical, 24 hour days and on the 7th day He rested.
Now He rested, not because He needed too, but because He was done creating. Here He is telling Israel to remember this day, the Sabbath or Shabbat and to keep it holy as it was blessed by the Lord and separated it for Himself.
This raises some questions though. Questions that have been asked and debated by people who are way more spiritual and intelligent than I.
It comes down to two major questions:
1. Are the 10 Commandments as a whole for the Church?
2. When and what exactly is the Sabbath?
We get all kinds of ideas and teachings from groups who feel they have the answers. Groups who will tell you that we are obliged to observe the Sabbath completely by attending Church on Saturday and doing no work on Sunday.
Then we have groups who teach the exact opposite. The Law was nailed to the Cross and made of no effect to those who are “In Christ” and so we are not bound to observe it.
I won’t begin to bore you with information about how Constantine created “The Lords Day” because the Catholic Church wanted a day that was separate from The Jewish Sabbath, or that days and weeks have been added and taken away over the decades.
Here’s what I do know:
1. God rested from His work. Not because He needed too but because He was done and He blessed this rest.
2. This rest was created for man.
Mark 2:23-28 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
3. Jesus Christ is our True Rest
Hebrews 4:1-11 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. 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. 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. 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. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 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. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
The Law, the 10 Words is an example for us. A teacher that we are all sinful and that by our own work we can do nothing. Our striving for goodness is useless without Christ.
We enter into His Rest when we are saved through Jesus Christ. When we are His then we follow His commands:
Love God with all our heart and mind
These two commandments from Jesus incorporate all of the 10 Words.
If you love the Lord you won’t follow after other gods.
If you love others you won’t steal or murder.
As far as a Sabbath Rest is concerned, as Jesus said, it was created for man. We should take at least one day in seven and Rest from our labors.
Not because we are told too but that God knows we would constantly work and eventually burn out.
We should take a set aside day to be with family, to enjoy fellowship with nothing to distract us. A day to acknowledge each other and the blessings we have in and through the Lord.
It’s not a requirement but a replenishing of our hearts, minds, and relationships with family and God.