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Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 24
Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 24
The Plain Truth About

What is God's PURPOSE for His weekly Sabbath? Why do so few understand that keeping the Sabbath brings special BLESSINGS? Let's learn HOW and WHY New Testament Christians are to keep God's Sabbath day holy.

DOES it really matter on which day of the week we worship God? Is the observance of any day of the week in honor of the Creator equally acceptable?

God commands us to “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” (Ex. 20:8-10).

But why should we observe God's holy Sabbath day? What purpose does the seventh-day Sabbath serve in the 20th century space age? And how does one keep it holy?

Created by Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the member of the God Family through whom God created all things (Eph. 3:9; Heb. 1:1-2). But did you know that Christ, the Word (John 1:1-3, 14), also “made” the Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28) and later kept it as a human?

After finishing His work of renewing the face of the earth and creating all physical life upon it in six days, the Word “rested” on the seventh day (Gen. 2:2-3; Ex. 20:11). By resting on the seventh day, He “sanctified” it, setting it apart for a special purpose.

The word “Sabbath” means rest in Hebrew. God intended the seventh day to be a period of rest and relaxation from our regular work of the previous six days. And so God set the example for mankind by ceasing from all work on the seventh day of what is commonly called creation week. By so doing, He made the Sabbath and set apart every future seventh day as a time of rest for man.

But the purpose for keeping God's Sabbath goes far beyond simply resting from our labors every seventh day.

Why the Sabbath?

When God does anything, or makes anything, there is a reason – an important purpose.

God created man and put him here on earth for a purpose. But mankind has lost the knowledge of that great purpose.

God, through the Word, made the Sabbath. But why? What purpose does it serve? Mankind has lost knowledge of that important purpose, too!

Jesus Christ said the Sabbath was “made for man” (Mark 2:27), but He did not then say why, or for what great purpose the Sabbath was made, except to serve and benefit man.

God revealed that important purpose to His chosen people about 1,500 years earlier, shortly after delivering them from slavery in Egypt.

After God spoke the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai and His covenant with Israel had been made complete, God made a totally separate and eternally binding covenant with His people (Ex. 31:12-17).

Notice the conditions of this special covenant: “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 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” (verses 12-13).

Here, then, is the purpose of the Sabbath. It is a “sign.” A sign is a badge, symbol or token of identity. God commanded His people to keep His Sabbath as a sign to identify WHO is their God!

God gave man His Sabbath for the purpose of keeping mankind in the true knowledge and true worship of the true God. The Sabbath points back to the creation of the present physical world (Ex. 20:11; 31:17), and creation is proof of God's existence.

The very day God set aside for assembly and worship points as a memorial to WHOM we are to worship – the Creator and Ruler of all that is!

But that is not all.

Sabbath Identifies God's People

The Sabbath was also given as a sign to identify who are the people of God. Not only does this special covenant say, "...that ye may know that I am the LORD…", but "…that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you" (Ex. 31:13).

The word “sanctify” means to set apart for a holy use or purpose. On the seventh day of creation week, the Eternal sanctified – that is, He set apart for a holy use – the Sabbath day. The special Sabbath covenant also reveals that the Sabbath is a sign that the Eternal sanctifies His obedient people – sets them apart from other people – for His holy purpose.

In Old Testament times, God's people were the tribes that composed the nation of Israel. In New Testament times, God's people are spiritual Israelites (Gal. 3:28-29) – those of His own Spirit-led Church – His Spirit-begotten children. And they are being prepared by God for a holy use.

For these “firstfruits” (Jas. 1:18) of God's Master Plan, the Sabbath foreshadows the completion of God's spiritual creation in them. It pictures their being BORN into the Kingdom or Family of God to be rulers and teachers of His Word in tomorrow's world (Rev. 5:10).

The Test Commandment

In Exodus 16 we find that Sabbath keeping was a test of the Israelites' obedience to God. God told Moses He was going to "prove them, whether they will walk in my law” (verse 4).

God's sign is one we accept voluntarily. But how many do you know who keep the seventh-day Sabbath? It is obvious to the world when one keeps God's Sabbath. But most people don't want to be identified as being different from the world.

Many professing Christians are willing at least to acknowledge that the other nine commandments should be kept, but the one commandment they reject and refuse to keep is the Fourth!

Therefore it is the crucial test of obedience, for it identifies those who have truly surrendered to God – who obey all of His commandments regardless of persecution or cost!

God commands us to "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8). God is giving us a TEST – an examination relevant to our entrance into eternal life in His Kingdom – every week!

What kind of grade is God giving you?

Let's begin an in-depth study of this most important day of the week to make sure we are passing God's test.