I have some rhetorical questions to get the wheels in our minds turning a bit for you. What has more weight, God the Father’s actions or words? Or are they not one and the same? Does God speak to us through action, in others, and events, as well as words and dreams?
Then how much more does He speak to us in His actions directly from Himself? His actions speak louder than our comprehension of His words, and hopefully give clear insight as to the interpretation of His word, the Bible.
What God does in action does speak louder than our understanding of His word, and perhaps give us precise meaning of His God breathed words.
As I see it, God did actually rest on the Sabbath, the 7th day.
God put these Commandments, including the Sabbath in His own hand writing in the tablets (Exodus 20:8-11); called the Decalogue).
And on top of that He put these Commandments, including the Sabbath, in His own hand writing them a second time. Moses smashed the first set, when he was upset with an idolatrous people. However God was not caught off guard and said ‘Now I have to go and make another set’. It was repeated which makes these 10 commandments more important. It speaks to me that one of God’s reasons maybe to say here is a set for the Old Testament and photo copy of it, sort of speak, for the New Covenant. My point is it’s the same 10 Commandments in the Old and New Testaments; interesting.
The love of God, the grace of God, and the Sabbath survived and stands true through all the covenants of our compassionate and gracious God, who is slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Amen (from Psalm 86:15).
What else can God do to put it into our hearts ( Joshua 1:8), to keep the Sabbath His day (Matthew 5:17-20) and our day as a gift for us. This is an unconditional loving gift to us (Mark 2:27) that we may bathe in all His glorious grace and also glorify Him; all in the amazing, magnificent relationship we have with Him and He with us, His covenantal relationship with us.
In the Pentateuch (first 5 books in the Bible) there are 3 types of law, the civil laws were given for the culture of Israel, the ceremonial laws for the customs of the nation. The decalogue (10 commandments – Deca means 10) is God’s eternal law across all covenants found in the Old and New Testaments.
Note: The 2 sets of laws, the civil and ceremonial laws were specific to set Israel apart from the other nations; to make Israel holy – set apart to God, from other nations. Again, the set of laws that carry forward is the decalogue. The Sabbath is one of them; less we chisel it away!
Perhaps the question should not be whether or not we keep the Sabbath, rather what does the Sabbath look like in the New Testament? In the Old Testament if one commits murder then they get the death penalty from 2 or more witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15). Because of Jesus work on the cross, and the fact we are given the Holy Spirit, the bar is risen, not lowered. If we think hate or desire to hurt someone, we have committed murder in God’s eyes; irregardless of witnesses. Is the bar raised in how we keep the Sabbath?
Of note: Matthew 24:19-20 says we should pray that the end of days great tribulation is not on a Sabbath. It sounds like Jesus knows the Sabbath is important, and right up to His second coming.
When we look at the worship and the atonement system in the Old Testament where we didn’t have Jesus completed work on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice, yet they were to obey the Sabbath. I ask myself, in view of God’s mercy, how much more are we to collectively give praise, worship, and service to the same holy God, and also in our daily lives (Romans 12:1)? One or 2 Sabbath days, plus in our daily life, giving service for God; now that would really raising the bar! Hopefully it is a little more clear that we don’t chisel out the 4th commandment.
I have a little humorous imagery here, bear with me 🙂 If the Sabbath were the last commandment, maybe it can be chipped or eroded away over time. That’s not the case here. Its not the 5th commandment on one of the 2 tablets holding 5 commandments each, if they indeed did. The tablet would look rather damaged or incomplete with the first 3 commandments not chipped away and the 4 commandment (the Sabbath) chipped away and then the 5th commandment Honor our father and mother not chipped away.
Well that’s my humor. However do I think it’s clear there is some kind of Sabbath we should keep (time set aside for God for our benefit and to glorify Him). There is a commitment for collective worship which by nature needs to have people, the saints. In Acts 2:42-47 there was a commitment to community worship every day. It is a gift of God not a punishment nor a legalistic law just to obey it. The Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27). I know for myself I need a break of some sort after 6 days of work, especially if it is intense work. I find it interesting that if a company worked people hard 7 days a week with no break for months, the world would frown upon it; and rightly so. I appreciate it as a gift and I enjoy using it as time spent with the creator of all things; Jesus (Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:2). Some say we must keep the Sabbath on Sundays, others Saturday and so on. Now I’m not being smart here, but I think, if possible, why not keep both days for the Lord; a great solution :). You see it’s about the heart and showing love by obeying the law 1 John 3:18, not about legalism. What comfort it is for me that as a Born Again Christian, I have a day I can rest from all the busyness and meditate in His Sabbath rest spiritually, and physically. I am assured that by Jesus death on the cross and resurrection for all who have sinned yet come to Jesus will find Jesus Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:1-13) and have joy in the Lord on at least one Sabbath time of rest. May you find rest in Jesus and it be expressed in worship to the Glory of His name. Amen.