Sunday, April 09, 2006

You need a Sabbath rest


Every day we put our bodies to the test. If you're like most workers, you work 5 days a week and average at least 40 hours a week. Or if you're a student, you go to school and average roughly about the same amount of time in the classroom. Put social, financial, and family matters into the mix -- your putting your body through a physical, emotional and mental overload on a weekly basis. And the bad part is, you may not know it because you're used to it.

Your body needs rest from the daily activities and the daily stresses of life. Every week, I take one day off from everything --- from working, from schooling, and yes, even from fishing. This one day of rest, I concentrate on spirituality and on family. This one day of rest is referred to as my "Sabbath".

The history of the Sabbath
Have you ever asked why we have seven days in a week? If you don't know why we have seven days in a week, don't worry, most people don't know either. In fact, most historians disagree how it really started. What they do agree on is that one of the most earliest texts regarding a seven day period can be found in a Hebrew book called Genesis. In that book, it describes the world being created by God in six days and in the seventh-day, God rested and made it holy.

God showing us an example
Why did God make the seventh-day holy? Why did He have to rest? The answers to these questions are simple. He wanted to show us an example that we need a healthy, weekly rest from our daily work and our normal pleasures. In fact, on the seventh-day (Saturday), He proclaims in other books like Exodus (ch 20), that the seventh-day is to be kept holy and that you should remove yourself from your worldly worries. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 58, He asks you to remove yourself even from your normal pleasures (ie: golfing, fishing).

Did you know the Sabbath is in the Ten Commandments?
Most scholars agree that the majority of the laws created by our forefathers are based on the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments' influence is global -- millions of rules and regulations try to instill the spirit of the Ten Commandments so society can be civilized.

You may not know this, but the fourth commandment is to keep the Sabbath holy, six days you will labor and on the seventh-day, you will rest. So is breaking the Sabbath considered a sin? Yes.

Sabbath made for mankind
In the book of Mark 2:27, it states that the the Sabbath was made for mankind (the Greek states mankind; hence, not for Jews alone). And man was not made for the Sabbath. In other words, God created the Sabbath as a gift to mankind -- an allowance of rest. It is not to limit you, but to enhance your life. It shouldn't be considered a hindrance. The ability to rest for one day, to get rid of thoughts of work, financial issues, and schooling is a blessing.

People that observe the Sabbath is marked as God's people
In the Old Testament book of Exodus, God declared that the Sabbath was the sign between Him and His people. That sign or mark still continues on today. In the New Testament, in Hebrews 4:9, it states, "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God"; hence, it applies to Christians of present time. In fact, the word described as Sabbath-rest in this New Testament verse is sabatismos (Greek for seventh-day rest).

Why do Christians rest on Sunday instead of Saturday (Sabbath)?
Most Christians go to church on Sunday because they base that tradition from the Catholic Church. In the early years of the Catholic Church, they chose Sunday as the false Sabbath to get away from Judaism. Pastors now will say it is due to a celebration of Jesus' resurrection, even though the Bible doesn't say to celebrate the first day. Some will say we will never know because the calendars were changed, even though that's a false assumption as seven day weeks remained constant and only the dates changed.

Most Christian pastors that have historical knowledge understand that the true Sabbath is Saturday. In over 60+ languages, Saturday is considered the Sabbath. For instance, in Spanish, Saturday translates to Sabado (Sabbath). The truth is, Sunday keeping is so in-depth in the layers of Protestantism, most congregations would have to admit they were in the wrong all this time.

My pastor told me the Sabbath is no longer needed due to Calvary
Aside from love, why did Jesus have to die for the world? Because He could not get around the Law. Either He had to condemn everyone to eternal destruction or He had to make a sacrifice. The Law still exist now. Christ dying on Calvary was to fulfill the law's requirements -- either man had to die eternally or God had to sacrifice Himself. In the New Testament verse of Matt 5:17, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

Respectfully tell your pastor to read John 14:15 -- "If ye love me, keep my commandments." You may want to also introduce him to Isaiah 66:22-24 when it talks about worshiping God in heaven from one Sabbath to the next: "...from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says the LORD.

If the Sabbath was only limited in the Old Testament, why is it in the New Testament? Why is it in the future heaven? If "every day can be holy", how come God specifically outlines this day to be kept pure from normal work?

Conclusion
Rest on the seventh day from your typical work and keep your mind away from your worldly distractions, and from your own pleasure. If you are still young and you have a lot of energy to give, I suggest you do what Jesus did -- volunteer to do good things on the Sabbath such as helping with charities or find a place to celebrate nature and enjoy God's creation.

I celebrate my Sabbath using the same method God setup in Genesis (sunset to sunset), which starts on Friday evening and ends Saturday evening.

I can honestly tell you, as I have grown older, I've found the benefits of the Sabbath to be priceless. Not only does it reduce my stress level, it enhances your personal relationship with God and with your family.

Did you know? Sabbath keepers are also considered by modern scientists to be one of the longest living groups in the planet. You should check out National Geographic's study on why Sabbath keepers seem to live longer than the rest of the general population.

3 comments:

Z said...

Amen! Have you been watching the 3abn Ten Commandments weekend?

carol said...

I was so surprised and pleased to read your clearly written article on the Sabbath. Thank you!! I totallly agree and have been keeping for over 30 years.

Leon Brooks said...

The Bible gets much harder than that on antinomians.

For example, Matthew 7 has Jesus rejecting the lawless (the word usually translated “iniquity” is “anomia” which means “lawless”).

1John 2 is much less subtle: if you claim to know Jesus but don’t keep His commandments, you’re a liar. That simple.

A “clever” argument I”ve seen used there is the Jesus made one commandment, but it’s a quote of Leviticus 19:18 & also Romans 13 integrates it with the other man-to-man Commandments.

What’s new about it is the New Covenant (Hebrews 8) approach, which is a graduation process (Romans 8) leading to our adoption as siblings of Jesus Christ.

You get a lot more than you bargained for out of Sabbath. (-: