Keeping the Sabbath of our God shows that we are willing to forsake our own thoughts and ways during the time our God set aside for us 6000 years ago. It shows our Lord that we have a willingness to learn of Him, study His Word, as well as to think and meditate on Him and all He has created for us. Keeping Sabbath also shows our Father we have a heart felt desire to obey Him. He sanctified this holy day long ago as a way to gently test our faith in Him as well as glorify Him and declare Him Creator God. Some look at Sabbath as our preverbal tree in the garden. Will we obey Him, or not? When you think about it, we could literally be without sight, speech, or even hearing and we could still glorify Him each and every Sabbath by keeping this day holy in His name. In this case we can see that without so much as saying a Word, it can be known by others we worship the Creator God by keeping this day holy in whatever way we can.
The Sabbath was made for man to give him rest from physical labor and to worship the very God that not only made him, but all he knows in life. On our Lord's Holy Sabbath we can forget all about the day by day activities throughout the week that have become rather routine to us over the many years and use this day to draw closer to our God in study of His Word, in meditation on all He reveals to us about Him, and in prayer to Him for whatever our hearts desire, so long as it is not to consume it upon our lusts of course. (See James 4:3) As the world comes to a close, I like to look at Sabbath as a way to have a glimpse of that eternal rest with our Lord in His kingdom. When we keep the Sabbath day holy, we show faith and belief in all of God's promises to us, especially regarding that eternal rest we will experience in His Kingdom.
So.. how do we keep this day holy?
First off, let's look at what we cannot do on Sabbath day. Afterwards we can look at what we can do. You may find what we can do far outweighs what we cannot do. And it's not so much we cannot do these things because they are evil. We can work 6 days a week can we not? But work in itself is not evil. So, it's not about sin so much as it is about pleasing our Father by simple obedience to rest on the day He sanctified. In Genesis chapter two we find the first instance the words "Seventh day" are mentioned.
The word "sanctified" means "to set apart for holy use." If we believe this Creator God does as He does because of His eternal perfection in all things, then we are wholly aware that when He chose to rest after doing His work, it is a good thing to do so because He is perfect in all things. This rest of His is an example even unto us, His creation. As we work through the week are we not creating in a sense with what we do? Some of us actually see this first hand if we are builders, artists, or even teachers that help create in the mind of their students a better way. If the God we worship saw fit to stop and rest from His work of creation, what does it say of man when he believes he must work on Sabbath because he is unable to provide for his family? How can mankind claim anything he does is more work intensive and necessary than creating all that is seen and unseen? If we believe we are more busy than the Creator God, what does that say about us? It says we think pretty highly of self and not much of Him. If the Creator can stop and rest in a work we could never do in a trillion lifetimes, so can we, His creation kick back and rest.
Rather blunt is it not? As Nehemiah continues we find another act of the people that is not allowed on Sabbath.
We must never buy or sell anything on Sabbath day. This means we should never go into stores, restaurants, gas stations, or even walk up to vending machines to buy a bottle of water. Some will ask why it is wrong to buy on Sabbath when we are not the ones doing the work of selling? I ask, are we not called of our God to be examples to the people God puts in our path? Are we not supposed to display what is acceptable to do as Christians? If we, the remnant of God who understand truths most cannot, step into places of business to purchase items on this holy day we would be condoning work being done on Sabbath. In so doing we would then be looked upon as hypocrites, and the message we hope to portray is soiled. If we preach we must not work on Sabbath, and then go up to those working and ask them to do their job so we can purchase items from them, what will that say about our Lord's law? Now there are emergencies wherein this is allowed, but we will get into that a little later.
Another blessing we can recognize for Sabbath is food preparation. We are told in Scripture that we must not work at preparing food on Sabbath as this can be easily done on Friday. This is a blessing for those that usually do the work of preparing the food throughout the week because this is one day they do not have to do such things. The Jews of old actually called Friday the day of preparation for that reason, as well as the reason of preparing self for Sabbath. I look at each Sabbath as a day of communion with my Lord, and I like to prepare accordingly.
Since we have a different technology today, in that we don't have to gather wood from the forest, rub sticks together to start a fire, or travel great distance for water, we can simply warm our food on Sabbath by flicking a switch on a stove. No work is needed to do this, so no sin is realized as long as the toil of preparing the food the day before was finished. However, the day is approaching when some of us will find ourselves in the forest hiding from those that seek our lives as we wait for our Lord's return. Then it would be sin because at this time we would have to gather wood and water. We would do well to pray that this flight of ours doesn't happen in Winter or on Sabbath itself, as this would test the faith of some. I personally would see no sin in keeping a fire lit on Sabbath to prevent hypothermia of course. But this would also mean on Friday I would have gathered twice as much wood to keep warm for Friday night and all day Sabbath.
One more thing should be mentioned that would be a good thing to do before Sabbath, is that is a good idea to right any wrongs done to your fellow man before Sabbath arrives.
As we move along, we find our Lord also instructs us in the fourth commandment itself that any servile work of any kind whatsoever is not allowed on Sabbath. Rest means just that, rest.
What this entails is, no secular work is allowed at all. Even work you're not paid for like sweeping the floor in your home, mowing your lawn, cleaning your gutters, etc. This also includes work being done on land you own. Within thy gates means just that. Not even the cattle is to work on this day. A lot of farmers have a hard time with this because sometimes the Sabbath is the only day they seem to be able to work the fields due to bad weather the other six days. What they fail to realize is, our Lord knows exactly what the weather is doing beforehand in every area of the planet. He watches them just as He does with any test sent upon His people. Yes, there are occasions of emergency wherein work is allowed. For example, Jesus clearly outlines this in Matthew chapter twelve...
A quick example of this would be, a loved one is sick and medicine needed help them can be purchased on Sabbath day. So don't worry if you have to go to the corner market to buy something on Sabbath if it's an emergency.
This next situation seems to be a gray area for some Sabbath keepers, so I will try to explain it best I can.
Doing thine own pleasure covers a myriad of points. A few examples could be, games, TV, radio, hobbies, reading magazines, or anything else that would constitute as pleasure outside Sabbath allowances. By the way, "speaking thine own words" can also be defined as sitting on a phone talking with a friend about everyday activities. It would be ok if you were talking with that friend about things in God's Word and testifying to His goodness and creation of course. But gabbing away on a phone, or in person about topics not appropriate for Sabbath day will make the Sabbath appear like any other day wherein your own pleasures are allowed. If the soul you're talking with is a nonbeliever you may harm them spiritually. When we refuse to talk with friends on Sabbath about such things, that can be a witness to them. Who knows, one day they may come to know Jesus Christ as we do and you would have been used by God Himself to help gain a soul for Heaven by making them think about Him when yo refused to gab on the phone during Sabbath. So for you young people. This can be your own special way to share Jesus with your friends, cousins or anyone else you approach on Sabbath, and it's as easy as saying, "I will get back to you after Sabbath."
Some have asked if it's ok to be intimate with ones spouse on Sabbath day. I ask, would that not also be considered "thine own pleasure?" This gray area can be well lit when we peer into what Moses was asked to tell the people gathering to meet with the Lord one day long ago...
If this holy day of meeting with the Lord was to be done so in a sanctified manner, would not the Sabbath, which He sanctified in Eden before sin entered the world be just as holy, if not more so? Is this not the same God we commune with that was at Sinai back then? Does He not expect and deserve the same reverence even now? Especially since He is about to return for us, His people?
The amazing thing here is, there aren't many things we cannot do on Sabbath. It's not as restricted as some make it out to be. I don't look at Sabbath as a day that I can't do this or that. It's more like a day I don't have to do this or that, and I get to do this and that. In other words, there are many things we can do on this holy day that can make it a joy to behold.
For example, Sabbath is the perfect day to forget all about our troubles, our jobs, and any other aspects of life so we can truly rest and relax. On this day we can find a blessing and oftentimes enriching fellowship with like minded believers when we attend church. It doesn't matter if you have no church in your area either. You can do this at home, with friends in a small home church you can start, or if you have Internet, or even a phone you can attend with believers in real time online. Not like the TV and radio pre-recorded services that are mostly all about money anyway. Sabbath has always been the day when believers would gather to worship the Lord. In fact, Jesus Himself, our perfect example did this perfectly each 7th day He walked among us 2000 years ago. Speaking of Jesus, Luke said...
Another thing we can do on Sabbath is show God how much we love, honor and respect Him. Think about that for a moment. He gives us one day a week to do for Him what He has done for us every day of the week since birth. Yes, most of us do this each day as well in evening, mid-day and morning prayer, but on Sabbath it is especially good to do so because in Heaven itself He is resting and looking upon us with love.
As many of us have learned over the years, if we study His Word diligently, to fear Him is to give Him reverence. What better day to do this than on Sabbath when all the hosts of Heaven are in worship of Him as well. It is written in Matthew 6:10 that His will is done on earth as it is in Heaven, and since we understand this God we worship is one that never changes according to Malachi 3:6, then is there Sabbath service in Heaven?
This is a holy day! Even in Heaven it is considered holy. Nothing that defileth should enter therein as far as I'm concerned. Reason I believe this is because Sabbath is also kept in Heaven. According to Revelation 21:27, Heaven is a kingdom where, "...there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie..."
Since we know He never changes, and His will is done on earth as it is in Heaven, then even though the "new heavens and new earth" are future events, we know that we will be worshipping Him each and every Sabbath we are there. If He kept this Sabbath holy before the new heavens and new earth were made, He is keeping it now as well as later because He is a God that never changes. Since we know He kept it back when His Word was penned, this means He keeps it now. A God that never changes means just that, He never changes!
The wonderful thing about all this is, they are keeping Sabbath in Heaven each and every week. Imagine that if you can! When we stop and rest to keep Sabbath here on earth, the Father, His Son Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Enoch, Elijah, Moses and the many that came out of the graves when Jesus resurrected (See Matthew 27:50-52) are also keeping Sabbath in Heaven. Not only that, but according to Revelation 5:11 there are "...many angels round about the throne... the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;" What better day to worship our God than the exact same day all of Heaven worships Him. We are so privileged to take part in such a service that is happening INSIDE HEAVEN on Sabbath each and every week! And since nothing defiles that Heavenly Kingdom, we should do the same here if we want to be considered participants of this holy day. There is no other day on earth that can lay claim to such a blessing! Out of all the days of the week, there is only one considered blessed. Only the Sabbath is kept on earth as it is in Heaven.
Another wonderful thing we can do on Sabbath is to visit the sick and pray for their healing. Do you recall the man that was sick 38 years who laid by the pool of Bethesda waiting for the angel to trouble the waters so he could enter the water to be healed? Do you recall what Jesus did for this man, and when?
Jesus Himself declared on more than one occasion that doing such things on Sabbath was a very good thing.
The Sabbath day is to be a delight, a day of worship, and a day of rejoicing each and every week. What a blessing He has granted us in this busy world we find ourselves in. Our Lord has promised us that if we keep this day holy, He will bless us. So on top of all the things we can do on Sabbath, one is we can receive blessings from Heaven for simply keeping one day out of seven for Him. Praise His name!
What are just one of the blessings we receive for obeying Him?
Sabbath is also a day for prayer. Yes, we all pray seven days a week, and many of us do so as did Daniel three times a day. But the Sabbath is an especially good day to go to the Throne of grace. The early church did this each Sabbath as Scriptures confirm...
Why do you suppose they looked upon Sabbath as a better day for prayer? Why is it that "...prayer was wont to be made" on Sabbath by the early church? For those of us that understand the wisdom behind Sister White's writings know, this day is especially blessed for such things.
"God does not wait for the Sabbath to pass before He grants these requests." -Desire of Ages page 207
Sabbath is obviously a day the Lord highly esteems. We know our Saviour Jesus healed many on Sabbath, as well as preached on this day truths that would gain eternal life for many. But what some fail to remember is that John, the favored apostle of our Lord while "...in the Spirit on the Lord's day" (Revelation 1:10) received a vision that we know of today as the Book of Revelation. So, as we can see, praying on this day makes for an amazing experience to say the least. In just the few Scripture references shared we found that many were healed, many learned truths that will gain them eternal life, and one was given a vision that has helped billions come to His Truth thus far.
In the Word we find a simple Truth that cuts very deep into the hearts of those that trust this God we worship...
When we come together on Sabbath day, we find new Truths that can bless our walks. Which in turn blesses us with a stronger faith. When our Lord says "come now, and let us reason together" it is an open invitation to go into His Word and learn of Him and His will for our lives. We can do this seven days a week, yes, but oftentimes the young in Christ need a little help in grasping some of the meat in the Scripture as they travel through His Word. When the minister of God is moved by the Spirit of the Lord on Sabbath to utter Truths we may not understand on our own, we are blessed.
In the Old Testament it was the shewbread that represented the Word of God in the Sanctuary. Each Sabbath we found it was to be changed so as to bring fresh Truth to those coming to feast on His Word given via the priest on Sabbath.
If you are of a certain age wherein you have seen many Sabbaths in life, you know there have been many times you have received blessings on this holy day. If you were ever a Sunday keeper and then converted to Sabbath keeping you know Sunday was NEVER like this!
It doesn't matter how many times we read the Bible throughout the week, or attend Sabbath services throughout the years. The Word of God is such that we can always find something new within it's pages all throughout our lives. Sabbath allows us to see an eternity of blessings while still looking through a glass darkly here on earth. And as Isaiah 66:23 stated earlier, when we come to eternity, we will still see this day as a blessing each and every week, forever and ever.
One more thing we can do on Sabbath is...
Sabbath day can and should be the best day of the week with so many good things we can take part in and be blessed by only on this day.
Below are a few ideas for Sabbath day. If you have one not listed here, contact us and share.